During my last trip to Singapore, I simply had to drop by one of my favorite restaurants. I discovered this place when a family friend took me there on one of my previous trips.
I do enjoy it when I am taken to a pure vegetarian restaurant by my hosts, but I enjoy it more when ordinary, everyday restaurants offer vegetarian options. In this way, my companions have the option of eating non-veg if they really want to and I also don't feel like I am imposing on them. What is important for me, more than the food, is the companionship and good conversation.
The Eastern & Northern Dumpling Restaurant on East Coast Road has pure vegetarian options which include that of their famous dumplings. Now, I really have no idea how their normal dumplings compare to their veggie counterparts since during the few times I went there, my companions all decided to order all-vegetarian dishes too. Their dumplings, I was told, are farily popular and the vegetarian ones I've tried were superb.
For this particular trip, my friend and I had two orders each of different varieties of their steamed vegetable dumplings, a bowl each of Homemade Noodle Soup and barley drinks. To these, we added an order of shredded potatoes. The last time I had a dish similar to this, which I believe to be whole potatoes, shredded, and served raw, was when I was in Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China. The version here, in comparison, looks like it was quickly stir fried with slivers of bell pepper and cucumber.
All the dishes we had were wonderful. The dumpling filling was really tasty, definitely authentic tasting, and the wrapper was the perfect consistency. The noodles, broth, and all the vegetables that topped it were really fresh and subtly but tastefully seasoned. Our gastronomic experience was all the more heightened by their black vinegar and homemade chili sauce. I have since tried to replicate the chili sauce back home, and I'd like to think that I have successfully captured its flavor.
I have to mention as well, that I appreciated the system by which orders are placed, which was probably borne out of the fact that the attendants don't have a good command of the English language. For each dish on the menu, most of them with pictures and english translations included, unique numbers are assigned. A slip of paper, or rather a form, with numbers printed on them is then handed to you, each number corresponding to a dish on the menu, whose description is in Chinese. Using the menu and the numbers assigned to the dishes as reference, you then tick each item you are ordering on the form and hand it back to the attendant. I like this mode of taking orders since the probability of error is greatly reduced, usually attributed to the order-taker. Because I could recognize Chinese characters, and being the auditor that I am, I naturally first double checked the accuracy of the numbering on the order slip against the items on the menu, and they did match perfectly. This system would definitely work anywhere in the world, eliminating much of the frustration attributed to mistakes in order-taking.
The ambiance of the place is not exactly chic, but the place is airconditioned, clean and comfortable. And although the place is not exactly of the hawker feel, it still is unmistakeably Singapore.
I believe that the owner is some famous basketball star in or from China, as the posters all around the place suggest. Being basketball illiterate, of course, I couldn't recognize him from Adam. He was tall, though. Hehe.
We managed to spend a total of S$27.20 (roughly US$18.00) that day, which is not bad for a Singapore resto.