Checking out Vegetarian Food 🥬

Happy Lunar New Year to all! 🍊🍊

It's been the second? third? year spending CNY amidst Covid-19.  I'm not sure about you but it seems like that many people threw themselves into full on spring cleaning, decorating and preparation more than other years. Perhaps it's because festivities are great reasons (and distractions) from the mundane, repetitive and somewhat restricted life we now have due to Covid? 

Ah well, what can we do. I hope you guys are doing okay! 

In recent news, I have been trying out some vegetarian food. Everyone has their reasons for eating vegetarian but mine is mostly due to curiosity.

All the vegetarian and vegan terms were unclear to me so I looked them up:

  • 素食者 (su4 shi2 zhe3) Vegetarian: Does not eat meat but may consume dairy and eggs

  • 纯素食者 (chun2 su4 shi2 zhe3) Vegan: Does not eat any animal products, including dairy and eggs.

  • 斋食 (zhai1):  Religious vegetarianism where onions, garlic and mountain leek etc are abstained from because they excite the senses and disturb a peaceful mind. (Quora)

There are many other variations like lacto-vegetarian and pecsatarian (no meat, but seafood is ok) but I'll familiarise myself with these first.

Let's begin!

First stop:

Mushroom Udon 🍜🥦🍅

from Tracy Juice Culture (Fortune Centre)

I saw this recommendation on IG and we decided to head down since we were in the Bugis area one weekend. 

It was actually our first time at Fortune Centre. Sorry for being swaku haha we usually hang out in other places of Bugis. 

It was really fun to explore a new 'mall'. Fortune Centre was bustling with life! Being situated near temples, the centre tends to have many tenants that offer vegetarian food, religious items/services. It also has a Ya Kun, Japanese cuisine, bakeries, pasta, and if I'm not wrong a (non-chain) BBT shop too. We also found a traditional art studio and spotted hobby group spaces. 

The lady boss seemed inundated with orders when we headed there during the weekend (about 3pm or so). Tracy Juice Culture also serves desserts and healthy juices and smoothies like the Nutty Paradise (pine nuts. almonds, cashews).  They seem to have a steady stream of regulars who are not fussed about the queue or waiting time. (BTW, they have two seating areas - one is in the shop while the other is a 1 minute walk into the back(?) of the mall. We followed the regulars.)

So anyway after some waiting, we tried the much raved about mushroom udon ($8.80)!

The mushroom soup of course was the star of the show. They are chopped and blended - but not too finely to make a nice hearty soup. The dish also comes with cherry tomatoes and broccoli. 

Umami wise, I had stronger flavours but this was not bad too! I like soups with a peppery taste (white or black pepper is fine, depending) and I really wanted to add lots of black pepper to it. But is it rude to do so when you're seated right in front of the boss? XD Nonetheless still a comforting bowl to have. They offer take home mushroom soup packs too.

Other than the popular Mushroom Udon, one dish that definitely stood out was the Fruit Laksa.

Yes, you heard that right. Fruits like dragonfruit, grapes and pineapples.... with your laksa.

We have yet to try this but I will update this space when I do! :P

Tracy Juice Culture
Fortune Centre
Singapore 188979

Noodles from Green Dot 🍜🥕🥬

Have I seen Green Dot in various malls? Yes.

Have I tried them out? Nope, not at all. So it's high time I did!!!

My friend recommended the Angelica Herbal Noodle w Cordyceps ($ 8.50) so we got that alongside a bowl of Taiwanese Spicy Dry Handmade Noodles ($7.90).

The dry Taiwan noodles arrived first with a bowl of soup with stalks of shanghai green (I think). It looks very simple. 

The soup reminded me very much of Taiwan vegetarian food! 

In my (very limited) vegetarian food experience, the vegetarian stuff I was exposed to as a child in Singapore usually consists of many fried or flour-y foodstuff, like mock meat. They are also often oily. When I was in Taiwan however, the meals tend to focus on more mushrooms and 'clean' eating. 

The noodles were springy and flavourful. The chilli was not very spicy but still yummy. I can see myself trying to replicate the sauce so that I can eat this at home on a regular basis. 

The Angelica herbal noodles was not bad too. My more recent experiences of angelica, or dang gui in Chinese, are of the angelica duck dish from Dian Xiao Er. They use quite a lot of it to create a heavier flavour profile. In contrast, this soup is very mild in dang gui flavour. The noodles were the same springy ones used in the Taiwan noodles. 

Sometimes restaurants come up with creative 'mock' meats, such as mock crab, mock beef and etc. Let's also not get started on the whole debate of having mushrooms taste like beef etc. Some people do not see the point of having vegetarian food 'copy' meat dishes in texture or flavour. 

Either way, I felt that the dishes here focus more on texture rather than on taste. It was fun experiencing different chewiness or smoothness from the Konnyaku Fishball and Soya Mutton. 

Green Dot

Bedok Mall, Nex, Plaza Singapura,
 Junction 8, One Raffles Place, Westgate,
Paya Lebar Square, Bugis Junction, Rivervale Mall
and... more?

Thoughts on vegetarianism

I have many different kind of vegetarian friends - the strictly religious, the flexitarian, the once a month vegetarian. Everyone does it for different reasons - some continue a family tradition of a religious practice, some are conscious of their eco footprint, concerned about their health or simply do it for the animals. 

Either way I think it's a choice just like many other things in life. I don't understand why people have to be so upset or offended when someone chooses to live a certain way. No one is actually forcing you to be vegetarian, you can continue eating whatever you want. Just let the vegetarians live the way they want too~ 

Trying to abstain from stuff can be difficult and the self discipline and ability to stick to your guns is definitely something I look up to.

For me I doubt I will be become a full vegetarian, but I will continue to explore vegetarian food and eat less meat whenever possible. It's not that I die die need to eat meat but more like I just eat what is served and am open to eating meat. I suppose I could be a flexitarian of the health and eco footprint variety? We'll see!

At the very least, I guess the experience of choosing to eat vegetarian food reminds me to be more mindful of things I consume, which perhaps nudges me towards the direction of thinking about the living things that are used in our food. This 'vegetarian food adventure' helps paves the way to thoughtful eating, and I think the effects and attitude can continue to spill into other areas of life too.

Also thanks to my vegetarian friends for piquing my interest - you guys are influencers in your own right. (Meant in the best possible way, I'm not referring to 'influenza' influencers)

What about you? If you are a vegetarian or vegan etc, what are your experiences? What is a struggle for you and what do you enjoy? What is one thing you wish people knew? Would love to know.


P.S. Feel free to leave vegetarian food recommendations in Singapore in the comments, I love to check out new places!

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