Yi Xin Vegetarian: Delicious vegetarian cai fan that’ll make you forget you’re eating vegetables

·4-min read

My companion first brought me to Yi Xin Vegetarian located in Chinatown back in 2020 when I was sceptical about vegetarian food, as I’ve never had good vegetarian food before.

Through her recommendation, we went down, and I was blown away by the food. It felt like eating home-cooked food although I had never eaten vegetarian cai fan before. We went back again and the food was as delicious as the first time.

Yi Xin Vegetarian – A picture of the storefront
Yi Xin Vegetarian – A picture of the storefront

Yi Xin Vegetarian is located a short walk away from the Chinatown MRT, and is found along Temple Street. As a landmark guide, if you look out for the Peranakan Tiles Gallery, Yi Xin Vegetarian is directly opposite it. 

Pro-tip: Go down around 11.30am to get freshly cooked food and seats. When my companion and I went down at around 11.30am, it was still relatively empty, but by 12.30pm there were no seats, and you could see dejected customers walking away in search of another place for lunch.

What I tried at Yi Xin Vegetarian

Yi Xin Vegetarian – A picture of our meal
Yi Xin Vegetarian – A picture of our meal

To order, it’s like a cai fan store, where you can point to the dishes you would like to have. They have both white rice and brown rice, and my companion and I opted for the brown rice as vegetarian food goes well with it.

Be sure to add the curry sauce onto the rice first before getting any ingredients, so that the curry will be able to soak into your rice and your ingredients on the top will not get soggy. 

After selecting four dishes, my total was S$5.20, which was not that bad. My companion had three dishes, and it came up to S$4.40.

Yi Xin Vegetarian – A picture of fried kale chips and broccoli
Yi Xin Vegetarian – A picture of fried kale chips and broccoli

The first dish I had to get were these deep fried vegetables covered in batter. There was a variety of vegetables, such as kale chips, broccoli, carrots and even enoki mushrooms. The kale chips definitely stole the show as they were crispy, slightly salted, and gave a nice crunch when bitten into. 

While the kale chips, carrots and enoki mushrooms were all considered one dish, the broccoli was actually considered another single menu item. I was excited to try it, but it was slightly overcooked, thus it tasted a bit too mushy for my taste.

Yi Xin Vegetarian – A picture of the fried enoki and fried carrots
Yi Xin Vegetarian – A picture of the fried enoki and fried carrots

The enoki mushrooms were crispy, and tasted mostly of the batter. The carrot was crispy on the outside due to the batter, while the vegetable itself was soft on the inside, which gave a nice mix of different textures.

Yi Xin Vegetarian – A picture of the braised tofu
Yi Xin Vegetarian – A picture of the braised tofu

The tofu with nuts tasted like the braised nuts in soya sauce that Chinese restaurants sometimes give as appetisers. It was delicious, seasoned well in the sauce, and the tofu was braised to perfection and had a good bite. 

The sauce was savoury, which went with the sweetness of the tofu and the nuttiness of the peanut. The peanut was soft, which is testament to the dish being cooked skilfully.

Yi Xin Vegetarian – A picture of angle beans
Yi Xin Vegetarian – A picture of angle beans

These odd-looking vegetables are called angle beans, and they were stir-fried and had a crunchy texture. Despite their interesting appearance, they were actually flavourful and added a herbaceous depth to the meal.

Yi Xin Vegetarian – A picture of the curry cabbage and tau pok
Yi Xin Vegetarian – A picture of the curry cabbage and tau pok

The star of the show had to be the curry sauce. For me, curry sauce is a cai fan staple. I have to watch the uncle drench my cai fan with curry sauce, then I will be satisfied.

Yi Xin Vegetarian’s curry sauce was a typical Chinese curry, cooked in the style of chicken Chinese curry, without the meat of course. The curry had some spice, which was easily balanced out by the other food items on the plate. 

There were slices of tau pok and some cabbages within it. The tau pok had soaked up all the curry goodness, and every bite of the tau pok caused the curry to burst within my mouth, which was delicious. The cabbage was on the firmer side which I appreciated, and was slightly sweet with a good crunch. 

All in all, the curry is definitely a must-add to your dish, as otherwise the vegetarian cai fan might be too dry. 

Final thoughts

Yi Xin Vegetarian – A picture of a plate of food
Yi Xin Vegetarian – A picture of a plate of food

As with cai fan in general, the beauty of the meal is eating all the various ingredients together in one mouth, especially with the rice soaked in curry. While each individual ingredient is delicious, the harmony of all the different flavours together in one spoon is what I love about cai fan

Also with cai fan, it’s sometimes hard to accurately pinpoint how much a meal is. However, the meals here generally cost around S$5, which is a steal at the price for the flavours and for the part of the city you are in— Chinatown. Every time I’m in the area and looking for a hearty affordable meal, I will be sure to pop down.

Expected damage: S$4.40 – S$5.20 per pax

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Yummy Nyonya Peranakan: Family-run hawker stall selling authentic Nyonya cai fan at Market Street Hawker Centre

JOFA Mee Pok opens 2nd outlet at Chinatown, with soft-shell crab and tobiko mee pok

The post Yi Xin Vegetarian: Delicious vegetarian cai fan that’ll make you forget you’re eating vegetables appeared first on SETHLUI.com.

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