Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ling Zhi Vegetarian @ Novena Square

The Tung Lok Group would ring a bell in the minds of Singaporeans for its extravagant seafood and exquisite restaurant settings. But vegetarian food? I found out the expensive way, through Ling Zhi, a vegetarian extension of the famous culinary brand.

At first look, people would shun vegetarian food because “it’s not worth the money to eat vegetables and gluten” or “it’s tasteless”. Ling Zhi debunked these myths about vegetarian food by serving up a large variety of savoury delights along with its hotpot buffet, including expensive mushroom and mock meat which tasted so similar to the real deal.

I was impressed by the food; while I love vegetarian food, I try to stay away from gluten and mock meat, which provides little or no nutrition and contains alot of salt. Ling Zhi limited the number of mock meat dishes, and filled up the menu with beancurd-based, mushroom and vegetable dishes that even meat eaters would appreciate. Their sweet and sour mock fish (made of beancurd skin and drizzled with a generous amount of tomato-based sauce), breaded vegetarian scallops topped with a dollop of wasabi mayo (above) and breaded shitake mushrooms (below) are all worth a second serving, because even kids would fall in love with such finger-food style dishes.

Of course, we had to have the vegetarian hotpot and chose Tom Yum and Yam soup bases. The Tom Yum soup went well with hotpot ingredients like enoki mushrooms, fried yam, noodles and beancurd, whilyou could cook basically anything in the clear soup base and it would still taste just as good. The variety of mushrooms served was impressive (I could count Shimeji, Enoki, Shitake, Honshimeji, Abalone, Monkey Head and White mushrooms) and the service staff were attentive and made recommendations when requested. Most importantly, they did not treat us differently despite the fact that we were a large group of rowdy young adults eating in the family-friendly restaurant. Thumbs up!

Ambience: 3.9/5
Food: 3.3/5
Price: $$$

Eat where:
Ling Zhi Vegetarian, Novena Square

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