Do we need to say anymore? This video sums up the reason why we are vegan.

Tze Char Feast- Nature Vegetarian, Bukit Merah

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Claypot Curry Mutton $12

Nature vegetarian restaurant has been around for a while. We usually go there for their cheap and fast economical rice sets $2.50 or daily specials in the day. The other night, we ended up at Nature Vegetarian to try their tze char (ala carte) selections for the first time and was quite impressed by how yummy it was. The first dish we ordered was curry mutton large portion. Do not say we did not inform you but the portions are huge! Six of us were so stuffed after realizing we made the mistake of ordering everything in Large sizes. We wished the staff could have informed us to order smaller portions earlier but surprisingly we finished every dish!

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Clayout Tofu with vegetables $12

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Satay sticks $8 smallest portion(They were not the best we have tasted!)

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Stir Fry Kai Lan $11

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Crispy Lemon Chicken with sweet sauce $12 (This was the best dish!)

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Cereal oatmeal tofu $12 (we changed it from the original cereal prawns as we prefer not to take too much mock meat)

We paid around $96 for 6 people and each of us had a plate of rice with 2 additional bowl of rice and 2 daily soup of the day!
Address: Block 11 #03-4462 Jalan Bukit Merah, Singapore 150011

Phone: 6897 7370

Opening hours: 7.30am to 9.30pm (Mon to Sat). Closed on Sun

A Glimpse of Old Delhi

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We had a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama in person and we jumped at it. A day before our trip to Dharamasala, we visited Old Delhi and was charmed by how organized and yet messy the city was.

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We witnessed pigeon fighting and jumped across the rooftops of Old Delhi.

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We took a rickshaw and saw gorgeous saris along the way and waited for the jam to go off after a very very very long time.

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This short trip reminded us of Vidhya’s vegan bhel puri recipe we had a few days before we left for the trip!

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We were served yummy vegan south indian buffet at our host home.

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And before bidding farewell to India, we chanced upon the coolest Indian barbie dolls I have ever seen.

Face to face with The Dalai Lama- Dharamsala, India

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For those who follow our instagram @mrandmrsvegan, you guys would have known that we were in Dharamsala and that we met up with The Dalai Lama. Returning from the trip, we thought it would be good to pen down our thoughts and our experiences.

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“Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not a luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.”

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“Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.”

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Some places and people and animals we met during the trip.

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It was a dream come true as we got to see authentic Tibetan mandalas in person and they were magnificent!

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“Whether you believe in God or not does not matter so much, whether you believe in Buddha or not does not matter so much. As a Buddhist, whether you believe in reincarnation or not does not matter so much. You must lead a good life.”

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These are simple universal truths by the Dalai Lama. I think this is what I have always liked about him: The freedom from dogma, his passionate compassion, and most of all his utter willingness to undermine his own position and authority to state what really matters. Thus, when this lifetime opportunity arose (our eternal gratitude to Tara, whom we met at the Chicks Eat Vegan event, and who helps organise the Southeast Asian teachings for His Holiness), we dropped all our plans to sign up for the teaching sessions – barely a week before the registration closed!

I must state for the record that my wife and I are not proponents of any particular religion (although perhaps I gravitate more towards the philosophy of Buddhism and have always been inspired by the possibility of understanding actual interdependent reality beyond our perception of forms). But at this point I am compelled to highlight the response of a young couple (who were our group leaders) we met at the teachings when Priscilla asked them if they were Buddhist.

With no hesitation at all they said – “We’re still trying to be.”

I think they’re definitely on the right path, wouldn’t you agree? I wish we get these kinds of replies more often.

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As for the Dalai Lama’s teachings, they range from the esoteric to the personal. But I’ll share a couple of awesome quotes from His Holiness:

(On being asked on what has been the greatest test to his faith throughout all his years)

“I think… Nothing!” (It was not just the response but the conviction in his voice when he said that)

(On the issue of the need for a wider study into secular ethics amongst the youth of today to stem the growing tide of inequality and corruption within governments)

“There is corruption in many countries, some more, some less. Like Singapore… Very low corruption I think.” (at which point someone mumbled about Singapore having no corruption).

