Saturday, 5 November 2011

Wang Jiao Vegetarian Food

First of all, I have to thank justiceandequality for bringing this vegetarian food stall to my attention. This is not the first time he/she suggests places for me too write about. Unfortunately, his/her previous recommendations did not match my schedule, so I had to put them on hold for the time being. This time, I tell myself I have to make a trip down to Haig Road Cooked Food Centre, where Wang Jiao Vegetarian Food is.

Haig Road Cooked Food Centre, which is within walking distances from Paya Lebar MRT station, is renowned for housing some of the more notable Malay Stalls in Singapore. As a vegetarian, Halal food is out of question. Walking past these famous stalls nonchalantly, I was focused on finding Wang Jiao Vegetarian. Selling mostly local hawker fare, this auspicious sounding (Wang Jiao literally means prosperous corner) stall has a much longer menu than what is featured on the red signboard. More choices is always a good thing.

The Food

Fish Bee Hoon Soup, S$ 3.00

Fish Been Hoon Soup can be broadly classified into two categories, namely fried fish and boiled fish. Even before I turned vegetarian, I preferred the latter for its cleaner taste. Whenever I dine at hawker centres, coffee shops or food courts, it disappoints me to see the vegetarian stalls there selling only the fried fish version. Occasionally, I requested for the mock fish to be boiled, only to be met with rejection (And sometimes scoldings if I was unlucky). Guess how delighted I was when the stall owner of Wang Jiao Vegetarian told me that she did not fry the "fish" anyway. It might have been laziness on her part, but I was not complaining.

One of the reasons for deep frying the mock fish was to keep its structure intact. Unlike the ones made from yuba (beancurd skin) which crumble easily on biting, the mock fish used at Wang Jiao were a little springy in texture, allowing them to maintain their shape in the boiling soup. Frying also creates the fishy flavor, thus bringing this vegetarian dish closer to the original. Otherwise they taste just like seasoned tofu. At least this was what I gathered after trying the fish bee hoon soup at Wang Jiao. Since I have grown used to a meatless diet, I treat meat analogues as a food product on its own rather than a substitute of meat. Whether the mock fish tasted like real fish or not was of no concern to me, but it might be a big issue to those who simply could not get over with meat.

Due to the clarity of the soup, I deduced that milk was not added. Its artificial mushroom flavor probably came from the mushroom seasoning. Although there was nothing unique or prominent about this S$3.00 dish, I appreciated its unassuming simplicity.

Dumpling Noodle, S$ 3.00

In order to save time and cost, I noticed that many budget vegetarian eateries resort to using store bought dumplings. When you pay peanuts, you get monkeys, hence the end result is a cooked ball of dough containing gooey TVP (Textured vegetable protein) over-seasoned with pepper. At least this was what I expected from the dumpling noodles soup which hardly made an impression on its arrival. It did not help that instant noodles was used as the staple (Okay I admitted I chose that because I disliked yellow noodles, the only alternative.)

My disappointment took a 360 degree turn after sampling the dumpling. The gooey TVP still existed in the filling, but its proportion was scaled down to make way for the coarsely chopped cabbages and carrots, thus making the dumplings less cloying. While I could not guarantee that the dumplings were made in-house, there was a homemade feel to it, because the fillings tasted like they had been freshly stir-fried before being wrapped into the dough skin. Instead of the usual strong peppery flavor, the filling derived its flavor from the sweet savory gravy.

Much of the goodness of dumpling noodles soup came from the dumplings themselves. Otherwise, it was no different from the previous dish, which contained the same set of ingredients, namely choy sum, carrots, canned mushrooms and sliced mock meat. Even the soup base was the similar. The heavy use of mushroom seasoning had certainly lent an unnecessary hand in weighing down the standard of dumpling noodles soup dish.


Although I do not consider the food at Wang Jiao Vegetarian Food to be of very high standard, I find it credible enough for the price it is charging. Most of the items cost S$3.00, with the exception of Prawn noodles soup and kway chap, which go at S$2.50.

Address:14 Haig Road #01-35 Haig Road Cooked Food Centre S(430014)
Opening Hours:-
Bus Service:2, 7, 13, 26, 154, 155
MRT Station:Paya Lebar