Category: Asian cuisine

Melbourne 3000: Gong De Lin

Whilst walking along Swanston Street, you may see a big yellow sign with some Chinese words and underneath ‘Vegetarian Cuisine’ in green writing. This is your queue to keep on walking. If you end up travelling up to Level 3 in Noodle Kingdom’s elevator, then unfortunately you have missed the queue and  you will be welcomed by Gong Din Lin’s sterile surroundings.

Melbourne  has a few Chinese mock-meat vegetarian venues, but none quite like Gong De Lin.
The menu is extensive, to say the least.
Menu Page 1

Menu Page 1

Menu page 2

Menu page 2

In fact, the list of dishes is so astounding that I can’t even advise you what the name of the dish I ordered was. I can confirm that it was a soup, with bok choy, and Chinese mushrooms with hokkien noodles in vegetable stock. The ingredient that is really throwing me here is the golden coloured puffs of funghi or dumpling.

Vegetable and Mushroom Noodle Soup

Vegetable and Mushroom Noodle Soup

I’m going to lay it on the line here, I didn’t like the soup, nor the venue that brought to mind a hospital. There was an odd scent in the air and the general feeling of being in that restaurant was bleak. I sat close to the window, spilling my noodle soup on the butcher’s paper, anxious to leave. In one’s view, I will not be returning here. However, those that are interested in vegetarian and vegan cuisine should pay Gong De Lin a visit as there are copious amounts of other dishes to try.

 

 

Gong De Lin on Urbanspoon

Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur: Restoran Woods Bio Marche

Vegan, vegetarian or are you some other kind of pain in the butt in the big fishy city of Kuala Lumpur? Can’t find anything to eat besides green or mixed veggies and garlic? Then you must visit Woods Bio Marche Restaurant in the tourist driven area, Bukit Bintan, for macrobiotic food.

The restaurant is immaculate, with orderly tables and chairs and a neat shelf at the entrance with a variety of organic and dairy free products for sale.

The service was outstanding and the waiter speaks English very well. The food was bought to our table gracefully, and with a smile.

The menu was extraordinary compared to every other menu we had seen in Malaysia so far. The choices are perhaps slightly comparable to Yong’s Green Food in Brunswick, Melbourne.

For entree the cabbage soup was very enjoyable, with tasty bits of shredded soy, imitating chicken, floating in the divine broth.

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Cabbage soup

My long time good friend’s entree of satay skewers were also to die for, made from hand- minced shiitake mushroom and complimented by a crunchy peanut herb dipping sauce.

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Satay Skewers

My entree of Japanese influenced steamed tuba rolls with veggie filling and lime sauce entree was sweet and faultless, cost RM 15.90.

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Steamed tuba rolls with veggie filling and lime sauce

Our main dishes arrived shortly after our entrees, my ‘de-stress’ Bento box was both nutritious and delicious. Included in the boy’s compartments was sweet potato salad, a shiitake mushroom steak with vegan mayonnaise, friend rice with tofu, scrambled tofu and pickled vegetables. Every compartment was filled with something wonderful, this dish was faultless.

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De-stress Bento Box

I also got the opportunity to take a bite of juicy, wholesome burger, which was made from a patty of lentils, salad, vegan mayonnaise and a whole wheat soft bun.

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Lentil burger

The second time we came here for lunch and got the brown rice vermicelli noodles with mixed vegetable, shiitake mushroom steak with soy mayo and the spring rolls. All meals were delightful.

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Brown rice vermicelli soup

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Shitake steak with vegan mayo

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I recommend Woods Bio Marche to vegetarians looking for nutritional vegetarian food in a peaceful environment, who are prepared to pay more than the cost of greasy fried white rice and fish sauce vegetables in the streets of. Kuala Lumpur.

The restaurant can be found at:

Wisma Bukit Bintang 28 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Website: http://www.healthyfoodmalaysia.com

07000 Langkawi : 7th Roof Seafood Restaurant

After discovering our hotel at Aliah Residence had a terrible menu with limited variety and zero options for vegetarians, my vegan travel buddy and I took a walk down Kampung Kuala Teriang to look for other places to eat.

Kampung Kuala Teriang is a long road that heads to Langkawi Airport. There are a few small family owned eateries, all about 500 metres apart. We visited each one and were disappointed at the choice of food, service and lack of air con / fans. I was also tired of looking at the same colourful cheap plastic chairs. Most of these eateries only had five items on their menu’s, such as ayam and nasi goreng. My instinct told me this cuisine would’ve been home style authentic Malaysian and flavoursome, but we had special requests today and could not get past the language barrier.