“NO corruption??? I don’t believe!! Hahaha! Okok maybe Singapore, no corruption. But I know some Tibetan friends. So corrupt. Now? They are Singapore citizen!”

I think I’m a fan.

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A Vegan Commune- An initiative by Mr and Mrs Vegan Private Home Kitchen

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This event took us a long time to decide and practice and finally we thought – let’s be crazy and do it! Having attended a few private home kitchen dinners in our travels, we were always hunting down unique and special dining experiences. In the same fashion, we are hoping to open our doors to welcome like-minded vegan, vegetarians, meat eaters or even tourists to our home. We have been preparing for this event for almost a year and have invited friends and acquaintances to give us their honest and most brutal comments. So far, they have all been really supportive to give us a GO so we are taking the plunge!

Here are some information about the event:

Date 13th December 2014 (FULLY BOOKED!)
Day/Time Saturday, 730pm
Theme Vegan Christmas Special
Tickets $35 per pax
To Register Email us at mrandmrsvegan@gmail.com with your name, your contact number and how many seats you will be getting. We only have 6 seats for this session.
Registration deadline 5th December 2014, Friday, 12pm
Menu(Pls note garlic and onions are used) It will be a surprise menu which comprises of the following which I will share with confirmed guests a week before the event
A starter
A Soup
A Main Dish
A Dessert
Two homemade drinks (non-alcoholic)
A gift to take home with

Here are some extra FAQs you might be burning to ask:

1. What is vegan food?

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as following an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals. It aspires to a kinder, more caring and more equal society. Vegan food therefore does not contain any meat or animal products such as eggs or dairy. We welcome anyone who aspires to such a philosophy or who just is curious about what vegan food is like.

2. Why are we doing this?

  • We would like to use this unique and personalized platform to create more awareness about Veganism.
  • We would  like to meet new people who are open to give vegan food a try.
  • We are hoping to raise funds for the maintenance of our blog and our upcoming Mr and Mrs Vegan website.
  • We believe the trend and acceptance of private home kitchen will be blooming in the coming years.
  • We have a dream of opening our own Mr and Mrs Vegan restaurant/cafe in the future and this sets our first step towards reaching our dream.

3.Who will be cooking the dishes?

Mrs Vegan aka Priscilla will be the chef of the day! Her credentials are zero but if you count her cooking and experimenting for 2 years on vegan home cooking dishes, I say you give her some credit (fingers crossed). If you are still very worried, maybe check out our instagram page and see if you are convinced to give us a chance. You could also ask Mr Vegan what he thinks. Most likely, he will say it’s been awesome so far.

4. Is this also known as a supper club?

Yes! Supper clubs also known as underground restaurants are super popular in the UK/USA/Japan/HK but in Singapore, the concept is kinda crazy and unheard of.  The idea behind this is a social dining eating experience operating out of someone’s home. They are, in effect, paying dinner parties. They are usually advertised by word of mouth or guerilla advertising,and may require references to make a reservations.  The only difference between most supper clubs and our Vegan Commune event is that WE WILL DINE with our guests too. So if you are expecting us to just serve you and leave you alone for the night, this event is not for you. The whole idea is for us to know you and for you to know us. So what better way than to have us join you guys in the meal and we can talk cock* through the night (*in singlish it means keep on talking and talking about random stuff, intelligent stuff and funny stuff)!

4. Who will come to this?

If you are up for trying out new places to eat, meet and dine with new people. Or if you have always been very curious what vegan food can taste like- then this is for you. Please note that this isn’t food that you will find in restaurants and each dish is made with love and home style equipments.

5. Where is the secret location?

It will be in our home we share with our 3 flurry cats, Cutie, Sweetie and Ah Kin and Roland’s Mum. We will also announce our home location only to guests who have made ticket payment and the address will be shared on the day of the event. Our place is right in the centre of Singapore and is right above an MRT station so do not worry about accessibility.

6. What is the food going to be like?

A mix of tried and tested popular vegan dishes ranging from western, mexican, italian, chinese, japanese, indian cuisines. It is really a big big world out there filled with vegan dishes and we are hoping to do theme menus.

