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.

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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/

Vegan in Suzhou

I visited Suzhou last month with course mates on a landscape architecture study trip. Beautiful rustic place – black and white houses lined with canals crossed by petite stone bridges. Suzhou’s heritage love their gardens and plants, evident from the famous Suzhou gardens to the numerous potted plants that dot residential streets.

 

Some of the street food we had:

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Sticky rice rolls coated with peanut powder and filled with anything from jam to lotus paste.

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Steamed goodies along Pingjiang Road, not all are vegan though. Luckily they do write out what it is, both in English and Chinese.

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I bought a couple of sticky rice cakes, the purple ones are taro flavoured rice cakes. The pig is actually a red bean bun! Lastly the cupped cake is soft black rice with taro topped with a hazelnut and that’s the yummiest!

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Fresh lotuses are sold for one or two yuan at many places on a pushcart. You have to break the shell, then peel the green coating off the seeds to reveal a white seed that tastes like a juicy almond.

Restaurants usually have a good selection of veg dishes like stir-fries or salads with rice or noodles. It’s still best to remind them not to use any animal oil, just as a precaution.

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Edamame, red capsicum, button mushroom and wood’s ear fungus stir fry. You’d find this fungus in Chinese dishes a lot, doesn’t look pretty but it’s full of minerals!

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Lightly stir fried potato strips. Unlike the Western potato dishes, this is not the starchy type but a very crisp one. You can find this in many places in China, not only Suzhou.

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Cold noodles are sold everywhere in the summer. Usually tossed in sweet vinegar, soy sauce and chilli oil, topped with coriander, sesame, crushed peanuts and sometimes shredded cucumber.

We had our last meal in a Cantonese restaurant at the airport.

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Wood’s ear salad for appetizer. The juicy fungus is tossed in a fragrant vinegar and bamboo shoots and served chilled.

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Soy milk tea! Full marks for presentation, and taste too because it’s rich and not too sweet.

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Stir-fried veggies in a fried taro ring. A common dish in Singapore Chinese restaurants too, yet this is better done than those I’ve had. What I loved most is that they used fried enoki mushrooms to line the dish, unlike the usual fried rice noodles which local restaurants use. Crunching on them is as addictive as potato chips!

Hope this helps you in your travels to China. It’s not impossible if you dine at restaurants, ask and communicate well 🙂