After walking for about a kilometre along the busy road, moving to the swampy side of the road when a motorcycle or vehicle approached, we found 7th Roof. Often there is a family of cattle walking across this road and today we were lucky enough to see them cross a few times, my vegan friend scared for their safety. I assured her the cattle know what they are doing and must’ve crossed this road a thousand times.

7th roof was a touristy seafood restaurant, but we were pleased there was a small vegetarian section.

Apart from the mixed vegetables in garlic sauce, the rest of the dishes served are seafood, The squid with onions and a Malay style sauce was a bit overdone. However, the tiger prawns and lobster are only RN15 to RN25 per 100grams and there are many delicious sauces like garlic butter or curry to choose from.

The Choy Sum cooked with a potent garlic sauce was delicious, as were the crispy vegetable spring rolls with savoury spices.

I enjoyed the food here, as well as the the restaurant’s peaceful ambience. It was although the establishment was located in the middle of a rainforest, when in fact it is situated in a swampy area. There is anti mosquito coils underneath each table, however I guarantee you will get bitten here.
The free wifi was a positive incentive for us foreigners to come to this restaurant, but was temperamental. The waitress and owners spoke good English and Chinese and provided fantastic service, willing to cater for vegetarian/ vegan diets.

I recommend 7th Roof for those on romantic dates or groups wishing to share many seafood dishes.

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Melbourne 3000: Yamato Japanese

Tonight I had a date, I know it’s a long shot to find love online, but I am in my sixties now and I don’t particularly want to die alone. It was Tight Ass Tuesday for the Melbourne Comedy Festival and I was going to see a Japanese Ventriloquist. It was logical to go with the Japanese theme for the night and go somewhere fast and Japanese for dinner before the show. At the far end of Corrs Lane in China Town, there is a Japanese restaurant called Yamato.
Of course I had walked past and noted the eatery existed before, but had never been. Yamato is cosy, with tables and benches in every nook and cranny, made for tiny Japanese people, just like in Japan. Allbeit small, the seating arragement was comfortable.

The service was impeccable, the waitress poured our beers and took our order. Myself and my Tinder date sipped our O’Ryan beers, after deciding from an impressive list of imported Japanese beer. The restaurants’ walls were covered in Japanese monuments such as photos, masks and money cats, that steered our conversation in the direction of travel.

Our Agedashi tofu was served hot and had the classic silken firm texture and golden brown colour. The broth was delicious, as expected. When the main of Tofu Steak and vegetables arrived, I was dissapointed that there was a lack of vegetables apart from various types of onions. Nevertheless it tasted good.
I’m not certain about what my date ordered but there are some photos below in among the tofu and onions.

On the wall covered in Japanese decorations, I spotted a posted displaying a black premium beer – ‘Niggata, black beer 100% natural bottle condition.’ As a lover of dark beer, I can tell you that sipping this roasted, coffee-like malt was a holy experience.

As a light and quick meal, Yamato was good, but the range of imported beers is the only thing that would convince me to return. I would recommend it to people who love slimy or fried Japanese food, but personally I prefer Teppanyaki on a first date.

Please note I wasn’t having an optical illusion when I saw a sign for corkage charged at $15 per bottle

Yamato Japanese on Urbanspoon

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Melbourne 3000: Purple Peanuts

Take your love for Japanese to the next level with modern fusions of Japanese and Australian cafe food at this bustling cafe in Melbourne. Purple Peanuts is incredibly busy and with good reason. The Tofu curry Don is not like your standard don, encapsulating chopped almonds and garnished with basil, these surprisingly non Japanese additions compliment the light curry well. If you’re passing by Southern Cross Station and you’re hungry for a sushi (nori) roll, by pass all the Tower Sushi’s around and purchase one (or two) rolls from Purple Peanuts. You’ll notice something different about these sushi rolls, but you won’t quite be able to make out why they have so much more flavour and don’t need to be drowned in soy sauce.

This cafe looks hectic but the service is fast (not to mention lovely) and orders come out within reasonable time. I recommend Purple Peanuts to anyone looking to escape the seemingly unescapable typical take away sushi, unhealthy burgers and Asian food down the Western side
of Melbourne CBD. Forget about lining up like a groupie at Roll’d and visit Purple Peanuts on your next lunch break.

Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Flemington 3031: Chef Lagenda

If you are not patient enough to get a table at Laksa King next door, you can normally walk straight it to Its sister restaurant, Chef Lagenda. I’m not exactly sure how the two Malaysian restaurants are connected but they have the exact same curry laksa’s and many other dishes in common.

The service here is questionable. The dishes don’t come out at the same time and I heard they store red wine in the fridge.

The laksa is delicious, one of the best laksa’s in Melbourne with large chunks of roasted eggplant, crunchy snow peas and a well balanced curry soup.

For $9.80 I recommend Chef Lagenda for all your laksa needs; chicken, seafood, vegetarian.

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Footscray 3065: Bo De Trai

I love Footscray, and i usually love vegetarian restaurants but the location can’t save this Vietnamese/ Chinese restaurant from a bad review.

Near the door is a 10% off sign and I thought to myself,

Really, 10% off? Ten percent off what? Surely it can’t be everything. That’s weird

We walked into the deserted eatery and asked to order take away. The menu was easy enough to read, but ordering the food was difficult as I don’t speak Vietnamese.

I chose the spring rolls for a starter and the imitation pork and veggie hot pot for main, both for take away.

The spring rolls were crunchy, but tasteless and the imitation pork looked like a prawn cracker soaked in water.

It tasted like a bit of bread soaked in water. The sauce in the hot pot was boring and the vegetables were boring and chopped roughly.

My Austrian acquaintance ordered the Chinese mushroom which were really just plain old button mushrooms in some Chinese sauce. They looked very unappetising.

My other acquaintance got the Tom Yum Soup, and left it in the kitchen as it tasted like nothing.
Disappointing, but I should have known better than to eat here. The lack of people in the restaurant and the 10% off sign should have been a red flag.

I’ve heard good things about this restaurant, but after the meal my acquaintances and I got, I will certainly not be coming back here. There are plenty of Vietnamese restaurants on Hopkins St I would rather pay to eat at. I will pay more attention to red flags moving forward.

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Bo de Trai on Urbanspoon

Footscray 3031: Hao Phong

It was a Sunday, and I went to Hao Phong for lunch after visiting Saigon market. I originally had planned on going to a different Vietnamese restaurant on Hopkins St however the queue to this restaurant didn’t seem to progress quickly, so we decided to try out this one. This turned out to be an excellent unintended choice.

I had the vegetarian rice paper rolls as an appetiser. Impressed by the generous servings of dipping sauces and the overall freshness of the rice paper rolls, I insisted my meat eating friend try one. He absolutely loved it and commented on how healthy and fresh the rolls were.
I shared the bean-curd and vegetable clay pot with blackbean sauce with a friend, costing $10. It tasted great, even though the rice was a little hard. Our friend Raphael received the beef clay pot with an orange Chinese sauce. Raphael also noticed the rice wasn’t cooked properly.

My 25 year old girl friend ordered the deep fried vegetarian spring rolls. Although they look like they had been deep fried 4 times, in terms of flavour they were honestly the best spring rolls I’ve ever tasted. Inside the crispy pastry was tofu and shredded veggies as expected, but the spices used made them so impressive. They were so delicious that I ate half my friends dish. Pardon me!

The food came out within 10 minutes of ordering, and everything was incredibly fresh. The rice could have been cooked more carefully, but overall it was a delightful experience.

I recommend to people that think Footscray is a dump.

Because it’s not.

I love Footscray

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Hao Phong on Urbanspoon

Melbourne 3000: Shanghai Village Dumpling

Not certain if restaurant or nightclub

Mock Duck Soup – This place is so out of control, i think they might need a security guard. The prices are so cheap and BYO alcohol (including not only wine but beer, spirits- whatever the hell you want) has attracted quite the crowd. It is great for not being able to speak to your friends due to the noise from highly intoxicated groups of teenagers and tourists yelling and occassionally even chanting at the top of their lungs. Do come here if you only ever want to order the same thing (probably dumplings) because if you wish to question anything else on the menu not one of the waiters will try to understand you. To those who aren’t concerned about getting food poisoning from eating at a cafeteria style eatery that has sticky menus and puts all of their dishes, left over food and alcohol containers in the same tub on the floor to clean up, I suggest coming here. If you like to eat your soup with a chopstick, come here. Instead of going to a bar to write yourself off with your mates, why not come here. At least there are no security guards to kick you out.

Shanghai Village Dumpling on Urbanspoon