7. How many people will I be dining with?

Our 6 guests (including you) plus 2 of us. Sometimes, we might rope in our mum (she is cool) or even add extra chairs for our friends so you can meet more people. We might increase the number of guests to a maximum of 6 depending on the responses we get after this event.

8. What if I want to come alone?

Sure, why not? That is definitely part of the experience. We hope through this we can bring together a group of people, be it strangers or friends to chat and bond over good food in a casual, relaxed and homely setting. If you are a tourist, this will be the perfect way for you to see how a local vegan family live and dine in Singapore.

9. What if I do not like dining with strangers?

Our minimum number of guests to kick start our Vegan Commune event is to have 4 guests, if we only have 1 or 2 guests we will cancel it and schedule it on another day or give you a refund if other dates do not work. If there are 3 guests, we will most likely go ahead. If in an event you are not able to turn up, please inform us a day before so that we can refund your ticket and find a new guest in time. This will enable us to have some time to go through our wait list and find a new guest replacement. If you do not inform us a day in advance or there is no show, we will not be able to refund the ticket amount as we have already prepared your share and it is fair that you respect the time and effort we set aside for you as well.

10. Can I select my own dates?

At this stage, no. It could happen in the near future and it depends on our work schedule.

11. Can I get this ticket for a friend as a surprise?

Sure, we do not see why not. But it will be wise to prep him or her and meet her expectations in case she is expecting full-on butler services or fancy musicians canoodling her/him away through the night. Mr Vegan might act as a back-up singer or guitarist if you are really serious about impressing your surprise guest:P But I say let’s not bet on that to happen and no refunds allowed

12. What if I am scared of cats?

If you have any allergy to cats or prefer if they are not chilling around your legs, let us know in advance and we can keep them safe in our rooms.

13. What kind of special diets do you cater to?

At this point, we do not cater to gluten free diets and we cook mainly with garlic and onions. We also use nuts in our cooking and desserts.

14. What if the food is not to my liking?

We are not able to please everyone but we hope you will enjoy our food.

We hope the FAQs helped answer any questions you guys are having! We cannot contain how excited and equally nervous this event mean to us and if you have any ideas or suggestions or just want to say hi to us, write to us at mrandmrsvegan@gmail.com.

Mr & Mrs Vegan Top 10 Favourite Vegan Food Hunt in Singapore!

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We decided to recollect our favourite top 10 vegan/vegetarian food places we love as everyone who we meet always ask this question! (Please note the list is not arranged in any particular order). Do let us know what you think and if any of the food places are your favourite too. Or if you have more food places to recommend us to visit! Do note that some places are vegetarian and we usually request for vegan options. As you can tell from our list, we love a good mix of chinese, western, italian and indian dishes and these are typically what we eat most of the time other than home-cooked meals.

1. Piore (Farrer Road)

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We are slightly bias as they are our neighbours and we go to them all the time for a quick meal which never fails to fill us up. Most importantly, we love getting surprised by their daily specials via text messages and the prices range from $6 to $7.50 for most of their mains. They have a really yummy coral jelly with soy milk which is a must try! Our favourites from Piore have got to be their nasi lemak, yam cake, tom yam noodles and kong bak bao! Remember to check with them if you want to be updated of their daily specials via text messages. Just give them a smile and inform them if you are vegan and prefer no eggs or mock meat that contains eggs in them.

Address: Block 3 Queen’s Road #02-163

Phone: 64744047

Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10.30am-7.30pm, Fri closes at 3.30pm Closed on Sun and PH.

2. Living Greens (Rangoon Road)

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This place was one of my favourite when they used to be near beach road. Although they have moved into a smaller location near Rangoon road, I am still a fan of their dishes. You have to try their tempeh curry sandwiches, lasagna and their daily cakes! The only downside is they only accept cash and can be quite pricey if you want to order a few dishes like we do.

Address: 89 rangoon Road #01-04 URBAN LOFTS Singapore 218375

Phone: 98574881

Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11am-3pm, 5pm-7pm. Closed on Sun and PH

3. Beyond Veggie (Bukit Timah)

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This new establishment near Bukit Timah is another favourite of ours due to the close proximity to our home. We love their assam laksa and all their ala carte vegetable dishes! One of our favourite is claypot tofu and sambal petai and ladies fingers. Usually they are booked out so remember to give them a call to reserve before heading down.

