Yin’s Vegan sourdough bakery – Georgetown, Penang

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I was in Penang for work at the recent Georgetown Festival 2014 and Hubby joined me for a few days where we strolled along the streets and chanced upon a few really unique and good vegan/vegetarian food places! The first I highly recommend is Yin’s Sourdough Bakery. This bakery was a surprise find and ever since we found it, we went back there a few times! Although the rest of the menu was not vegan, all the sourdough breads are vegan. Our favourite was cranberries and walnut whole wheat sourdough RM9.30 with homemade pineapple jam.

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Yin’s sourdough breads are freshly baked daily and taste really chewy and have the right amount of softness too. Topped with nuts and raisins, we were sold! All the breads and buns sold at the bakery goes through natural long fermentations. She does not use any commercial yeast in any of their breads and buns. On her website, she added that she does not add any additives, improver, softener, preservatives or chemical in the process of making their brand. Only unbleached flour, filtered water, pinch of salt and a few drips of sunflower oil are used in their breads.

To find out more benefits and how a natural sourdough starter works, check out Yin’s website! Another thing we found really charming about this bakery is how sincere and passionate the whole team is with their bread. They are also the only cafe/bakery which we have ever been into that serves random walk-in customers or strangers with a glass of water. Talk about good service:)

Address: 11 Pesara Claimant, 10100, Georgetown Penang, Malaysia

Phone: +60 11 24195118

Open from Monday- Friday 7am-6pm, Saturday 7am-1pm. Closed on Sunday

Deepavali Vegan Fine Dining Dinner- Organized by Chicks Eat Vegan at Rang Mahal

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Remember us posting about our first Chicks Eat Vegan meet-up at Saint Pierre and loving the concept behind this vegan fine dining meet-up group? This time round, the venue was at Rang Mahal and we were really excited as most indian food are usually cooked with ghee or yogurt.

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We started the evening with some pappadum and indian crispy bread (if anyone know what it is called, please leave a comment!) served with some mint chutney, sweet and sour pickles and a refreshing sweet plum tasting sauce.

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The dinner began with Amuse Bouche, lime-aloe vera, dry puchka and laccha japanese cucumber. The combination was really refreshing and our favourite was the lime aloe-vera which was not too sweet and thirst-quenching good.

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Next we had our first starter, Tawa saffron organic tofu (hot-griddle silken organic tofu infused with saffron, hint of pink peppercorn and served with wholesome assorted sprouts). This was by far our favourite dish of the night. The rich musky flavour went so well with the tofu and the crunchy sprouts. We can still remember the taste even up till today!

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Next we tried Gobi and truffle soup made of cauliflower florets with fragrance of truffle and accompanied with ajwain-flavoured Indian shortbread (it tasted like ginger indian spice cookie to us!) This soup tasted really soothing and I am dying to research recipes to recreate this soup.

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For our entree dish, we had organic oatmeal and asparagus chilla (healthy pancakes made with oatmeal, arugula salad on side) and made fresh on the spot by the chef as seen below!

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Before the main course was served, we were given each a rose-water and mint sorbet with edible flowers.

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For each meet-up, we are encouraged to stand up and switch places to meet new people. Hence I was in a corner where lighting was not that fantastic so pardon the photos! For our main course, it was served in a glass thali platter and we were spoilt for choice.

We had the following items on our platter:

Sev Tomato Nu Shaak (tomatoes cooked in a tangy gravy topped with crispy vermicelli)

Palak Mustard (crushed spinach fried with spices and mustard) This was done super well!

Home Smoked Bharta (clove-smoked mashed aubergine, tossed with ginger and smoked tomato)

Chowke Mattar (lightly tempered fresh sweet peas)

Panchmel Dal (five different lentils cooked to perfection)

Quinoa Upma (quinoa with crunchy red peppers)

Crispy okra

Served with Miss Roti (bread made of chickpea and wheat flour from a flat pan) and Methi Masala Roti (flat bread made with wheat flour and fresh fenugreek)

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You can imagine how stuffed we were after the main course and we were treated to a really unique vegan dessert platter that was really different from any other vegan desserts we have eaten. We had Gund Churma (a rich and flavourful sweet made of whole wheat flour), Gajjar Halwa (freshly made warm carrot pudding with exotic berries) and Brown rice Kheer (healthy brown rice and soy milk pudding enhanced with cinnamon).

