Sunday, 15 May 2011

Xiu Yuan Good Food Cafe

At this time of the year, our friends in the northern hemisphere are slowly approaching summer, whereas we, the inhabitants of Singapore, are already experiencing this season in its full glory. When the weather is extremely hot, I prefer simple and light meals so as not to put further burden on my digestive system.

I may have lamented about Bugis in one of my previous posts. Then again, I also have to admit that it is one of the “safer” places in Singapore for vegetarians to go to. When it comes to the amount of vegetarian eateries available, if Bugis declares itself the runner-up, no where else in Singapore dares to claim the top spot. To me, finding vegetarian food that suits my light palate is not easy, because Singaporeans in general likes rich and deep flavor. As a result I usually can't find something I like in vegetarian stalls offering only the standard fare. With numerous choices in Bugis, I should be able to find a place to dine at, such as Xiu Yuan Good Food Cafe, which offers a good mix of light and heavy flavored food.

Xiu Yuan certainly has no qualms showing off its vast menu, as seen on the neatly arranged food gallery on its wall. In fact, they have so much items that the wall runs out of space and they have to display the rest of the pictures on a white board. Thanks to those appetizing looking images, I get to find out what they sell without having to ask. Needless to say, I was delighted to see a variety of clear soup dishes.

The Food

Spinach Noodles Soup, S$ 4.00

One look at the noodles of spinach noodles soup dish told me that it was store-bought, not homemade. Considering that it cost only four dollars, not that paying this much for a small bowl of noodles was cheap, expecting the cook to make the noodles herself was a still little too much. If I did not find spinach and enoki mushroom as part of the ingredient list, I would have felt totally ripped off. Flavor wise, it was no different from the thin yellow noodles used in wonton mee. Even the act of contributing a lye water taste to the soup was similar. Fortunately, the salt and MSG content was fairly low, thus the entire content was still bearable by my standard.

Although the cook added quite a lot of ingredients, as a whole, the ingredients had an incongruous throw-in-whatever-I-can-find-in-the-fridge feel. They tasted all right though, just short of exceptional. Overall, this noodle soup dish had an almost close to bland taste which was occasionally punctuated by the seasoned mock fish ball and fish cakes. It might have satisfied my requirement on that day, but I could not help having an unjustified feeling at the back of my mind for the four dollars price tag.

Amaranth Mini Pot Soup With Noodles, S$ 4.50

Amaranth (Yin choy) mini pot soup came with a solid fuel burner. Despite the massive set-up, the soup only made up about one-third of the entire assembly. Closing one eye to the portion size, I still enjoyed the clear and light soup that generally maintained the natural flavor of amaranth greens, with a subtle enhancement by the Chinese parsley garnishing. This soup dish shared almost the same ingredient list as spinach soup noodles. Personally I would have preferred the proportion of ingredients to skew towards the greens, after all the dish was called amaranth mini pot soup.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the noodles, which was supposed to be a side to accompany the soup, containing more than just noodles. That made me feel better paying S$1.50 for it. The noodles was soft as opposed to the firm elasticity that most people raved about after the Taiwanese started this QQ trend. One had to share my inclination towards foods that were easy on the teeth to accept this. Contrary to what you might see in the picture, there were more mung bean sprouts burying among the noodles. They added some crunchiness when eaten together with the noodles. Since I did not take spicy food, I requested for the chili sauce to be left out, and was left with a watered down version that consisted only of a blend of vegetarian oyster sauce, dark soy sauce and seasonings that I would rather not know about. Nevertheless, the overall taste was satisfactory enough to act as a contrast to balance with the relatively blander soup.


I may complain a lot about their pricing in my reviews. To be fair to them, there are cheaper items on their menu too. Perhaps as a punishment to my fussy taste bud on that day, I somehow chose the more expensive ones. If the weather of Singapore doesn't cool down any time soon, this might just be one of the places I frequent for lunch.

Address:190 Middle Rd, Fortune Centre #02-18
Opening Hours:Mon - Sun, 8.30 am - 8.30 pm
Rest on Wed
Bus Service:56, 64, 65, 131, 131A, 139, 147, 147A, 166
MRT Station:Bugis

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