Thursday, 3 March 2011

Singapore Buddhist Lodge

The eatery that receives the honor of being featured in my maiden post goes to... drum roll ... Singapore Buddhist Lodge (SBL). I found out about this place through Chic Vegetarian's blog ( ) Thanks Chic Vegetarian, for your very informative and well-written post about SBL. Well, I had to admit that back then I was enticed by the words "free temple food". Actually it could be any kind of edible food, since FREE was the  main attraction here. As if this isn't good enough,  the food at SBL is served in buffet style. Yes you hear it right, FREE BUFFET FOOD, who cares if it's vegetarian or vegan or if they serve prawns to make the buffet worth the money. At least I don't (Ok I know I am cheapo).

Enough of the introduction. Now on to my personal experiences with SBL.

Kim Yam Road, where SBL was, sounded alien to me. Google Map sure made my life easier. Based on the map it was near River Valley Road, which wasn't within walking distances from any MRT station. The buses that reached there were 32, 54, 139, 195 and 195A. Being "directionally challenged", I was a little apprehensive about exploring somewhere new, even in a small country like Singapore. On the day itself, I noticed a few old folks alighting at the same stop as me. Instinct told me to follow them, and sure enough, they led me to the right place. I may not have much sense of direction, but I do have a healthy dose of common sense. Or it could be Buddha's way of welcoming me to the lodge.

The Food

For a FOC buffet, the variety was reasonable enough. Whether you are someone with light taste, like me for example, or you prefer a slightly richer tasting food, there's something for everybody. On that day, I saw three sections of food. One of the sections consisted of staples like white rice, fried noodles, fried bee hoon, etc... basically the carbohydrate dishes meant to fill you up. The vegetable curry was in this section too, since it was typically drizzled onto the white rice.

Nearby one could find the next section which comprised the accompanying dishes. Most of these dishes were stir fried vegetables such as celery, bitter gourds and cabbages, the usual fare you find at our local vegetarian economic rice stalls.

The exceptions were as follows:

  • Mock meat braised in dark colored sauce which I suspected was dark soy sauce.
  • Dried bean curd stick in a sweet reddish sauce
  • Green apple salad, which one Caucasian volunteer claimed to be very delicious.

Being someone with light taste, these were not exactly my kind of food but out of curiosity, I sampled a small portion of the stir-fried bitter gourd and dried bean curd stick (That's why I knew the sauce was sweet.). Both dishes were a little cold, just like the paid versions. However the taste was all right, and surprisingly not very oily despite the way these dishes looked. Yeah, we were taught not to judge a book by its cover.

Here comes the last section, also my favorite section, where I came here for after reading about them in Chic Vegetarian's blog. This section was made up of the congee and other soupy dishes. I saw both the plain and vegetable congee mentioned in Chic Vegetarian's blog. I tried the vegetable congee first, and thankfully it was still luke warm. For me, there was just enough taste to prevent it from being described as tasteless, but not too strong or salty that made me thirsty. I like it so much that I went for a second helping.

Next up was the soup noodles. The noodle used was the flat yellow type. What gravitate me towards this dish was the generous amount of carrots and choy sum used, and I had to admit it looked really colorful. Apart from the veges, there were a few pieces of yam inside, which I mistook for mock meat before consuming them. As far as I'm concerned, this was better off as I preferred whole food to mock meat. Although the noodles were cold already, I could tell it tasted delicious when it was just cooked.

I skipped the laksa (or maybe it's curry noodles) beside the soup noodles since I did not like spicy food. Since there were a lot of people crowding around that dish I assumed it's quite good.

And the last dish, two actually, and in my opinion, the best, were the herbal soups. They were different from the ones mentioned in Chic Vegetarian's blog, so I guessed SBL serve different types of soup everyday. That's very thoughful of them. The soups of the day were watercress soup and apple soup, both of which were common Chinese soups. Come to think of it, I should have taken the soup first, but I was a little too excited about this place that I got the order all jumbled up. Anyway the watercress soup tasted heavenly. The good taste was achieved by the use of appropriate types and quantity of herbs, unlike its msg-salt-and-whatnot-laden paid counterpart. Common herbal ingredients such as Chinese date and wolf berries were used so it tasted what the Chinese (Particularly the Cantonese) called "sweet". The apple soup tasted sweet rather than savory, no wonder I saw people using plastic cups instead of bowls to contain the soup. Nonetheless I wasn't disappointed. The apple soup tasted more like apple tongsui (Sweet warm soup), which was very thirst-quenching. What an excellent way to end my meal!

