"they even use vegetarian belacan..."
Vegetarians get the short end of the stick when it comes to dining out in Malaysia. Things get even more complicated when they're dining with a non-vegetarian friend. With a limited choice of places, vegetarians are usually confined to the salad section of the menu while their fellow diners get to indulge in meatier (and yummier) choices. Fortunately, we found a place in Cheras where vegetarians and non-vegetarians can dine happily together. Tian Yian Cafe is a vegetarian restaurant that has been around for years. Offering more than 100 dishes, you're bound to find something you like here.
We first tried the Hong Siew noodles. The 'meat' is braised in dark soy sauce, pepper, ginger and garlic. This gives it a smoky flavour and adds more depth to the dish. The broth is wholesome and garnished with an array of vegetables like bak choy and carrots. It is a satisfying dish and we were pretty full when we finished the bowl.
But of course, as always, I couldn't resist the nasi lemak. It was actually impressive. It had plenty of 'lemak' and the sambal squid was really tasty. The squid was obviously not the real thing but incredibly I couldn't tell the difference. The texture and taste was spot on. The sambal even had hints of 'belacan'. When I asked them about the vegetarian belacan, they told me that it was made from a mix of soybean and mushrooms. It's amazing how 'shrimpy' it tasted.
"Great vegetarian food!"
If you're looking for hearty Indian vegetarian food that even meat lovers will enjoy then look no further as this spot has a multitude of delicious dishes to pick from. The menu boasts over 300 authentic dishes along with some of their own special creations.
Founder, P. Rajagopal opened up his first branch in India 30years ago. Eventually his sons Shiva Kumar and Saravanan joined him in the business and it has grown tremendously since. The first one in Malaysia was the Bangsar outlet that opened up in 2003 and the most recent one is the Brickfields restaurant, which opened up last year. Their success has spread worldwide with 27 outlets in India and 30 across the globe in 10 countries. The recipe for their success has been their passion for serving authentic and delicious high quality vegetarian food. More »
"The vegetarians won me over!"
Let it be known that I love vegetables but I AM NOT a vegetarian. Not a fan of mock meats or gluten, nor do I enjoy nibbling on rabbit food or cardboard flavoured with copious amounts of artificial seasoning. As for vegetarian restaurants, rarely have I patronized a vegetarian establishment more than once because I usually end up hungry AND thirsty after 2 hours. Even my husband avoids it by choice, especially when we have been carnivores all our lives. What can I say, old habits die hard.
Chef Low Organic Kitchen changed my mindset altogether. Its delicious vegetarian/organic dishes scored high on taste and nutrition, with lip smacking dishes which kept us full and satiated. As it is so tasty, we even willingly embraced its meat-free mantra with gusto, even if it’s just for that visit. The portions here are pretty huge so you can share. Another note of advice, come during the week as it is packed to the brim during weekends and it takes a while for your order to arrive. In the meantime, the boss is in the midst of expanding his business to the next shoplot to accommodate his growing clientele.
First and foremost, their signature Fruit Tea is a must. It comes in a pot filled with fresh apples, pears and orange slices swimming in a warm tea+juice combo, along with 2 small shot glasses. One sip and your tummy feels all warm and fuzzy with that fruity goodness. Feel free to eat the fruit slices for extra fibre.
For starters, we tried their Crystal Jade Roll which looked like delectable sushi rolls in a light batter. It’s actually beancurd skin stuffed with vege goodies, wrapped in seaweed and deep-fried to a nice crisp. The accompanying sweet lemon/orange sauce really complements the flavor of the roll. Perfect for popping into the mouth, we polished it in no time.
The Thai Fried vermicelli arrived as one mountain of a plate! Fresh julienned vegetables were piled on top of the noodles so it took us a while to come to grips with the portion. It tasted nothing like the pad thai I had in mind, but it had a really nice twist to it. Surprisingly, the fried noodles did not taste oily at all and it was nicely flavoured with a good balance of sweet, sour and salty. The fresh vegetables added a nice crunchy texture, so mix it well with the noodles.
The Herbal Mushrooms are a must have. It came wonderfully presented in a tear shaped bowl with plenty of fat shitake mushrooms swimming in a thick aromatic herbal broth. Having absorbed the herbal essence, the mushrooms oozes with flavor. I love the sweet wolfberries in the broth. It’s piping hot though so be careful not to burn your tongue! More »
"Lots of choices and robust flavours!"
