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Review: Vegetarian Food @ Soul Kitchen, Puchong Jaya

Among Buddhist lay-followers, the first and the 15th day of each month according to the lunar calendar is when we are supposed to observe a vegetarian diet. This practice is rooted in Chinese tradition and Buddhist belief, as in Chinese culture, these are important days that mark the new and the full moon. In modern times, these beliefs are not always followed – but the fam and I try to eat vegetarian food whenever we can on these days, as well as on special occasions such as Chinese New Year and Wesak (Buddha’s birthday).

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Puchong is home to quite a number of good vegetarian restaurants, such as Pure Heart, I Mushroom Culture, and VLite Cafe. We recently went to check out a relatively new place, called Soul Kitchen, in Bandar Puchong Jaya. This is their fourth outlet, as they also have shops in KL and Cheras, Selangor.

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I don’t quite get the style they are going with – there’s a chandelier in the middle of the resto, but the tables and chairs look simple and the wall decor is minimal. But it’s cosy and clean, and that’s the most important thing.

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Most vegetarian restaurants in Puchong serve Chinese cuisine, but Soul Kitchen also carries Western dishes the likes of pizzas and pastas, alongside the usual rice and noodle fare. It takes a good amount of creativity and skill to make vegetarian dishes on par with their meat-version counterparts – and I’m happy to say that Soul Kitchen delivers with aplomb. Prices are very reasonable too.

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Moo’s order of Stir Fried Sang Meen (one of their signature dishes) came in a generous portion, loaded with cabbage, carrots and a side of tempe (fermented soybeans). We could immediately tell it was full of wok hei from the smell of the dish when it came to the table. (Wok hei literally means ‘breath of the wok’, a term used in Chinese cooking to describe food cooked over a big flame and high heat, which gives it an intense, smoky flavour). Really enjoyed this one! The noodles were al dente, the dish was well flavoured, and of course, what really set it apart was the wok hei. It’s one of the things that differentiates Chinese cuisine from Western cooking. They don’t call it the cuisine of flames for nothing!

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I had a late breakfast, so I opted for a non-carb plate of fried mushrooms. Most places will just serve up battered fried mushrooms with either mayonnaise or tomato sauce, but Soul Kitchen’s version comes topped with loads of vegetarian floss. The mushrooms were perfectly fried, with a crispy exterior and moist insides, and the floss tasted remarkably like chicken floss.

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Pops had the Nasi Lemak. You can choose from three options for the accompanying main dish, namely curry, rendang or petai (stinkbean). It was also served with a fried egg, keropok, peanuts, sambal and a crunchy snack that looked remarkably like anchovies. It’s amazing how creative chefs can be when it comes to making vegetarian food that is as close as possible to meat or seafood, both in taste and appearance.

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Last but not least was the Brah’s pan mee. The noodles had a good texture, and Moo enjoyed the soup as she said it tasted ‘natural’ and didn’t seem to have MSG.

So that’s one more vegetarian food place to add onto the list! Even if you’re not Buddhist, this is good news for those living in the area who practice veganism or vegetarianism for a healthy lifestyle.

SOUL KITCHEN (PUCHONG JAYA)

15, Jalan Kenari 18b, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 10.30AM -9.30PM (Daily)

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Review: ChimiChurri @ Jaya One, Petaling Jaya

[Update: This outlet has shifted to a new address at: 7, Jalan Datuk Haji 1, Taman Tan Yew Lai, Kuala Lumpur]

There’s often a misconception that healthy food doesn’t taste good – but I think it’s really because people don’t make it well.

Enter ChimiChurri @ Jaya One, PJ, which offers wholesome, warm meals at affordable prices. Popular among the lunch crowd (judging from the long lines during our visit), the place serves up customisable sandwiches, bowls and wraps ala Subway, where you ‘build’ your own meal from a variety of available proteins, carbs, homemade sauces and condiments.

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You first choose your base – sandwich, wrap or bowl – then a protein, such as grilled chicken breast, cajun chicken thigh, dory fish fillet, salmon fish fillet or beef brisket. You can also opt for vegetarian. Moving on, select the veggies you want: sweet corn, lettuce, tomatoes ,onions, green pepper, cabbage, cucumber, carrots and more. Carbs offered include brown rice, couscous and pasta aglio olio.

Add on condiments, such as mushy peas or sweet potato mash, before finishing it off with chilled or warm sauces, including chimichurri (for those who aren’t familiar with it, this is an Argentinian sauce that is typically served with meat, made from parsley, garlic, olive oil, oregano and vinegar) and local sauces such as lemongrass, curry and rendang.

At the cashier, you can ask for the soup of the day (we went on Pumpkin day!)

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My bowl of Dory Fish fillet, aglio olio pasta with couscous, all veggies minus green peppers, sweet potato mash and some chimichurri, butter sauce and rendang.

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I was surprised at how well everything came together, although the chimichurri sauce was overshadowed by the rendang. There was the al dente bite from the pasta, the grainy texture from the couscous, the crunch of fresh veggies and a burst of sweetness from the corn. The dory fish was also prepared well, with slightly crisp edges. I thought I wouldn’t like it very much because I’m not a big veggie eater, but the sauces masked the leafy, green taste typical of salads.

