PETALING JAYA, Sept 7 — When we asked for chap fan heroes recommendations, readerYow Hong Chieh not only submitted Restoran Hong Hui in his neighbourhood, he also included Restoran Welcome Vegetarian.
The vegetarian place is just down the road from Restoran Hong Hui. Yow selected this place as he enjoys the dishes served here.
He elaborated that, "I like this place because they have a decent selection of vegetables and they don't rely on deep-fried gluten as much as some of the other places."
It's also not just a lunch place as they also serve breakfast. He explained, "The noodles in the morning are good, and they also have daily specials like nasi lemak, pan mee and lui cha as well as an assortment of snacks and buns."
When we visited, we discovered from the restaurant's owner Chong Wai Come that she is related to the family that runs Restoran Hong Hui.
The camera shy 68-year-old currently manages this place together with her two children. Her foray into vegetarian food started about 22 years ago. She had decided to become a full-time vegetarian since it was a healthier choice.
In the early days, she operated a stall selling vegetarian food at Restoran Hong Hui. About eight years ago, she moved here when the space was made available.
At her place, the food they serve is completely meat free. They also don't use any garlic or onions. However, ginger is used in cooking.
Chong is essentially a self-taught cook, picking up the skills to make the steamed buns from reading cookbooks. When we visited, she was busy finishing the lotus-shaped buns by spraying them red and pressing a leaf wooden block for the green leaves.
You will be spoiled for choice here as they offer a huge selection of eats. Business starts from 7am where you can select from various fried noodles for breakfast.
There's fried loh shue fan, meehoon, hor fun and Hokkien mee. You can also get fried macaroni, spaghetti and yee mee. There's also mee Siam and nasi lemak. Just help yourself to pickled green chillies or sambal to pair with your fried noodles.
They also offer a fluffy omelette filled with different ingredients. The day we visited, it was a bitter gourd omelette. Other ingredients include choy poh or preserved radish, cabbage and long beans.
If you're not a fan of noodles, there's various fried snacks to nibble on like radish cake, yam cake and steamed rice rolls stuffed with vegetables.
You also have various steamed buns that include tai pau and curry puffs. There's also different varieties of porridge including a chee chap chuk, one served with pumpkin and peanuts.
The lunch spread starts early as food is available by 10.30am onwards. Select from about 40 dishes, where you get a mix of vegetables, beancurd dishes and deep fried items.
You can have white or brown rice. Some even prefer the nasi lemak rice if there's any left over from breakfast.
Apparently a crowd favourite is the butter oyster mushrooms. The lightly battered mushrooms are crispy and lightly tossed with the creamy sauce. It's stir fried with curry leaves to give it more flavour.
Chong tells me they don't replenish the dishes throughout the day. If you come later, you can grab their snacks or the special dishes.
On the first and fifteenth day of the lunar month, as many are vegetarian only for those days, they increase the varieties to about 50 plus dishes.
It's the busiest time for the eatery as many flock there for their vegetarian eats. If it falls on Sunday which is usually their rest day, they will remain open.
You also have various specials that rotate each day. For instance, there was prawn mee on Tuesday. You can also get mee Jawa on Saturday and chicken rice on Monday and Friday.
There's also different types of tong sui. Every day you can get red bean and green bean soup, which are popular. The red bean soup (RM3) is well prepared with the distinct aroma of dried mandarin peel.
What I really relished was their Tuesday special tong sui, which was bubur cha cha (RM3.50). This was jam packed with sweet potatoes, yam, black eye beans and sago pearls with coconut milk.
It's not that easy to get a good version of this dessert and it was definitely one of the best I have tasted. I also liked how it wasn't too sweet.
For other specials, look out for black glutinous, fuchuk barley, mak chuk or wheat porridge and sweet potatoes tong sui.
Restoran Welcome Vegetarian, 53, Jalan SS22/11, Damansara Jaya, Petaling Jaya. Open: 7am to 4pm. Closed on Sunday and selected public holidays. Tel:+6012-2633008.