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Another highlight for us was the fennel and black pepper tea they served alongside some petit fours fruits! They even gifted us a packet of in-house roasted indian spiced cashews each which tasted AMAZING! We cannot stress how enjoyable the dinner was with great company and new friends we met! We are looking forward to a Christmas edition of Chicks Eat Vegan and to all our Hindu friends: HAPPY DEEPAVALI from us:)

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Rang Mahal

Level 3 Pan Pacific Hotel Singapore

7 Raffles Boulevard

Phone: 63331788

Open daily 12 noon – 2.30pm, 6.30-10.30pm

Koshari Rice at Fill-a-pita – Shenton House CBD

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Fill-a- Pita is the latest falafel stall which opened in Mid of this year 2014. Having read glowing reviews from Luke from Hungry Ang Mo and many other vegetarian instagram bloggers we decided to head down to try Hassan’s food!

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The first dish we saw everyone eating was Koshari Rice $7.00. It is only available on Thursday and some Fridays. We tried it and LOVED EVERY MOUTHFUL OF IT! The flavours came together so well with a mix of macaroni, rice, and beans topped with fried shallots and a rich tomatoey base. When we wanted to do take aways, it was already sold out. So we suggest coming earlier to get this dish before it runs out!

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We tried the falafel pita bread $5.50 and strangely we did not find it as yummy as compared to Pita Pan‘s. The falafels here are less crunchy and definitely tasted more healthy but the lack of choice to add as much toppings as you like kinda made it boring.

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We ordered a side plate of hummus $2.50 to add on to our pita bread and it tasted creamy and really homemade. The pickles on the other end was quite delightful and was quite a pleasant touch to the heavy meal. Other than that, we found the opening hours the only drawback for us as we do not work in the CBD district.

Fill-a-Pita

#01-02 Shenton House, opposite SGX building (Its located inside a coffee shop)

Opening Hours: Mon to Fri 8.00am -3.00pm, Sat 12.30pm-2.30pm, Sun closed

Raw Food Restaurant/Bar Afterglow- Keong Siak Street

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After hearing many glowing reviews from so many friends about Afterglow, the latest raw food restaurant/bar in town, I went there for a girls night out! The ambience of the restaurant was hippie and really well done. It looked like an establishment you can find in Melbourne or in NYC. The menu was not as extensive as I thought it would be and had 3-4 options per category. Pardon the bad photography as the lighting was really dim during dinner.

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I ordered raw zucchini linguine with tomato sauce and homemade pesto $16. The portions at Afterglow was surprisingly small. For that price, I was expecting the portions similar to the ones we had at The living Cafe. I finished my plate in less than 10 mouthful and was still hungry. The tomato sauce was really sour and somehow did not go well with the raw zucchini. The pesto part was really tiny and I could hardly taste much of the pesto element in this dish.

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My girlfriend ordered the raw taco bowl with salsa, walnut meat and cashew cream $16. Her portion was much bigger and we ended up sharing as I was still feeling hungry. The salsa sauce was quite refreshing and went well with the bowl. Sadly, again the sauce was so little, we ended up just eating the salad raw without much flavour.

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Still hungry, we ordered raw nut cheese with a variety of raw crackers. We chose trio set $10 with sundried tomatoes, olives and lemon cheese and pecan, currants and walnut cheese. This was the best dish of the night for us as the raw cheeses were fragrant and really smooth. It went very well with the crackers which was not too bitter.

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We ended the night with a sweet note and ordered the only dessert in the menu: raw seasonal fruit parfait with nut sauce $12.90. It was quite a disappointment to learn that a raw food restaurant only had 1 dessert option. We came with high expectations for the desserts and sadly the portion again was so small and really not worth the value. The dessert tasted just the same as the raw nut cheese with an extra touch of citrus flavour and was sadly served warm.

Since then, we have not been back as we had to eat another dinner to fill our stomachs despite spending more than $35 each per pax. Strangely, whenever someone mention about Afterglow they continue to sing praises about this restaurant. I am not sure if it was just a bad night at the restaurant or it was because we ordered the wrong stuff from the start. If anyone of you know what food is super good and quite filling, please leave us a comment.

Address: 24 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089131
Tel: +65 6224 8921
Website: Facebook

Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 11.30 am – 11 pm

Come celebrate World Vegan Day with us – 1st November at Annalakshmi

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We are really proud to be vegans and if you are like us, join us and Singapore Vegetarian Society on 1st November 2014 for

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Venue: Annalakshmi

             #01-04 Central Square, 20 Havelock Road

(Nearest MRT station is Clarke Quay exit B or Chinatown exit E

Date & Time: Saturday 1st November 2014, 7-10pm

Fee: $25 (VSS members) $35 (non members)

Besides a sumptuous Indian Vegan Buffet dinner, Dr. Michael Greger  from Nutritionfacts.org will joining in via Skype to answer any questions to do with nutrition, food safety and health issues. Another guest of the evening will be Carel Lim who is trained in the fields of human nutrition, food science, and health promotion. We have a few burning questions we would like to ask and what better way to celebrate World’s Vegan Day with good company, delicious vegan food and a chance to learn more about healthy living.

