Vegan Malay Food Tasting Event – SAPAO

Malay food is well-loved in Singapore for it’s robust spices, creamy gravies and crisp deep fried fritters – but also known for it’s lack of veg*n-friendliness. Good news is, vegan Malay food may soon be a reality as my bodybuilder friend Hilmi is preparing to start up a food business. The venture is named Sapao, and they hosted their first pre-launch food tasting event last weekend.

Sapao’s tagline is “Mama’s Meatless”. The head chef is none other than Hilmi’s mother, who is also vegan thanks to Hilmi’s influence. Hilmi has been vegan for more than a year and his mother was also inspired by the benefits, especially health-wise. Once from a Malaysian kampong (village), the dishes she cooks has that homely kampong taste that’s a gem in our world of fast food and ready-made-meals.

Here’s a short interview of Hilmi on Sapao, his inspiration and goals:

What made you want to start Sapao?

There’s a general misconception that vegan food is tasteless and food that has meat tastes better. Here at Sapao we want to change that and reintroduce plant-based foods to Singapore.

We believe it’s not about the meat that makes food tastes good but a robust mix of spices or rempah (spice paste) that cause the dish to stand out.

As for the replacement of meat it doesn’t matter if it’s soy, pulled jackfruit, or whole foods. What’s important is the dishes taste great as a whole and everyone loves them.

How long has your mom been cooking these dishes?

She has been making the meat versions all her life since the kampong days till she turned vegan and started experimenting with plant-based alternatives. I went for 4 vegan potlucks with her cooking and the feedback we got were always great, that’s why we want to start this venture.

When will Sapao be launching?

Tentatively early next year, either a stall or delivery format.

Sapao’s Dishes – Starters:

currypuff
Handmade potato curry puff by Hilmi’s grandmother. I’ve never had homemade curry puff before, felt so blessed 🙂
gorengpisang
Pisang goreng – Banana fritters. Very crisp, not too sweet and oily.

Main dishes:

ikanassam
Ikan 3 Rasa – 3 flavours soy fish pieces. Sweet, sour and spicy sauce on mock fish. Usually I’m not a fan of mock meats, but this is crisp, soft inside with a good umami from the seaweed.
sambalgoreng
Sambal goreng pengantin – The meat version is usually made with beef, here tempeh and fried tofu were used instead.
lemakchillipadi
Lemak chilli padi – My favourite because the gravy was full of coconut and lemongrass fragrance. Stewed with mock chicken chunks and beancurd skin.
rendang
Rendang – A classic Malay dish, robust and intense due to the use of over 10 spices and coconut. Was cooked with mock beef chunks that day, but Sapao said they are planning to make a pulled jackfruit version for next tasting!

Sapao’s dishes are:

  1. Halal – Made with love by Malay Muslims.
  2. Very spicy – that’s the authentic way!
  3. Contains onions/garlic – A pity for religious vegetarians but I guess authentic Malay food, like Shandong food, can’t do without alliums.

Keep updated at their facebook and instagram, they may have another food tasting this month. They will be the first 100% vegan Malay food in Singapore and that’s a huge milestone for the local vegan scene!

Eight Treasures Chinese New Year Menu Tasting

Yes, I know Christmas still haven’t arrived and Chinese New Year is still a month away! But being Chinese, we all know a high level of kiasu-ness is needed to secure a table for the family reunion meal in local restaurants. It’s common for Chinese eateries to be fully booked for the first 2 days of Chinese New Year MONTHS in advance!

In the spirit of sharing the sgvegan love and promoting Chinese vegan food, Eight Treasures Vegetarian restaurant generously invited some fellow sgvegan instagrammers, including myself, for a 8 course Chinese New Year menu tasting. Instead of ending with the usual Chinese desserts, boss Zenna presented a spread of handmade, rustic Western desserts from Well Dressed Salad Bar (which is the sister cafe). Thanks to her, we had the best of both worlds! Here are all that we stuffed ourselves with.