Address: 18 Greenwood Avenue, Hillcrest Park

Phone: 67631323

Opening hours: Mon-Thur & Sun 11am-9.30pm, Fri & Sat 11am-10.30pm

4. Yi Xin Vegetarian Restaurant (Chinatown)

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This place is Mr Vegan favourite and most visited place. Every time if my mum-in-law or I do not cook, he will suggest this place over and over again. Lately, we noticed they have KALE for their economical rice section (the above dish cost us SGD$4) and their peanut/ikan bilis mix is the best! Anything we eat there is so good and cheap we want to order more. They do not serve any eggs as well and we love stocking up our tom yam paste and kimchi jars from their grocery corner.

Address: 39 Temple Street, down the streets after you see the famous peanut dessert place

Phone: 93666002

Opening hours: Daily 8am-10pm

5. Loving Hut (Joo Chiat)

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This newly opened hipster vegan food chain is shaking the vegan scene in Singapore and one of the best dish to try is grilled mixed vegetable ciabatta sandwich which we are huge fans of! The other must try dishes are their local delights like laksa and mee pok. If you are craving for something crunchy go for their crispy shrooms and onion rings. They taste even better than those sold in meat establishments! Did you know they offer vegan food catering services too?

Address: 229 Joo Chiat Road #01-01 Singapore 427489

Phone: 6348 6318 (Call on weekends to make reservations)

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11am-3pm/5.30-9pm, Sat, Sun and PH 11am-9pm (4-6pm happy hour where there is special promo off desserts!)

6. Bespoke Japanese Restaurant (Bugis)

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There are days we all crave a little Japanese and this is where we will be. The only downside are their sauces which are not vegan. I wished they can soon come up with vegan mayonnaise which will definitely make everyone happy! The best dishes to try are smoked duck and mushrooms and their sushi rolls such as salmon maki rolls and unagi roll.

Address: Sunshine Plaza, 91 Bencoolen Street #01-50 Singapore 189652

Phone: 6337 7050 (Must call to reserve, it is usually packed!)

Opening hours: Daily 11.30am-3pm (last order 2.30pm), 5.30pm-10pm (last order at 9.30pm)

7. VeganBurg (The Grandstand and many other outlets)

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This is a no brainer. Anyone who thinks vegan fast food taste crap should try Veganburg. Their burgers are out of the world yummy! I realized their patties are much bigger now and their signature seaweed fries taste so good, we usually order another to share. We love the ambience of the place, the option to swap your fries to steamed broccoli or even a paleo vegetable sandwich. The current favourite of ours is their limited edition wasabi mayo edamame burger!

They have a total of 4 outlets, the one we frequent most is The GrandStand

Address: 200 Turf Club Road #01-32 Singapore 287994

Phone: 6462 1281

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11.30am- 9.30pm (last order 9pm), Sat, Sun and PH 10.30am-10pm (last order 9.45pm)

7. Brownice (Upper Thomson)

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This ice cream parlour has revamped and brought in so many wonderful new delights this year. From their SUPERB crispy thin Italian style vegan cheese pizzas in more than 5 flavours (our favourite is tofu crumble and classic) to their brand new creations like coconut yolk mango ice cream cakes. I hope oneday they grow as big as the next swensens in town:) Oh and of course, their brownies and waffles are the best. You can really see a difference between eating this eggless/dairy free version and yet be so amazed it taste so good or even better than normal waffles.

Address: Sin Ming Centre, 8 Sin Ming Road #01-03 Singapore 575628

Phone: 6456 6431

Opening hours: Mon-Thu 12pm-10pm, Fri- Sun 12pm-11pm

8. Veggie Cottage (Little India)

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This place feels like a secret place for us. I guess the ambience, the soft music, the water fountain and the staff just makes us feel really cozy whenever we dine there. I daresay one of the best aglio olio we have ever tasted comes from them! And you have to try their vegan salad medley which is so creamy you will not crave for caesar salad anymore. The only downside is the long waiting time.