After I discarded my utensils, I saw the volunteers carrying out a just-cooked steamed tofu. Did you know that tofu was my favorite food? Well now you do. In addition I loved steamed food, as opposed to fried food. Hence this was the dish made for me. However I felt bad taking another paper plate just to try this dish. Pardon me for not being environmentally friendly, as I thought they would provide utensils that required washing after use, but it turned out that you had to bring your own. I would take note of that in future, and yes, I would return to this place again.


Before I left, I made a small donation as I did not carry much cash with me that day. However I felt they deserved way more than what I had given. Overall. I was impressed with the dishes. Despite being free, the standard was far from compromised. Like I mentioned earlier, some of the dishes were superior to the ones I actually had to pay for when I ate elsewhere. In addition there was a healthy feel to the dishes in general.

Sometimes the best things in the world are free.

Address:17-19 Kim Yam Road Singapore 239329
Opening Hours:Mon - Sun
7.00 am - 7.00 pm (I think)
Bus Service:32, 54, 139, 195, 195A
MRT Station:Clarke Quay


  1. Wow, you must have very good karma to visit the temple when they are serving so many variety!

    Except for the environment (which already improvement seen by volunteers trying to upkeep the hygiene), the food is really cooked with loving-kindness felt.
    Love their fried mee hoon with the curry vegetables! Also their soup! Didn't recall having their vegetable congee before...

    If you visit the temple on non-celebration day where they do not have the disposable cutlery available, if you walk slightly further towards their washing area, just after the buffet table, you can see on the right of the passage way some shelves containing plates/bowls that you can use & wash after dining.

    And I like the standing Amitabha Buddha radiating lights to the dining crowd at the dining hall!:-)

  2. Thanks for your advice. I was looking for the plates/bowls which I could wash after using, but only the disposable ones were displayed in a more prominent location. In future I would take note of that. It's a pity I forgot to bring my camera that day. Could have made a nice gallery with this one.

    I am not into religion myself, but I like and respect Buddhism a lot. It is a very peaceful religion/teaching. Coincidentally, I do not have much resistance to a vegetarian diet.

  3. YIP KUM FOOK (MCA GOMBAK CHAIRMAN) MAKES BUDDHIST & MCA SHAMEFUL! one of crushing shame and exploitation for Buddhist World.

    敬爱的马来亚佛总理事先生Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia佛寺理事先生以及佛教信徒.

    自从Yip Kum Fook (MCA Gombak Chairman)当任主席, 有预谋的迫走本地和尚(吉兰丹), 而遠聘缅甸和尚, 当任主持之后Samnak Sambodhi Thai Buddhist Temple No: 19 Jalan 38 Taman Desa Jaya, Kepong 52100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia(暹廟)就一直发生种种的是是非非, 以引起方民間議論纷纷.

    其因是Yip Kum Fook (MCA Gombak Chairman)所领导的理事会, 勾结外耒的缅甸和尚, 以啇業経营, 不依佛法的精神办事, 只借宗教之名捞取权和私利所引起………. 最近又自行一套商业手法, 规定任和人, 若想出家当和尚修道者, 必先供给RM400大元, 否则免谈. 這种啇業手法, 已引起广大的信徒愤怒而不满.

    Samnak Sambodhi Thai Buddhist Temple (暹廟)是佛总之联会, 而身佛堂之主席Yip Kum Fook (MCA Gombak Chairman)不以佛陀的教誨, 修心養性, 却反其道而行, 接着权势, 无悪不做, 三妻四妾, 骗财骗色, 破坏別人的家庭.....现在他的排聞满天飞, 不但给佛寺帶耒不好的名声, 也間接的耻辱佛教信仰者.

    所从我们祈望马来亚佛总与Buddhist Maha Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia理事同仁, 给以关注, 共創義举, 维护佛法

    此致, 并
    祝安康, 工作愉快.

    Please translate in Bahasa Malaysia and English, and send to everyone, Thanks.