032

Lucky Yu Sheng

Also known as raw fish salad, a staple at every Singaporean Chinese New Year table. The fun part is the mixing, which is done by everyone together at the table with chopsticks while saying prosperous phrases. The fish in the vegan version makes use of starch from konjac (a.k.a konnyaku), a root plant, which gives the chewy, springy texture similar to raw fish. My favourite part was the how the fresh veggie + fruit shreds and crisp crackers soaked up the refreshingly tangy, sweet plum sauce. A very appetizing start to a huge meal.

046

Signature Vegetarian Sharks’ Fin Soup

Shark’s fin is an absolutely terrible ingredient, and I strongly believe that it should be banned. The vegan version uses either a type of gourd or vermicelli to emulate the smooth silky threads. Strips of beancurd and sliced shiitake are also added for bite and chewiness in this smooth, hearty soup. Vinegar and pepper is a must, but add only after tasting the soup on its own to gauge if it is truly good or not. With such a good vegan alternative to a traditional but cruel dish, there’s no reason we should consume shark’s fin at all.

062

Fruit Salad Yam Ring

Another staple in Southern Chinese feasts because yam and roundness both represent prosperity in Chinese beliefs. Cubes of mixed fruits and tossed in vegan mayo, stuffed into a ring of crisp and spiced yam, sitting on a bed of deep fried rice noodles. Personally I prefer the traditional yam rings – filled with stir fried mixed veggies and mushrooms, because mixing sweet and savoury flavours isn’t always my cup of tea. This is an interesting Westernized interpretation that will appeal to children especially.

099

Pickled Radish veg. Fish

Fried soy seaweed slices sitting in a mushroom-y sauce, topped with umami pickeld radish and fried ginger. Usually Chinese mock meats don’t taste great, but this was good! The slices had a nice crisp bite on the outside, soaking up the sauce well and thus moist inside. None of the dry, over-flavoured MSG aftertaste of regular mock meats. The crisp ginger topping were an absolute delight, rich fragrance without the overwhelming spiciness.

079

Golden Veg. Salad Prawn

Us Chinese, are very literal and money-loving. Deep fried foods are very common in Chinese New Year dishes as the golden-brown chunks symbolize gold nuggets and wealth. These konjac prawns were crisp outside, soft and springy inside. The vegan mayo added an umami tangy sweetness, balancing out the oiliness of this deep fried dish.

093

Bai Lin Mushroom with Seasonal Greens

Because of the similarity in tenderness and juiciness, Bai ling mushrooms (a.k.a abalone mushrooms) are the vegan answer to abalone – which is another overpriced seafood placed on tables to show off the hosts’ wealth. Personally I’m very critical of the overall Chinese culture of showing off, placing too much emphasis on money and face value – some traditions are unnecessary and even harmful in the big picture of modern times. Here, I love the fact that they didn’t label it as mock abalone like other vegetarian restaurants will. Mushrooms are mushrooms, they aren’t pretending to be seafood!

087

Black Pepper Monkey Head Mushrooms

Monkeyhead mushrooms (a.k.a lion’s mane mushrooms) are widely used in Chinese meatless cuisine. The juicy meatiness is something that will appeal to the hardcore carnivores. Here, the chunks are tender and excellently infused with a strong black pepper sauce. Do take note that many vegetarian restaurants use processed monkeyhead mushrooms that contain egg, however Eight Treasures’ one is pure vegan!

051

Eight Treasures Beancurd

Fried silken tofu drenched in Chinese olive sauce. Umami rich with spinach and shimeji mushrooms for texture. The perfect companion to plain rice or noodles. Note that Chinese olives are not the same thing as Western olives used in pizza!

140

Longevity Heng Hwa Noodles 

A Chinese meal is never complete without a good serving of carbs! A lightly braised and moist wheat noodle dish that cleansed our palette after the savoury and heavier dishes. Topped with seaweed and roasted peanuts, this will go well with all the sauce heavy dishes. So if you’re not feeling like having rice, get this instead!

The savoury dishes were good, the desserts were absolutely amazing! Zenna of Well Dressed Salad Bar have been wowing the vegan community with beautiful creations since the start of this year. They are all Western style sweets that are tuned to Asian taste buds (just the right sweetness!). For those who say vegans can’t eat desserts, sorry, you gotta eat your words!

