Monday, 27 June 2011

Zhai Ga Li Fan

Browsing through the photographs I took this afternoon made me recall why I even had my lunch at this stall in the first place. While I was at Albert Centre Market & Food Centre in Bugis, I walked past a man who was having brown rice with mixed vegetables for his lunch. The chunks of chrome yellow pumpkins on his plate left me mesmerized. From where he was seated, I deduced that he ordered his food from the nearby Zhai Ga Li Fan stall. Sure enough, I saw this dish among the selections of vegetables.

Operated by a group of Chinese ladies, Zhai Ga Li Fan does not bother translating the name of the stall, which literally means vegetarian curry rice. In the Singaporean Chinese context, curry rice simply means plain rice drizzled with curry gravy. However if you do not take curry, you can order other sides. At S$2.30, one is entitled to white rice and 3 dishes. Brown rice is also available at an additional cost of 50 cents.

The Food

Judging a book by its cover might not be a wise thing to do, but I was glad that the pumpkins did not fail to meet my expectation. Quite a common selection in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian mixed vegetables rice stalls, the pumpkins were usually stir fried. Dried shrimps was, in my opinion, unnecessarily added in the non-vegetarian version. Personally I enjoy the natural sweetness of pumpkin, thus I do not appreciate the way the shrimps taint it with its fishy staleness. At Zhai Ga Li Fan, the pumpkins had a clean sweet flavor. With a general lack of oiliness, I reckoned that the pumpkins were steamed rather than stir fried, which happened to be my preferred way of having this vegetable. In addition to the good taste, the pumpkins were extra smooth and creamy.

Unlike the pumpkins, the cabbage and bitter gourd were normal tasting, with the bitter gourd being a little oily. Still they deserved some credit for contributing their brilliant colors to the meal that had somewhat compensated the sloppy arrangement of the food items.


The way Zhai Ga Li Fan presents itself creates an illusion that their food is dirt cheap. If you think rationally, this is the market price of mixed vegetables rice. Still, with the price of practically everything inflating in Singapore, a meal that costs below $3.00 can be considered inexpensive. I can't say the food at Zhai Ga Li Fan is impressive, but it is certainly a good place to have a budget and quick meal for the people hanging around that area.

Address:270 Queen Street
Opening Hours:-
Bus Service:-
MRT Station:Bugis


  1. My favourite Vege stall whenever I am in the vicinity. Until I few months ago, it was only $2.00!Can't imagine that right in the Heart of the City with this ridiculously Low Price for 3 dishes and rice.

    Cheap and Good, trust me. Actually it is run by an elderly couple with the man as the Chef. Sometimes they have other ladies or his son/grandson to assist.

  2. Thank you for the information about the elderly couple running the store. Their food is definitely considered cheap in Bugis. If we are willing to forgo luxuries like air condition and nice ambience, we can get really cheap food since we do not have to bear the extra cost of operation.

    I love the way they cook their pumpkins. I wonder if this dish is available all the time.

  3. It seems that the elderly couple has sold this stall to a younger couple. But rest assured the dishes are nearly exactly the same and the quality and taste are almost the same. Good teacher, good student.

    Previously I shared with you at 01-75, the unit is now taken over by 'Wholesome Vegetarian Food'.