Click here for registration as seats are limited and looking forward to meeting all of you there:)

 

Tom Yam Ramen Bento Set- Homemeals

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The secret to a fast and quick delicious meal I have been using is using Teng Eng tom yam vegetarian sauce. This bottle is really my favourite brand I have tried so far. It is super easy to whip up ramen, somen, udon, quinoa, rice or even pasta with just this sauce! You can get this bottle from all vegetarian grocery shops.

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To get this simple meal I just created, just follow these few steps:

1. Tom Yam ramen (Serving for 5-6 people)

-Pre-cook your noodles/rice/quinoa.

- On a separate bowl, add 3-4 tablespoons of Teng Eng tom yam pasta

- Add 3-4 teaspoons of brown sugar (depends how spicy you can take, the less spicy the more sugar)

- Add hot water to your paste (This depends on how big your noodles/rice/quinoa portions is like)

- Stir the tom yam paste, water and sugar together

- Pour and stir in to mix with your noodles/rice/quinoa

- Topped with fresh vegetables or nuts or seaweed

2. Beancurd Skin (sliced in small slices and stir fry them into crispy bits)

3. Boil edamame beans (use fresh or frozen)

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I made it another day with miso dumplings soup on the side.

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And we love eating our favourite rocket or spinach salad with baked nuts, fresh raspberries, grilled artichokes, sundried tomatoes and kalamata olives!

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I also make happy appetizers like white bean puree with crackers and raspberries when I am craving for a healthy snack! There is no excuse that you cannot whip up fast and easy vegan meals despite your busy schedule:)

 

Homegrown Soy Wax Melts- Artisan’s Garden

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Another homegrown brand I spotted which was vegan and smells so good from far was Artisan’s Garden Soy Wax Melts! Even before I could reach the booth, I could already smell the soft and gentle waves of aroma. When I came closer, I was even more mesmerized by the wide variety and beautiful scents. I am a huge fan of making sure my home smells good and fresh and have never come across a brand as good as this. I have bought a couple of soy candles around the world and on iherb but Artisan’s Garden choices are really rich in flavours. Most scented candles I purchased tend to always have a lighter tone but this product still smells as good and almost everyone who have been to our home have commented our home smells amazing. Here are some questions I asked Susan and here are her replies:

When did you start Artisan’s Garden?

I started it just before Christmas in 2013 when I initially experimented with handcrafted soaps, bath salts, balms, candle tins and wax melts as Christmas gifts to friends and family.

That sparked my interest in natural bath and body products after I left the corporate left after 20 years in the F&B sector. I took a short course in soap making and started developing an interest in soapcraft. I went on to take comprehensive courses in both soap and candle crafting in Seoul, Korea and Sydney.

Whilst in the US and Australia, I was introduced to the concept of wax melts and thought it was an ideal way of scenting a room without getting my burners all oily and burnt from burning essential oils. As I only wanted to deal with natural soy wax, I started developing different scents, initially for my own use- hence the birth of Artisan’s Garden Soy Wax Melts.

What are some of the challenges you faced?

Any candle maker will tell you that it takes a lot of trial and experimentations to get the right balance of the scent colour and burn. So at any one time, Artisan’s Garden would have no less than 16 different scents, with new ones being tried all the time.

What are your most popular scents? 

Our most popular sellers are White Tea & Ginger, Ocean Breeze and Himalayan Bamboo.

When will you be having new scents?

I do them seasonally and this coming Christmas, I will be launching three new scents- Christmas Cedar (a woody homey scent), Home for the Holidays (a party mix of citrus, florals and woods) and Candy Cane (a pure peppermint).

Where are your soy wax from?

Artisan’s Garden uses only the best soy wax from the USA:

  • 100& vegetable, made with Pure Soybean Oil, GUARANTEED
  • All NATURAL and biodegradable
  • Manufactured meeting FDA standards
  • Kosher Certified
  • NOT tested on animals
  • Contains NO animal products
  • Contains NO palm wax
  • Contains No petroleum, paraffin or beeswax products
  • Contains NO pesticides and NO herbicides
  • Contains NO GeneticallyModified Materials
  • Considered GRAS under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act

What are wax melts?

The melting of scented wax chips is still relatively a new concept in Singapore, compared to water-diluted essential oil. While wax melts are also placed in a tea-light or electric burner, the advantages are substantial.