The food they serve at Gandhi's is the usual Indian and Chinese fare just without the meat. During the afternoon the food is laid out nasi campur style with many delectable choices. In the evenings however you can order dishes to enjoy. There are specialties such as sambal ikan, mutton varuval, popcorn-fried chicken, and more. All of these are made with various soy proteins to mimic the texture of meat. They are then cooked just as you would cook a regular meat dish. No garlic or onions are used in the cooking here, so that every branch of vegetarianism can eat here. Despite these alterations the food does not lack in the flavour department and I am sure any meat lover would be able to appreciate the various dishes on offer.
The sambal ikan is tangy and spicy and just slightly sweet. The 'meat' is soft and almost fish-like although it doesn't quite have the flakiness. I especially enjoyed the mutton varuval that is robust in flavour. Since I'm not a fan of mutton I ate this happily knowing that it wasn't mutton but still had the delicious essence of a varuval. The little popcorn chicken pieces are extremely addictive. Dipped in an orange tinged spicy batter these are fried till crisp. They could easily be a tasty movie snack. More »
"Vegetarian food even a carnivore would love!"
I’ve always toyed with the idea of becoming a vegetarian for health reasons but then almost as immediately as the idea comes into my mind my thoughts always sway to juicy burgers, hearty beef stew, char grilled fish, and succulent roast chicken. I however try to strike a balance and during the weekdays when I cook it’s usually vegetarian which is a bit hard on my boyfriend who cannot eat a meal unless it’s got some kind of meat in it or at the very least a can of tuna. To him a meal without meat is just not filling enough.
But like I said, at Kechara Oasis there's all kinds of mock meats made to resemble anything you might get on a Chinese restaurant menu. Would you like some crispy duck? A whole roasted piglet perhaps? Stir fried beef? Or how about some seafood? They do it all here and try their best to make it resemble the actual meat in texture and in flavour.
We spied petai-fried rice on the menu and knew immediately that we had to have it. We were also recommended the sweet and sour mushrooms, amdo yak beef, sautéed cuttlefish, Tibetan momo, and the mango fish. The petai fried rice was spicy with the unmistakable pungent fragrance of the green stinkbean. It was delicious, and I don’t usually eat rice in general but I had 3 bowls of it.
The sweet and sour mushrooms remain very crispy despite being in the thick sauce. This goes very well with the fried rice. The amdo yak beef is cooked in a dark sauce with dried chillies, this mock beef has a bite to it giving it a realistic texture resembling tender beef. The cuttlefish also has a realistic texture to it being a bit slippery and chewy, it’s also cooked in the same sauce as the beef. More »
"The economy rice selection can put any eating shop to shame"
Blue Boy, a name that normally strikes intrigue due to the fact it is often mistaken for a rather unsavory establishment with a similar name. But this Blue Boy is wholesome, a place you can bring your momma to and a real hot spot during lunch and early dinner for those seeking a vegetarian option. The reason for this is that contrary to most vegetarian places that mainly serves economy rice, this place has a wide selection of local dishes that can make you renounce meat- well almost.
Blue Boy did not originally set out to serve vegetarian only. Originally a non-vegetarian place, it transformed organically into a fully capacitated vegetarian food court when their owners turned vegetarian some 20 years ago. Wrap your mind around this- fully vegetarian Nasi Lemak, Char Kuey Teow, Mee Jawa, Yong Tau Foo, Prawn Mee, Lam Mee, Curry Laksa and even Assam Laksa! Now how does one go about creating such creations with a vegetarian substitute? The answer is very simply and incredibly very tastily. Unbelievable to most carnivorous meat eaters such as we, meatless substitutes are actually very tasty.
Let us enlighten you on the finer points of vegetarian food, as we were ourselves at Blue Boy Mansion. For starters we had the Yong Tau Foo, which is normally stuffed with flour and fish paste, but this time it is a mock fish paste. Then came Nasi Lemak with mock Rendang Chicken and also Sambal Sotong that gave us a shock as it looked and tasted exactly like the real thing! As per recommendation we had it with the Sambal Petai. It was mind-blowing although the sambal petai had to be ordered separately. To substitute the normal ikan bilis, they serve it with crispy potato slivers with a saltish hint. If you closed your eyes, you could swear it was ikan bilis. More »