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Lunch crowd.

If you’re looking for a healthy lunch option that won’t break the bank, ChimiChurri is a good choice! Prices start from RM10.90. They also provide free lemon and apple-infused water.

CHIMI CHURRI

Lot 100.1.037 First Floor, The School, Jaya One, Jalan Universiti, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Opening hours: 9AM – 8.30 PM (Mon-Sat) or til 7PM (Sun). Note: Basic breakfast meal served at 9AM, but main meals will only be served from 11AM onwards.

Tel: 03-7666-8088

Review: VLite Cafe, Bandar Puteri – Healthy + Tasty Vegetarian Food in Puchong !

I’ll be honest with you: I don’t like vegetables. As a kid, the only reason I ever managed to eat my greens was because the Moomikins forced me to. When I lived outside in my college years, I sustained myself on a diet of potato chips, baked chipolatas and bacon from Tesco (they were super cheap in the UK, where I used to study).

The only veggies that I can tolerate are broccoli, as well as raw lettuce/green coral.They should always be accompanied by some meat and sauce to reduce the leafy taste. I don’t  get this at home unless I cook for myself because the Moomikins, being the quintessential Asian, thinks that raw, uncooked vegetables will cause ‘wind’ in the body. How true this is remains to be seen lol.

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Anyway, the fam enjoys vegetarian food once in awhile (bad news for my greens-hating self), and for our weekend lunch, we went to this place called VLite in Bandar Puteri, Puchong. True to their plant-based theme, the cosy and neat-looking cafe has green walls paired with sleek wooden furniture.

Now, there are quite a number of vegetarian restos in Puchong, but they’re mostly Chinese-style. VLite, however, offers fusion dishes like burgers, pasta and wraps! Yes, fellow meat eaters, food science has evolved sufficiently that they can create all sorts of mock ‘meat’, some of which closely resemble the textures and flavours of real meat!

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Bro literally has fried rice wherever he goes, I’m surprised he hasn’t gotten sick of it already.

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Pops had the Carbonara Pasta. Since some vegetarians don’t eat garlic and it’s such an essential item for fragrance, I was surprised to find that the dish was quite aromatic and had a nice, creamy consistency. The sauce had just the right thickness and was not too starchy, and the coating on each strand was even. It came topped with fried ‘chicken’ – deep fried battered and breaded mushrooms. Can’t say it tasted like chicken, but it was pretty good.

My VFC (vegetarian fried chicken) wrap order was spot on. Portions were generous but it felt light enough that I could indulge without the guilt. As you can see, the wraps were filled up with a compact layer of fresh lettuce, crunchy cucumber for texture, tofu and a ‘fried chicken’ centre. The chicken was the same as the kind they used on the pasta, with a crispy crumb crust. Mushrooms are usually used to make the mock meat since the stringy texture resembles strips of meat. To bind everything together, they used a dash of sesame dressing. This was one of those moments I didn’t mind having vegetarian food, since the sauce + ‘meat’ reduced the earthy taste of the veggies.

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For snacks, fried mushrooms. They weren’t oyster mushrooms but the server couldn’t name it in English and only told us it was ‘gai bei gu’ (literally chicken drumstick mushroom). They really did look like tiny drummettes! The batter was smooth rather than breadcrumbed, but it gave a crispy layer of protection to seal the moist juices within. A bit on the oily side but still tasty nonetheless.

Prices and portions are reasonable for their price. So the next time you’re thinking of vegetarian food, hop on over to VLite! I mean, if they can make a vege-disliker (hate is too strong a word) like me give them the thumbs up, you best believe they have some good stuff. 🙂

VLITE CAFE 

 22G, Persiaran Puteri 1, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia. 

Opening hours: Tues – Mon (730AM – 930PM), Sun (9AM – 9PM)

Phone: 03-5879 8798

 

Juice D Fruitz, Setiawalk Puchong

C and I went out for lunch the day before her birthday. She was feeling unhappy over her old job and some ex-colleagues, so we found a cosy little cafe called Juice D Fruitz at Setiawalk, Puchong to have a meal and let her vent out her frustrations.

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Despite being a Saturday, the place was quiet, which allowed us plenty of personal space to talk without worrying about disturbing other guests.

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The place specialises in cold, pressed juices – from pure fruits to a mix of veggies, each with a particular ‘function’ such as kidney cleanse, detox,etc. They come served in unique glass beakers: perfect Instagram and hipster photo opps.

I had (left) Fruity Berry – a combination of strawberry, raspberry and a couple of other berrylicious fruits. The result tasted like liquified strawberry preserve, with generous chunks of berries in them. It was quite sweet, but to my liking. C had some sort of tropical mango thingy. Which was also good but also very sweet. The servings were big though.

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We also had a plate of creamy carbonara pasta to share. This was very cheesy and creamy; got overwhelming after more than a few bites.

Overall, I liked their juices, but the sweetness made me wonder if there was added sugar in it and if they were really ‘healthy’, since they pride themselves as a healthy juice bar. Portions were big and prices were affordable.

You can also get bottled pressed juice to go.

Juice D Fruitz

D-03-G Persiaran Wawasan

SetiaWalk, 47160 Puchong.

Selangor, Malaysia.