Address: 13 Dalhousie Lane Singapore 209682

Phone: 67856771 (We usually call 10 minutes earlier before we arrive to lessen our waiting time:P)

Opening hours: Tues to Fri 10.30am- 8.45pm, Sat 9.30am-9pm, Sun 9.30am-4pm. Closed on Mon and Last Sunday of the month

9. Roti’s Alka Kitchen (West Coast)

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If we could choose an indian food establishment we love it will be Roti’s Alka Kitchen. Although they lack presentation and ambience, they come filled with love and strong flavours. It really taste like home-cooked meals as we have a close friend who cooks delicious vegan indian dishes as well. Hopefully this kitchen will move to a more centralized location so that more can taste their food!

Address: West Coast Plaza, 154 West Coast Road #B1-22/23

Phone: 67740422 (We suggest calling earlier to order if you know what you like as the waiting time takes a while)

Opening hours: Daily 10am-10pm

10. Sunny Choice

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Another place to get one-dish wonders is Sunny Choice. They have light bites to heavy meals all made in house. We love the vegetable sushi roll with wasabi sauce, Hakka Abacus and also Thunder Tea Rice. There seems to be a pattern that most small scale cafes also house a grocery corner and once we even managed to get freshly baked vegan banana bread too!

Address: 434 Upper Bukit Timah Road, The Rail Mall Singapore 678060

Phone: 68922383

Opening hours: Wed-Mon 10am-9pm, Closed on Tues

 

If you enjoy reading this post and love to keep in touch with what we post first-hand, follow us on instagram @mrandmrsvegan today!

 

Homemeals: Vegan Japanese Feast with homemade vegan soba sauce

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A couple of months back, we were craving for Japanese food and I decided to reference some recipes we picked up from our vegan cooking class in Kyoto, Japan last year and also some new ones from this amazing book called Cooking with Soy by Yoshiko Takeuchi. This book have so many mouth-watering recipes and the photography makes you want to eat japanese fusion vegan food everyday! Another thing I love about this book is how each recipe comes with photos of how it looks like. This was one of the key reasons why I was dying to get my hands on this book.

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Our guests were blown away by how tasty they all turned out to be for first attempts! They are really easy to whip up and just require some patience and of course lots of pretty dining-ware to make the experience more wholesome:P

Each guest had green tea soba with homemade vegan soba sauce (I made this a day before so that it can be served chilled), Hiyayakko cold silken tofu with chopped scallions and dark sauce. They also each had their own platter of oyster mushroom and shiitake mushroom kakiage dipped with green tea and himalayan pink salt, japanese sesame peanuts and black sesame miso I got from Isetan.

 Oyster Mushroom and Shiitake Mushroom Kakiage with Green Tea Salt (taken from Cooking with Soy Book)

Kakiage is a type of tempura made with different ingredients that have been sliced and mixed in tempura batter. Then a pancake-like shape is made when deep-frying. Traditionally tempura batter is made from flour, egg and water. It is very hard to make it crispy with the traditional batter and this recipe is not only vegan, gluten-free and super crispy!

Ingredients

2 packets of oyster mushroom, broken into mini bunch

1 packet of shiitake mushroom, stems removed

Batter

4 tablespoon brown rice or rice flour

4 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

80ml water

Neutral oil for frying (I used grapeseed)

Green tea salt 

1/2 teaspoon green tea powder

2 teaspoon himalayan pink salt

Method:

1. Mix the batter together and make sure you coat all the ingredients well with flour, otherwise oil will splash while frying. Add water and mix well.

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. The oil will be ready when you drop a small piece of food into the oil and it floats to the surface straight away. If the food floats but gets burnt, the temperature is too high.

3. Push the mixture into oil and make fry until all edges of the kakiage becomes golden brown and then turn to cook the other side.

4. Rest on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil

5. To make tea salt, combine salt and tea powder

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This dish was the star of the night! We learnt it in Kyoto a year back and was thinking of re-creating this dish after seeing some fresh burdock stems in Isetan Japanese supermarket. It is super easy to whip up and the taste is DIVINE and savoury!

Kinpira (pan fried root vegetables)

Ingredients:

2 cups of Root vegetables (we used 2 sticks of burdock root and 3-4 carrots, julienned)

1 teaspoon of Sugar

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of sesame seeds ( we added 3 times more!)