  • Wax does not evaporate, unlike water, thus no worry about drying up
  • The scent throw of wax melts is wider and more effective than candles
  • Melting wax gives you the scent much quicker than lighting a scented candle

How to use wax melts?

  • Place 8-12 pieces of wax melts on burner and light tea light
  • After the scent has dissipated, pour the liquid wax away (recommended into a paper cup- never pour down the sink)
  • Wipe burner with tissue paper on napkin and place new wax melts to burn again

Tips on using the burner:

  • Place burner on a stable and safe surface (eg. not on a wood laminate or paper surface as the base might get hot)
  • choose a burner that is not too open or too high at the base, as the heat from the flame needs to melt the wax, neither should it be too low that the heat makes the entire burner too hot to handle

Why should one use soy wax:

For most of us in Singapore, we have a tendency to be enclosed in an airconditioned room- be it at home or at work. Soy wax is:

  • Unlike the more common paraffin wax, soy wax is natural and non-toxic. With no petrol-carbon soot, it burns cleaner and is therefore safer to use in the home.
  • Soy wax melts at a lower temperature, so it does not scald in the event of a spill, making it safer around children
  • It is so easy to clean- just give your burner a wipe or simple use water and soap! No scraping needed.
  • Soy wax is naturally biodegradable
  • It is common for soy wax candles and tea lights to last 30%-50% longer than paraffin ones, thus giving you a much longer burn time

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They also sell lemongrass lizard repellent S$10 a bottle which is all natural and does not harm the wiggly insects but yet wards them away. I thought it is such a brilliant and green idea!

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Check out Artisan’s Garden latest pop up shop and happenings on their facebook page and be sure to get one to be in spa-mood everyday:) Email artisangardensg@gmail.com for more information. They do home delivery services too.

 

Homegrown Vegan Lip Balms & Body Balms- Balm Kitchen

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I was at Public Garden Flea Market a few weeks back and was surprised to chance upon a homegrown vegan lip balm brand by Teresa Foo from Balm Kitchen. Though this brand is very new, it has garnered many attention at the market. I spotted many ladies shopping and trying Teresa’s products. When I came closer, I realized why everyone was smitten. Firstly, her logo looks amazing and when I found out she hand drew it, my jaws dropped. Next, her product speaks volume with the smooth texture and creative scents she came up with herself. I particularly love the dark chocolate and green tea versions. I decided to check in with Teresa after the flea market with a short Q&A. She gamely accepted the questions and replied promptly.

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1. When did you start Balm Kitchen?

Balm Kitchen went official in July 2014.

2. What was the first product you produced?

I started making lip balms to replace the ones I’ve used up. I have chapped lips and occasional cold sores and needed a good (all natural, plant base and vegan too) and effective lip balm to maintain healthy lips.

3. Is there a secret ingredient you must share about your product?

No secret ingredient at all. I believe in creating honest and reliable products that my customers can trust. Everything is listed under the ingredients list on the product labels.

4. How do you get inspirations for new flavours?

Ah. As for my lip balms, it has to be from the food we consume. The natural aroma is just wonderful and they are not supposed to linger for too long because their oils are very volatile. Most of my ingredients (except Mica-lip safe!) are edible ingredients. I love my teas (that’s why you see there are more tea inspired flavours in my lip balms and one more flavour out soon!). We seek comfort in our food and therefore I feel that naturally I should make lip balm flavours using our favourite ingredients i.e. chocolate, coffee, vanilla, etc.

For my body balms, I feel there are certain times of the day that we can use essential oils to adjust our moods. Therefore my body balms are categorised according to Uplifting- Orange and Vanilla (when you wake up or need to liven up your spirits), Balancing- Geranium and Rose (middle of the day or just need some beautiful flowery aroma) and Relaxing- Jasmine and Lavender (wind down after a day or to de-stress). The Au Natural body balm is unscented but has the natural aroma from the cocoa butter.

5, Where are you hoping to retail in the next 3 years?

I will continue to improve my products and I hope to extend my existing balms to an entire range of skincare. Currently, I am studying Holistic Cosmetology specialising in organic skincare and I want to eventually have my own shop space where I can retail my products, create bespoke skincare and also conduct workshops. I want to share my knowledge with everyone so that they can benefit from using all natural skincare.

6. Who would you love to see using your products?

Everyone and anyone who has lips and skin!LOL! I want to continue to educate everyone about using natural lip balms and body balms as our ski is the largest organ and whatever we put on the skin is as good as we are consuming it.

7. Is there a special tip to using your products which most people do not know?

Oh yes. My lip balms and body balms are multi-purpose balms besides using them on the lips and body.