141

Rustic Plum Galette

A flaky crust with a tart plum filling with the sweet and sour flavours perfectly balanced. Look at how the glazing glistens without any use of egg whites!

177

Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls, BisTOFFEE cake, X’MAS Pomegranate AvoChoco Brownie

The cinnamon rolls literally melt in your mouth, the bistoffee cake had a lovely caramel flavour. The brownie was my favourite, fudgy and rich chocolate flavour with bites of pomegranate and nutty bits.

199

Forest Berries Frozen Brownie Pie

The smooth chocolate with a hint of hazelnut and tart frozen berries melts on your tongue. This captured the best of brownies, pies and berries in one dessert! Zenna certainly didn’t hold back on the amount of chocolate or quality of chocolate, and that should be the way!

201

Ice creams: Matcha WhiteChocolate, Mango Pineapple Madness, Raspberry WhiteChocolate, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

Every one of the handmade cashew-based ice creams were absolutely delicious. Creamy, rich and not icy at all unlike most people’s perception of vegan ice creams. My favourite is the matcha, high quality matcha was certainly used as there was no strong bitterness.

I can type more paragraphs about how great everything here was (especially the mind-blowing desserts!), but all I can say is, go down and try it for yourself! Bookings for 2017 Chinese New Year is already open at Eight Treasures. Do follow Well Dressed for and Eight Treasures for updates on events and desserts available. Well Dressed is located just below Eight Treasures and you can order food from both!

Well Dressed Salad Bar/Eight Treasures Vegetarian

  • Address: 282 South Bridge Road Singapore 058831
  • Tel: 6534 7787

 

 

Pink Warrior Charity Bake Sale

261

 

After the success of my first bake sale, Meraki Yoga kindly invited me to be part of another one! This time is for their Warrior In Pink fundraising event where 10% of proceeds goes to the Singapore Breast Cancer Foundation. Greatly appreciate my aunt and mom who lent a helping hand during the baking of 300 over cookies!

270

THANK YOU all who came down and enjoyed the cookies! Very happy that most people who sampled loved one or more flavours and thus bought them. People are usually fascinated by how cookies can be rich, chewy and moist without eggs, dairy milks and butter. Baking is simply a play on protein, sugar and fats which plenty of plants can provide. You just need to find the right plant ingredient to use in the right ratio! Here are the ingredients:

Cranberry Lemonade:

Wheat flour, grapeseed oil, organic raw sugar, coconut milk, Madagascar vanilla paste, baking soda, lemon juice, lemon zest, orange zest, sea salt, dried cranberries.

123

 

 

Rose coconut caramel:

Wheat flour, grapeseed oil, dark muscovado sugar, rose water, Madagascar vanilla paste, baking soda, palm sugar, coconut milk, sea salt, rose petals.

137

 

Double chocolate chip:

Wheat flour, grapeseed oil, organic raw sugar, cocoa powder, semi-sweet chocolate chips, black coffee, Madagascar vanilla paste, baking soda, coconut milk, sea salt.

151

 

Had a great time meeting fellow yogis, new & long-time veg*n friends! Thanks to your strong support, I donated more than 10% to the foundation. Also greatly enjoyed yummy cake loaves from Kai’s Fresh Bakes and homemade rose drinks & nut mylks from The Sweeet Stuff . (Nut mylk photo credit to Cheryl)

268

274

If you missed this event and would like some cookies, email me to make a cookie order!

First Cookie Bake Sale!

218

It was a great pleasure to have my first ever cookie bake sale at Meraki Yoga with my yogi buddy Yvonne as part of their 2nd anniversary flea market. After weeks of editing and testing recipes, (during which the most failed batch melted into puddles in the oven) I finally found a good basic recipe to base different flavours on!

Flavour 1: Salted coconut caramel (aka salted gula melaka, aka most labour intensive cookie!!)

Ingredients: Wheat flour, grapeseed oil, coconut milk, coconut sugar, molasses, vanilla bean paste, baking soda, sea salt.

212

213

Flavour 2: Spiced Oatmeal Raisin

Ingredients: Wheat flour, organic raw sugar, brown sugar, grapeseed oil, organic oatmeal, organic raisins, organic soymilk, ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, five-spice powder, vanilla bean paste, baking soda, sea salt.