1 teaspoon of mirin

1 teaspoon of oil

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

Method:

1. Cut vegetables into strings or in slices.

2. Cook them in a frying pan with oil (burdock needs a bit extra cooking time).

3. Add sugar and keep cooking until it is dry.

4. Add soy sauce and cook until liquid is cooked off, then add a dash of mirin to give moisture.

5. Cook off alcohol in mirin.

6. Turn off the heat and add sesame seeds and sesame oil

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If you ever see black sesame miso in Isetan or any Japanese market, please tell us! This one was specially flown in for a miso food festival and is one of the best miso we have ever tasted. It is such a pity we finished the whole box we bought and we are still thinking and craving for this yummy cold cucumber miso dip.

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Last but not least, I thought it will be great to end the night with a Japanese raw green tea cheese cake and surprisingly it tasted seriously good! It was one of my better raw cakes experiment:) Note that I did not use brazil nuts, figs and substituted it with almonds and dates instead. I cannot wait to create another japanese vegan feast again!

Vegan Thai Sauces and Dressings- Mekhala at Pasarbella, The Grandstand

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If there is one cuisine which we always find difficulties in satisfying our taste buds, it will be Thai food! Getting vegan Thai food in Singapore is literally non-existence unless you create your own sauce or if you double-check and triple check with Thai restaurants to eliminate all the fish sauces they typically use. Mekhala vegan Thai sauces and dressing is a dream come true for all vegans! I came up with some questions to ask the folks behind Mekhala and here are their replies:

1. Who founded Mekhala? When was it founded?

Mekhala was originally founded at the Asian Leadership Institute in Chiang Mai, Thailand, by Jang Phanthip Bauerle. Jang wanted organic and natural products for her clients and, being a vegan cook and a naturopath, began developing her own range. When Daphne Hedley, a family friend with a business background, came upon the products after returning to Asia with her husband, she and Jang decided to launch Mekhala as a brand in Singapore. Mekhala offers wholesome food and personal care products made from organic and natural ingredients sourced from farms in Northern Thailand. All creations are vegan and free from artificial additives, and Mekhala is dedicated to fostering sustainable relationships with suppliers, customers and the local community.

2. What are the products you guys carry currently?

We carry 2 distinct product ranges aimed at encouraging a wholesome, natural lifestyle: an Asian-influenced organic/natural fine food range and a natural personal care range that is free from chemicals such as SLS and parabens.

The food range includes some Asian-inspired salad dressings, Asian condiments (cooking and dipping sauces/pastes), Thai curry pastes, spreads, oils/seasonings (eg organic coconut oil and Himalayan pink salt) and 4 different types of unpolished organic Thai mountain-grain rice. All of them are made from organic and natural ingredients and are highly versatile.

The majority of our personal care items belong either the anti-oxidant-rich Black Rice  range and the nourishing/moisturising Young Rice Milk range. Both ranges comprise a shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, body wash or shower gel and handmade soap. On top of these, we also have a very popular coconut soap that resembles a half-coconut! It’s got a creamy coconut soap on the inside and has a “husk” that is actually a cinnamon turmeric scrub. Our best-selling Tamarind Facial Cleanser, made with organic tamarind and honey, rounds up the personal care range.

3. What was the first product produced?

Mekhala first started off with the Black Rice and Young Rice Milk shampoos, conditioners, body lotions and soaps, coconut soap, 4 types of organic rice and a tea range, which we have now discontinued.

4. What is your best-selling product?

Our Coriander Ginger Dressing. We launched it in mid-July, in conjunction with our packaging revamp, and it’s been flying off the shelves ever since! It is absolutely bursting with flavours of coriander, ginger and lime and is great as a salad dressing, pour-over sauce or dipping sauce – no cooking required!

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5. Tell me more about the ingredients you guys use which is different from other brand?

Instead of table salt, refined white sugar and vegetable oil, we use only Himalayan Pink Salt, coconut sugar and rice bran oil in our products.

