Peggy Loh ~ My Johor Stories: Vegan Victuals


Vegan Victuals

Friendly reminders on the menu cover
On the menu cover, two little icons – a red chillie and an oval shape with the word EGG in English and Chinese – are listed to guide customers in making chillie hot or egg-free choices.The line below reads, “Please inform us if you don’t take egg when you order,” so that the kitchen may be notified.

The next line may not have anything to do with your meal order but it will certainly give you peace of mind as you eat because it is a gentle reminder that asks, “Have you displayed your parking coupon?”

Four months ago when Fulin Xuan Vegetarian Food restaurant opened in a busy section of Taman Sentosa close to a bank, shops and clinics, regulars who used to patronise their original restaurant in Taman Sri Pelangi, started finding their way here.They are prepared to brave the heavy traffic and limited parking lots to come for satisfying meals served by Madam Tan Keok Yong, the cook in the original restaurant for the last four years.Tan, who has more than 20 years experience in cooking quality vegetarian cuisine recently started this restaurant with the help of her business partner, Patrick Lim.

Facade of Fulin Xuan Vegetarian Food Restaurant

“Four of us in the former team from the first restaurant are here,” said Lim, who is also the Restaurant Manager, clarifying that this is not exactly a new restaurant.The menu remains virtually unchanged but the décor in the premises is certainly new.Lim said he does not like food smells clinging to his hair and clothes so the incense he burns inside the air-conditioned restaurant will absorb smells and ensures that diners leave smelling the way they entered!

“There are different types of vegetarianism,” said Lim who went on to explain about the different vegans who abstain from onion, garlic, chives, mushrooms and animal products like eggs and dairy products. “That is why diners should let us know what they abstain from when they place their order,” he added.While most diners here are vegans for religious reasons, he said many non-vegans also choose to eat here simply because they want a change from their regular diet.

Four-Treasure Mushrooms in a claypot

Lim said non-Chinese diners enjoy their curry dishes cooked with choices of mock meat like chicken, fish or mutton because it is prepared in an Indian-Chinese blend of recipe that does not use coconut milk or any dairy products.He warned that these curries taste a little spicier because no form of milk is used to dilute the chillie and spices in this dish. But this added zing is what diners want when they pick a curry from their menu!

If you are into milder vegan food, the Lo Hon Chai served in a simmering claypot is a delicious mixed vegetable dish made with cauliflower florets, sliced carrots and baby corn, snow peas in their pods and dried tofu sheets. Another claypot recommendation is Four-Treasure Mushrooms – abalone, straw, button and enoki mushrooms – stewed in a rich herbal brew, rich with herby dong kwai and kay chi or wolfberry flavours.

Fried Oyster Omelet made with egg
and oyster mushrooms

As its name suggests, the fried oyster omelet is created with whisked eggs fried with slivers of oyster mushrooms.For those who love mushrooms, the fragrance from the fried egg and the chewy fiber from the mushroom legs make this dish very agreeable.A side of chillie sauce is provided if you prefer a few drops for added flavour.

Fried Mee Sua or wheat flour noodles, is a popular choice fragrantly stir-fried with lots of vegetables, mushroom and tofu slices and cute little curls of mock prawns.If you must have a “meat” dish, then try the steamed fish in minced ginger.The fish is created from flour and soybeans with an uncanny resemblance to fish meat texture and when eaten with generous amounts of spicy minced ginger, it almost tastes like real fish!

Patrick Lim presents signature dessert,
Mud Pie
Lim is particular proud of their signature dessert – Mud Pie – an ice-cream cake made without eggs.This delightful chocolate-coffee-vanilla dessert is drizzled with their own chocolate syrup creation, which is not sickly sweet but just right, and a generous dusting of Oreo powder.This comes highly recommended because once you have tasted it you will agree that melting this cool concoction in your mouth is the best way to end your vegan meal!

Fulin Xuan Vegetarian Food restaurant is at No. 54, Jalan Sulam, Taman Sentosa, Johor Baru.Open from 11am to 3pm and 5.30pm to 10pm on weekdays and throughout the day on Saturday, Sunday, the first and fifteenth day of lunar months and on religious special days.Tel/Fax No: 607 – 331 5319.

A version of this article was published in The New Straits Times, Johor Streets on 22 March 2012

Lo Hon Chai, mixed vegetables in a claypot

Steamed mock fish in minced ginger