200

 

Flavour 3: Citrus Sunflower

Ingredients: Wheat flour, organic raw sugar, grapeseed oil, organic sunflower seeds, organic soymilk, lemon juice, orange and lemon zest, vanilla bean paste, baking soda, sea salt.

192

 

If you would like tasty and healthy vegan cookies at your event, kindly email me.

 

EarthFest 2015

Today at Singapore’s first festival dedicated to sustainability, EarthFest! The brainchild of my friend Mike – check out his free recipes ebook! Really heartened to see a prominent city space dedicated to promoting conscious living plus environmental awareness on anything from upcycling to palm oil…with a backdrop of music, markets and a puppy adoption drive.

Some of the vendors from left to right sequence –

1) Team V, a running group full of herbivores actively participates in local marathons. One of their members, Rameshon, is a champion and record holder.

2) Singapore-Australian based vegan author, bodybuilder, personal trainer Luke Tan sending out good vibes!

3) The Dorsal Effect selling cute shirts and campaigns for shark conservation, not by screaming ‘boycott shark’s fin!!’ but providing shark fishermen with alternative livelihoods.

4) Natural skincare from Handmade Heroes – i love their lip tint!

5) Organic nom-able plants locally-grown by Fire Flies Health Farm.

6) Coconut ice cream from Brownice – made from brown rice milk. Yes, amazing right?

7) NONG by Edible Gardens helps people to grown their own food in land-scarce Singapore. Went to their workshop once and my fingers did get greener!

8) The Hunter’s Kitchenette handcrafted nut butters are a feast for the eyes too – good typography!

9) Drool-worthy handmade mooncakes from Delcie’s, the healthiest bakery in Singapore.

10) Bubbly Petz, pet supplies shop and grooming with a big conscience for all animals, humans and Mother Earth. Check out their pet grooming workshops too! (Photo from co-owner Shimin.)

I missed out on most of the savoury food as they were grabbed out by noon, gosh! You can visit the EarthFest site and see how sustainable, plant-based lifestyle movement is blossoming with new brands and initiatives adding to the scene’s vibrancy.

Loving Hut @ Joo Chiat’s Official Opening

I was invited to the new Loving Hut’s official opening last Saturday, along with fellow vegan bloggers and friends! For the unfamiliar, Loving Hut is an international chain of restaurants that started with a vision of serving vegan cuisine which are in tune with the Earth. As a long-time patron of them, needless to say I’m excited to see that they revamped themselves into a modern café with art, handmade furniture and a brand new menu full of Western and Asian delights.

image

Soy lattes and soothing music – every corner is an eyeful of beauty. There was even a harpist to set the tone for the afternoon.

image

As a design student I really appreciate the artworks themed on veganism, plus handmade and upcycled furniture!

For the launch we were served a specially prepared buffet.

image

Tofu tempeh pops and tomato olive bruschetta, a favourite due to the refreshingly savoury balance of tomatoes and herbs!

image

A spread of fluffy brown rice, spicy eggplant, tofu scramble, fruit achar, nyonya rendang crepe and lasagne.

image

Bali Bliss Soba Salad and Satay – so glad that these are on their regular menu! A humble salad is transformed by the sweet tamari sauce which is easily the best soy sauce I’ve tasted. Same for the satay, the peanut sauce uplifts the dish – thick and rich thus tasting like homemade, complementing the roasted chewy soy chunks well.

image

Down they went with cream of mushroom soup and non-alcoholic champagne. And the desserts, sago gula melaka jelly with a peach and banana crumble. Everyone was crazy over the crumble – buttery, soft, with moist peach and roasted banana pieces on a bed of smooth custard.. with hidden bits of caramelized sugar – ending the afternoon on a high note!

Loving Hut has done a truly amazing job rebranding and renewing themselves to cater to everyone, be it vegan, vegetarian or non-veg. Definitely one to visit and spend a whole afternoon chilling with loved ones. Looking forward to trying their regular menu, so you can expect an update then!

Address: 229 Joo Chiat Road #01-01, Singapore 427489. Operating daily 11am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-9.30pm. http://www.lovinghut.com.sg/