Himalayan Pink Salt are widely acknowledged to be the purest, cleanest, most mineral-rich salt on earth and gets its pink hue from the 84 different types of beneficial elements and minerals that it contains. We choose to use coconut sugar because it is a clean, unrefined sugar that has not been chemically-treated or bleached, unlike regular white sugar. Lastly, rice bran oil is rich in Vitamin E and anti-oxidants and has been shown to improve cholesterol levels.

6. Where are the sauces and dressings made currently? And how big or small is the team?

They are all made in our small factory in Chiang Mai, located near the retreat at which Mekhala was founded. We have a team of 5 in Thailand that is in charge of manufacturing our beautiful products as well as building close relationships with the farmers and other suppliers from whom we source our ingredients. We have recently started selling in Thailand so they are now in charge of liaising with our retailers too!

Our Singapore side is also 5-strong at the moment, including our sales staff. Our Singapore and Thailand teams work very closely together, sharing ideas on both production and marketing – thank goodness for Skype and Google Hangouts!

7. How do you guys get inspirations for new flavours?

For a start, being based in Singapore and Thailand with an eclectic mix of Thai, Singaporean/Chinese, American & Burmese Shan team members, we are very fortunate to have a wealth of flavours and flavour combinations to tap into. We also get inspired by produce we see at the local Chiang Mai markets and at the farms that we visit, dishes from our childhood, television shows, our travels, restaurants we eat out at, etc. Customers at our Pasarbella shop sometimes suggest product ideas to us and tell us what type of products they want to see, which is very valuable feedback for us.

8. Is there a special tip to use your products?

Look past their categories/names and use them in as many ways as you can think of as they are very, very versatile! For example, one of our best-sellers is a Miso Lime Chilli Dressing that is meant to be a salad dressing, but it is also great as a stir-fry sauce for leafy greens, such as kangkong and spinach, as well as a marinade. We regularly post recipes on our website, Facebook and Instagram and hopefully these inspire customers to come up with their own usage ideas.

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With Mekhala sauces and dressing in hand, I decided to whip up a vegan thai meal for our guests the next evening. Feeling ambitious, I made all the dishes for the first time and kept my fingers crossed. Thankfully, they tasted surprisingly decent and I had Mekhala sauces to save the day:P The first dish I made was Basil garlic mushroom rice paper roll with an assortment of dressing like pumpkin black pepper $8.20 for 250ml and coriander ginger dressing $8.20 for 250ml. I suggest making an extra few more rice rolls just in case they do not look as good when you cut them up into halves for presentation. I opted for mushroom fillings and the basil garlic flavours really shone through. Our dinner guest commented that I could have added more mint for a refreshing aftertaste for the rice paper rolls. Overall, it was a pretty easy dish to whip up and is one healthy starter to begin your meal with. Another thing I found useful was Mekhala youtube channel where they share how their sauces and dressings can be used but wished they had more vegan cooking recipes.

9. Tell us more about the home cooking videos you guys have on your youtube page? How long does it take to create one and will you guys be doing more vegan cooking recipes?

Two groups of customers that we focus on are that of people who don’t have much time to cook and those who don’t really know how to cook. Our condiments are really, really easy to use so even beginner and/or time-starved cooks will be able to put together tasty, healthy meals with Mekhala’s help! We know of many people who are just terrified of stepping into the kitchen and we realised that we really need to show our customers how easy it is – just talking about it won’t do very much. Hence, the Mekhala Living Food Channel was born! We release one video every 1-2 weeks and also post the recipes on our website.

It takes us about 1-2 hours to prepare one video, depending on how many times we flub our lines. The cooking itself is usually very quick, but the set-up, filming of ingredients and photography can take a while. Definitely! We have recently filmed about 4-5 new vegan recipes, which we will be sharing very soon.

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I also wanted a fusion soup as I had a couple of pumpkin squash in the fridge. So I googled for a recipe that required me to use green curry paste $5.50 for 100g and I found it right here. The flavours combined with the spicy green curry paste with roasted pumpkin and coconut tasted heavenly! This soup dish was a winner. If you want it less spicy, I recommend using more coconut milk to blend them all up.

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I also made some crispy tofu steaks with some crushed peanuts and sweet plum sauce for extra texture.