  • emergency face balm when your facial skin feels dry and tight
  • as a cuticle cream
  • as a baby bottom barrier to prevent nappy rash
  • on your cracked and dry heels (exfoliation before applying balm is highly recommended)
  • blister balm on your feet to reduce abrasions from shoes
  • lubricant for your door hinges!!! (Just kidding with this last point! Maybe it works! LOL)

8.Can you layer lip balms?

Yes you can totally layer lip balms especially with Balm Kitchen lip balms. Ingredients such as castor oil and candelilla wax act as a barrier to prevent moisture loss (transepidermal water loss, TEWL) through our lips where the skin is quite thin. You can apply the lip balms when you go to bed at night and keep your lips well protected especially if you are sleeping in the air-conditioned room which is very dehydrating the lips and skin too.

9. Any misconceptions about your products you wish to clarify?

My products are made with all natural, plant based vegan ingredients and many may confused that natural would mean organic. Currently the only organic ingredients in my balms is the coconut oil. Although they are not all organic, I give the assurance to my customers that I only curate the highest quality ingredients for my balms. I am already working towards creating an all organic products in the near future as I write.

10. Will you always be doing vegan friendly products or only for your current range?

Yes and will continue for all future products i.e. no honey, beeswax and diary. I want everyone to be able to use my products. My goal is to have my products verified vegan and bunny approved and working towards it!

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Currently, Teresa is participating in the Organic October/Make the switch event organised by Saferskin. She will give a $1 discount on all lip balms/shimmer lip balms and/or body balms when customers bring in their current lip products i.e. lip balm, lip gloss and/or body lotions, creams, etc, to her pop up store which she will post the details on her website, Facebook and Instagram. Offer is limited to one lip balm/shimmer lip balm and one body balm per customer. There is also FREE local shipping for all online purchases during this month long event. P/S: Teresa also shared that the shelf life of her products are good for a year as there is no water in the product hence there is lesser chance of them going bad.

I look forward to more creations from Teresa and I am pinching with joy that more homegrown labels like hers will be sold around the world! Support Local, Go Local and Try Local:)

Vegan Cuts Subscription Box from USA

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I was going through my saved drafts and realized I missed this overdue post! Last year, we received a lovely parcel from Vegan Cuts from USA! They have one of the coolest vegan snack subscription in the world. Each subscription cost US$19.95 and everything in the box is a surprise, some items are not even out in stores yet. Each box contains 7-10 vegan goodies to your doorstep. They offer free shipping in US and finally they are also shipping internationally at an additional US$15! We got a bundle of them and we enjoyed all the different flavours and goodies they have. Each item is uniquely different and you will get a wide range of sweet, sour, crunchy to savoury treats to munch on. We loved the snapea crisps the most (hint* they are sold on iherb) though we are usually not huge fans of peas but this snack has the right amount of salt, flavour and crunch. A few close friends of ours saw our mystery box and wanted to try some snacks. We gave it to them and guess what, they are now subscribing to Vegancuts!

The other box they offer is the vegan beauty box where you will get a monthly surprise of new and award-winning vegan skincare, beauty and nail products which are hard to find in Singapore. If we have a choice, a Vegan Cuts box a week will be perfect! This box will be a great gift idea for this upcoming holiday season to family and friends who have always had doubts about vegan food.  Their website has also recently expanded to include e-books downloads to vegan fashion finds. We would like to thank the team at Vegancuts for this opportunity to try their products and we looking forward to more vegan inventions from them.

Chinese Food at Vista Cay’s Resort- Orlando

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We arrived in Orlando late at night and by the time we were ready for dinner, most places have closed. In our apartment, we saw a flyer selling chinese takeaway food in our apartment vicinity. We decided to head there to check it out and was relieved they were still open.

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We cannot remember what the name of our dishes were called but from the look of it, it was easy to guess what we ordered. Prices ranged from USD 5- 18 for different portions and ingredients. It was not a vegetarian chinese restaurant but they do have a page filled with vegetarian options. The tofu vegetables soup came in a huge portions but sadly it was way too salty. We had to inform the waiter to add more water to dilute the overall taste.

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Fried rice with broccoli was quite oily but overall satisfying as we have not had rice since our vegan sushi meal in NYC.

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We also got fried noodles with assorted vegetables and found that the sauce was too salty.

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The only dish we felt was the best was Mapo spicy tofu which was not spicy for Asian standards.

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Like any chinese restaurant in USA, they gave us each a fortune cookie as a goodbye gift and we all had a good laugh over our fortunes! To find this restaurant, check with Vista Cay resort reception counter. It is the only one in Vista Cay resort and is very near the supermarket we visited (as shared in my previous mail) and right opposite a pizza joint.

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