Our reader, Sam, has alerted us of a new vegetarian restaurant opening in People’s Park Centre. We do not know what to expect and decide to give it a try. New vegetarian restaurants do not just open every month. Thus we are curious as to what this restaurant will be bringing to the local vegetarian scene.
People’s Park Centre is quieter than its bigger sibling at People’s Park Complex. Many shops in the shopping mall focus on the travel business. We only expect a boutique restaurant at a corner spot. To our surprise, we find Xin Man Yuan Vegetarian occupying a large space on the third floor. The restaurant is newly decorated and furnished, when compared to the tired looking shops in the vicinity. Out of the 25 tables, only several are occupied at any one time when we are dining there. It is clear that Xin Man Yuan can host big events such as weddings and birthday celebrations for vegetarians. This is great news for vegetarians as such venues are few in Singapore.
One look at the business card reveals that Xin Man Yuan and Miao Yi shares the same management. The waitress confirms our observation and adds that the only common dish between the two restaurants is the vegetarian suckling pig. As we have already eaten the signature dish at Miao Yi, we decide to try the other dishes from the ala cart menu. Xin Man Yuan also offers a variety of options including lunch buffet and steamboat.
Vegetable Crystal Dumpling
The crystal dumplings look pretty. However one bite reveals its shortcoming immediately. The crystal dumpling skin is thick. Also, the restaurant did not add more seasonings for the fillings consisting of spinach and mushroom, resulting in a bland taste.
Fried Beancurd with Spinach
We find the spinach well cooked, though nothing special to write about. On the other hand, the beancurd is deep fried just right on the outside, while retaining its tenderness inside.
We absolutely love the salad prawn. The deep fried prawns, together with the salad dressing, are tender and soft. This is unlike similar dishes elsewhere, which are stiff as a result of deep frying.
Thai Style Tou Fu
We expect a mildly spicy dish. It turns that the Thai sauce is really spicy. The fried tofu is well done as we have seen in previous dishes. We like the dish but not the large amount of water we drink to overcome the spiciness.
Lo Han Chye
The restaurant should get this dish right easily. However the vegetables are not thoroughly cooked and taste stiff.
Kung Bao Mushroom Head Mushroom
From earlier dishes, we observe that the chefs are skilful in frying food with flour. However, we find much more flour than monkey mushroom, making the mock meat taste rubbery.
Chilli Prawn With Man Tou
The gravy is similar to vegetarian shark fin soup, except that it is slightly spicier. There are plenty of gravy for us to drip the Man Tou. The gravy goes well with the rice too.
Why will the management of Miao Yi open a branch in Chinatown where there are many vegetarian eateries in the vicinity? We think that it is attempting to make up for a lack of big indoors venues for events requiring vegetarian food. The current restaurants, which can handle big vegetarian events (like Lotus and Greenland vegetarian restaurants), are not conveniently located to any transport hub. Eight Treasures and Happy Realms, which are nearby, has limited spaces. Xin Man Yuan Vegetarian is also offering lunch buffet and steamboat set to appeal to diners with different tastes. We are confident that Xin Man Yuan will prosper and become a popular destination for many local vegetarians.
The operating hours and location of Xin Man Yuan Vegetarian can be found here.
We walk to Xin Man Yuan Vegetarian easily from the Chinatown MRT. Just find the exit for People’s Park Centre.