Everyone’s Cup of Tea

There’s a new vegetarian cafe in town.

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No, no… don’t brush me off just yet. I’m seriously telling you the truth. If you’re tired with the NORMAL Chinese and Indian vegetarian food, give Chayo a try for something UNUSUAL at reasonable price. Apart from being a vegetarian cafe, Chayo uses only organic ingredients in their food and also runs a yoga studio, just above the cafe itself in Kelana Jaya Mall.

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Together with Chris&Christine, Ivy Ai Wei, Citygal and another few friends, we paid Chayo a vist last month (thanks to Christine for the arrangement!), hence you will see a vast array of dishes we had that night. As for drinks, I personally like my Chayo Chocolate (RM 5.50, top left) with a little bit of spices that makes it rather interesting and the Orange Mango Delight (RM 4.90). Chris had the signature coffee with spice (top right). Both Mango Lassi and Coconut & Pineapple (bottom left and right) were rather ordinary though.

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We were served with mostly vegetarian snacks such as the Tauhu Sumbat (RM 4.50) and Tikki Chat (RM 4.50). The tauhu sumbat was nothing to shout about. The tikki chat was rather good; made from potatoes and topped with cubed tomatoes, onion and coriander which very much resembles bruschetta.

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I like their French Toast (RM 4.50) and Tofu Scramble (RM 7.90); the French toast wasn’t look or taste like the exact version as it was much darker in colour and served with molasses, but it was rather good. The tofu scramble was rather interesting (I think they tried to mimic scramble egg on toast) with mashed beancurd cooked with turmeric, onion and other spices and served on toasted bread.

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Another interesting stuff, the Bombay Toast (RM 4.50). We couldn’t exactly determine what they used to make it but it was a little bit salty, mushy and spicy at the same time. Aloo Chat (RM 4.50) is a savoury potato salad with homemade sauce, potatoes, spices and coriander.

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We also like the Mushroom Fried Rice (RM 6.50), served with homemade sambal. The Spaghetti Pesto (RM 9.90) was rather good as well but I would prefer a stronger basil taste to it. If you’re wondering, yes, Chayo does serve set lunch too such as the Indian set that comprised of capati with curry & fragrant cheese sauce, & spice tea.

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I have returned to Chayo with WMW, where she found the prices were very reasonable for a cafe setting and the quality of the food there (they uses real onion for their onion rings and not those frozen type, lightly seasoned with pepper and spices). For your information, Chayo also serves organic Hari and Yogi tea imported from Netherlands and America.

Many thanks to Gurujaswant, the marketing director, Paramjot, the marketing manager, and Vasu for the warm invitation and attending to our needs graciously throughout the meal!

Chayo Cafe
50-1, Kelana Mall,
SS6/14, Kelana Jaya,
Petaling Jaya.
(next to Giant Kelana Jaya and UNITAR)

Tel: 03-7806 2675
Business Hours: 9am to 9pm daily.

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Kechara Oasis, The New Age Vegetarian

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While many vegetarian restaurants in town prepares their food based on the local tastebuds and are usually cater to the lower to middle class range, Kechara Oasis brought vegetarian dishes a notch up the scale. The newbie in Jaya One, PJ serves vegetarian dishes with a touch of Tibetan, Chinese, Vietnamese and Nepali in a fine dining concept.

Oh, and before I forget, “Tashi Delek” everyone! That is an auspicious greeting in Tibetan 🙂

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CK and me were there 2 months ago with KampungBoyCityGal, Ivy Ai Wei and VKeong (finally able to meet up with Vkeong in person!) upon invitation from Kechara Oasis’ management. After we were ushered into a private VIP dining room, we were served the exotic Tibetan Butter Tea (RM 12.80 per litre) which is kept warm in a flask. Also known as “pho cha”, Tibetan drink the tea to provide energy and to warm their body in high altitude. We were warned beforehand that we might find the tea too exotic for our tastebuds but surprisingly, we found it to be very acceptable. The tea was smooth, buttery and a little bit salty at the same time. Best to have it while it’s still warm or the greasiness might get to you when it’s cooled.