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The main dish was phad thai using organic mulberry leaves rice noodles which was really unique. It tasted more firm than the usual phad thai noodles when cooked with the Phad Thai sauce $7.20 for 200ml from Mekhala. This dish was definitely one of the healthier version we have tasted by far. It was not sweet but I wished it had a stronger after taste or flavour. I used 2 packets of mulberry rice paper noodles and the portions was too much for 5 people. Another thing I wished was for the bottle to be bigger! I finished using the 200ml bottle for this dish and wished there was more. All my guests went ga ga over the dressings they had and I was curious if they are planning to launch more products in the coming new year.

10. Any new flavours or products you guys will be launching soon?

We will be introducing a whole new spice range within the next couple of months. We will start off with 5 blends of Asian herbs and spices, including lemongrass, Thai basil and Makhwaen peppercorns, which is a type of prickly ash pepper that is similar to Szechuan peppercorns. These will be great as spice rubs and for sprinkling over foods, such as cooked vegetables, tofu and rice, for flavour. We will also have individual dried herbs and spices, such as ground turmeric, coriander and kaffir lime leaves.

We will also be launching 4-5 new salad dressings, sauces and pastes early next year, and these will have Vietnamese, Japanese and, of course, Thai influences. The feedback on them has been great so far and we can’t wait to have them on our shelves!

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We ended the dinner with some home-made coconut chia pudding topped with our all time favourite Brownice coconut ice cream with fresh mango slices!

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Our guests also brought along Brownice latest and BEST ice cream cake we have ever tasted! The coconut yolk mango cake slices were delicious. We are bugging the team at Brownice to remake this cake and we think everyone will love it:)

We want to thank Diana and Daphne from Mekhala for sharing and sponsoring the sauces, dressing and noodles we had for this dinner. If you find heading to Pasar Bella quite a chore, do not worry as they have their sauces on their website and also on Le Bono.

 

Address: 200 Turf Club Road, Pasarbella, The Grandstand #02-k57 Singapore 287994

Phone: 64668270

Email: info@mekhalaliving.com

Follow them on facebook and instagram too!

Fried Sesame Bun- Di Shui Fang Vegetarian Restaurant, Georgetown, Penang

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Another vegetarian restaurant we chanced upon along Lebuh Penang (there are at least 5 vegetarian places around the same area) was Di Shui Fang.  The ambience of the restaurant had many buddhist relics and quotes. We went there during lunch time and the place was packed. The first dish we tried was fried sesame bun, their signature dish Rm2.50/pc. It came hot and cut into 4 equal portions. It reminded us of Char Siew Pau from HK dim sum places and was not too bad. The flavours were quite genuine but we found it a tad too oily.

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We ordered the specials of the day RM8.00 and all of them tasted really normal. It was neither satisfying or extremely yummy. The portions were quite small as well. We left wishing we had indian food instead.  The only awesome part was the free wifi!

Address: 16 Penang Street, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

Phone Number: (04) 263 6300

Opening Hours: Tues-Fri 9.00am-6.00pm, Weekend 9.00am-8.00pm. Closed on Mondays

Roti Chanai Feast- Sri Anada Bahwan, Georgetown, Penang

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Another place we frequent was Sri Ananda Bahwan Pure Vegetarian Restaurant (They do not serve eggs). They are everywhere in Penang but most of them are non-vegetarian and the only one was at Lebuh Penang.

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My favourite drink in Penang was Lime Teh-O with less sugar! This drink is such a bomb and I might sound really silly but I have never tasted this in Singapore.

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Hubby loves Roti Prata so we went back there so many times just to eat the freshly smacked and fried Roti Chanai. We ordered the plain and onion versions and both were equally crispy . Somehow, I wished they were more doughy though.

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We also ordered a masala thosai to share and we informed the kitchen not to cook with ghee if you are wondering if they veganized it for us.

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The best part of the meal was during lunch time when we chose from a buffet spread of yummy indian dishes (I noticed they had many mock meat curries options which we both dislike). The other thing we did was to check if which dish contained dairy or yogurt and avoided those.

Address: 66 Penang Street, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

Phone: (04) 263-3841

Hours: 7am-11pm (they serve roti chanai from 7am-11am and 4pm till late)

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