Monday, 21 March 2011

Ci Yan Organic Vegetarian Health Food

After a couple of pleasant experiences with temple vegetarian food, I am inclined to hunt for more of such food in Singapore. With the help of Google, I manage to find out that Singapore Buddha Tooth Relic Temple does have a vegetarian eating place.

On Sunday, I set off to Chinatown, where Singapore Buddha Tooth Relic Temple was located. Since I was in Chinatown, I thought of paying a visit to Ci Yan Organic Vegetarian Health Food, which I read about in Sunny's blog ( ). According to what I had read, their menu was random and this fact alone piqued my interest. Besides Ci Yan and Singapore Buddha Tooth Relic Temple were quite near each other, so I decided to check out what's on the menu of Ci Yan first.

The special items on that day were as follows: 1) tomatoes carrot soup noodles 2) cold almond tofu 3) organic adzuki beans dessert. I happened to be in the mood for something moist and soupy, hence the soup noodles instantly caught my eyes. Moreover, tomatoes and carrots all fell in my list of favorite food. However, I did not want to deviate from my original plan of visiting Singapore Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, hence I moved on. The temple was found along South Bridge Road, sandwiched between Sago Street and Sago Lane. Being a huge red building, it was hard to miss. My destination was at the basement of the temple, but the poster advertisement and menu of the dining hall were pasted outside the temple on the first level, so I had the benefit of checking what's available without making all the way down. What I saw put me in a dilemma. I would like to stay on course to try out the food in the dining hall of the temple, but the items all seemed to be cooked the dry style, which was the complete opposite of my craving that day. Sunny's blog also mentioned that the special dish of Ci Yan was so random that if you missed it, you won't know when it would be cooked again. In the end, I returned to Ci Yan. Singapore Buddha Tooth Relic Temple would be saved for future reviews.

Just a little information about Ci Yan. It declares itself to be a 100% vegetarian eatery. Apart from cooked food, it also sells organic vegetables and fruit juices. Although local nasi lemak is written on the green sign board, I'm not sure if it was a regular dish, like the organic brown rice set. I was too hungry from all that walking that I forgot to ask. Upon entering the eatery, I ordered what I had in mind straight away. While waiting for the food to arrive, I took the opportunity to soak in the ambiance of the eatery a bit. Statues of Buddha and other deities lined the wall, along with shelves of religious text, reflected the owner's devotion to Buddhism. The soft lighting and general quietness further amplified the Buddhism factor. Come to think about it, even the name of the eatery had some Buddhist connection as well. "Ci" means benevolence and "Yan" (I thought the pronunciation is yuan, oh well) means affinity.

The Food

Tomatoes Carrot Soup Noodles, S$ 5.00

Fortunately for famished me, the food arrived rather quickly. My first impression of the dish was, hey I had seen something similar in Sunny's blog before, except that it was called corn & carrot soup noodles. Back then, when I was reading Sunny's blog, I thought I would like to try that dish. Guess I was extremely lucky, to be able to get what I desired on my very first visit to Ci Yan. Since the names were not the same, I believed there were slight differences in the ingredients added. Firstly, mine contained tomatoes (two slices to be exact), which gave the soup a slight tangy flavor. I assumed the chef did not add more to avoid making the soup too sour. Secondly, I only had one piece of sweet corn. Corn did not not appear in the name of the dish, so I should be happy that it was even there. Thirdly, there were some Chinese lettuce, that was cooked just right and managed to absorb the flavor of the soup. Like what Sunny had, the chef used an abundant amount of carrots and radishes, which gave the soup that additional and crucial sweet taste. The soup was clear and light, yet very appetizing, thanks to the tomatoes. I found nothing special about the white jade noodles though. It was neither awful nor fantastic. Fit enough for human consumption was probably the most apt way to describe it. Did you see ONE tiny mushroom and ONE mock pork rib swimming in the dish? I emphasized on the "one", because seriously, that's all I found. Personally I did not mind the lack of mock meat, but a few more mushrooms would be nice. Overall the dish had a clean and healthy feel to it, yet it wasn't bland at all. My digestive system felt really comfortable after finishing the entire bowl.


Ci Yan Organic Vegetarian Health Food is certainly a place worth returning to, even if it is to check what's the special item on that day (For some odd reason, I find that fun).

Address:8 Smith Street, Chinatown
Opening Hours:Mon - Sun
12.00 pm - 10.00 pm
Bus Service:80, 145
MRT Station:Chinatown


  1. Hi there,

    Just dropping by to say good job with your vegetarian food reviews. I like the detailed nature and language which you use to describe the dishes.

    Keep up the good work!

    Luke (Hungry Ang Mo)

  2. Thanks for dropping by. Your comments really make my day. As a newbie to blogging, I still have a lot to learn from pioneers like you.