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5 Mandala of Prosperity (RM 58 for small, top left) is a platter of skewered BBQ “pork”, butter mushrooms, “luncheon meat” and stir fried snow peas with lily bulbs. The BBQ “pork” were rather good. The Kechara Salad (RM 38 for regular portion) taste very similar like the Chinese “yee sang”, Vietnamese Spring Rolls (RM 13.80) and YuXiang Eggplant (RM 20). The eggplant with minced mock meat and bean paste was quite good and flavourful but IMHO (in my honest opinion), it’s rather pricey.

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I personally like the Tibetan Vegetable Momo (RM 21), which were firstly steamed, then pan fried till golden. The skin wasn’t that thick despite its appearance. The filling was rather bland but juicy. Try dipping them into the accompanied chilli oil.

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Everyone loved the Golden Pocket with Broccoli (RM 20, top pic) as the filling was juicy and flavourful; the Fish Head Meehoon (RM 20) was cooked in a healthier way by substitute vinegar with sour plum. I don’t quite like it as they also add in preserved vegetables in it. The level of sourness is adjustable upon request.

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Another crowd pleaser dish, Kechara Oasis’ Fried Chicken (RM 17) was a delight in every bite. The texture and taste replicates the real stuff very well and if I’m to be blindfolded, I don’t think I could tell it’s vegetarian. Kudos to the chef for the great job!

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Their vegetarian dessert were pretty impressive too. A simple one such as this Red Bean Banana Roll (RM 10) is perfect for those who wanted something not too sweet. The red bean layer compliments the banana slices very well.

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And lastly, some Crystal Fruit Dessert (RM 10). The rest find it tastes like custard inside but I think it’s made of mug bean (green bean).

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Overall, I find the dishes were rather okay, with some hit and misses but a refreshing new concept apart from the usual local-influenced vegetarian fare. The price might be on the high side, but considering that the profits goes to Kechara House and Kechara Soup Kitchen (a charity community programme dedicated to provide food and medical care to the homeless folk in Klang Valley), I think it’s worth every cents you paid.

Kechara Oasis New Age Vegetarian Cuisine
Unit 19-LG1, Level B1, Block D Jaya One,
No. 72A, Jalan University,
46200 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor.
Tel: 03-7968 1818
Fax: 03-7968 8118

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Vegetarian For Chinese New Year

It’s good to be back after the Chinese New Year celebration back in Ipoh. In fact, I can’t wait to be back to KL again as the weather there was horridly warm. Was surprised too as the streets were kinda empty and there was no traffic jam in most areas in Ipoh except when night falls in. Basically, there wasn’t much to do back home; eat, watch TV, sleep and repeat the cycle for 3-4 days.

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I didn’t have my first yee sang this year until 31st January, which was the sixth day of CNY. My family doesn’t practice the yee sang tossing tradition, so I only got to have it when I’m back to KL. A few of us went to this vegetarian restaurant called Ba Xian (Eight Goddess) in Kepong for a small CNY dinner gathering last week, so here’s my first yee sang for 2009!

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I think most restaurants came up with set meal during festival season to minimize confusion and maximize the serving time, so does this place too. We had a 6-course set dinner for 5 person, including yee sang. The Superior Soup, resembles shark’s fin soup consists of glass noodle, sliced vegetarian ham, crabmeat stick (it’s vegetarian!), bits of fu chuk (substitute for egg swirl) and some minced mock meat (chicken perhaps). Flavourful, not starchy and brimming with ingredients.

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The Mock Herbal Chicken is a little weird for me as I couldn’t distinguish the “chicken” and its other ingredients (the “chicken” doesn’t seem alluring enough) but the texture is very much alike the chicken breast meat. The herbal taste was mild and sadly, the herbal (evangelica roots or dong guai, ginseng etc) were more than the chicken and they’re not edible! (well, not really edible for most people).

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The Butter Prawns tastes more like curried prawns, no hint of butter at all (but then, butter is not a vegetarian food, I guess) and they looked like some corn crackers (think Twisties) with slightly chewy texture.

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Mock sweet and sour chicken was not bad; the deep fried mock chicken were still crispy despite drenched in the sweet sour gravy.

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And finally, some stir fried vegetables with mock meat which was pretty ordinary but the ginger smell was a little strong. The mushrooms were very, very tender.

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Ba Xian Vegetarian Restaurant
12,14,14-1, Persiaran Mergastua,
Kepong Baru, 52100
Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 03-62778052