Vegan Fine dining restaurant
Veganuary 2020

Veganuary Day 16 (Mighty Fine Dining)


It’s that time of the month again.
And when that time comes, I CRAAAAAAAVE noodles and soup!

Who’s with me on this?

Anyway, I’d just bought a whole bunch of vegan things from ‘Xin Yuan Vegetarian Good Trading’ so I’m going to cook them up for lunch!

Listen, if you wanna skip my boring ol’ leftover noodle lunch recipe, please scroll on down to Dinner for our double date at Japanese fine dining restaurant RIZU, featuring both the Vegan AND non-vegan Omakase menus!


Lunch

Made by Cait
Vegan Noodle soup with mushrooms and fake prawns
(and leftovers, always use leftovers wherever you can!)

Vegan noodle soup with mushrooms, fake prawns, and leftover veggies
Vegan noodle soup with leftover mushrooms, fake prawns, and leftover veggies.

I’m only starting to blog about my food adventures, so I could use some advice on how I can improve on recipe sharing. Please feel free to comment or connect with my directly via Instagram!

Dried shiitake mushroom and kelp Soup base
For the base of the soup, since I can’t use any animal bones or dried anchovies, I’ll be using some dried shiitake mushrooms and kelp from the Japanese supermarket DonDonDonki. Boiling dried mushrooms gives the soup a very umami flavour. You can also boil Celery, Carrots, and Onions to get a nice vegetable stock, but I AM PMS-ING AND IT STARTED RAINING AND I DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH IN MY FRIDGE OKAY CUT ME SOME SLACK UGHHHHHH!!!!! CAIT HUUUUUULK!!!!
Boiling the dried shiitake mushrooms to make the soup base
Anyway, start by boiling the sh*t out of the dried shiitake mushrooms.
Ingredients for vegan mushroom noodle soup.
Cut up your leftovers. I used…
  • King mushrooms
  • Enoki ‘straw’ mushrooms
  • Half a leftover carrot
  • one sad onion sitting on the shelf
  • mock prawns (in the bowl)
  • tofu squares leftover (dude they came in packs of 12! Why!?)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Sesame oil
  • Sesame sauce (Vegan. I checked the ingredients)
garlic cloves
Throw them garlic cloves into the pot, it flavours the soup when it boils to a mush.
cut onions
Throw the onions in the pot.
cut carrots
Then your carrots. As you can see, fridge burnt, but I won’t let it go to waste coz I’m cheap that way!
king mushrooms
Now throw your king mushrooms into the pot. They can stew for quite a while and never lose their texture so you wanna throw the in early.
enoki straw mushrooms
gently put your emoji mushrooms in there, and don’t stir too vigorously or these will just fall apart and you’ll never be able to fish them out later.
sukiyaki sauce
Add 4 tbsp of sukiyaki sauce. I read the ingredients on this one and it is completely plant-based. Also, I try not to add salt at first if I have to add any sauce. Less sodium is better for you!
white pepper
Also add a bit of ground white pepper, not too much, like 2 poofs into the soup or it will be toooooo spicy I swear to g*d I made that mistake once. Also, just in case you didn’t get it, 1 poof, is one light squeeze of the white Pepper bottle. HAhahha!
The vegan ingredients.
At some point you’re going to want to fish out the chunky ingredients: The carrots, mock prawns, king mushrooms, and enoki mushrooms to be specific. Put them aside on a plate so you can cook the noodles, dish them out, and then lay them on top when you plate.
broth and some ingredients
This was the broth that’s left. If you notice I added the kelp. Now it’s time to cook your noodles.
vegan Kombu Noodles
I used the rest of the packet of Kombu Noodles that I bought from an organic/vegan friendly food store at Peoples Park Food Centre.

This is the address: 32 New Market Rd, Singapore 050032

I honestly don’t know how long to cook them noodles for, but I taste test it all the time. For some reason, these noodles just stay super ‘Q’ retaining a really good bite (al dente). Which is why I love them so so much!

soy balls
Then I remember I had some dried soy puff balls, so I throw that into the boiling soup to cook. I think some hawkers just pour soup over them since they take no time at all to soften.
Plating homemade vegan noodle soup with leftovers
I’m not sure if you can see this, but first, I put the noodles at the bottom of the bowl, then I pour the soup on top, then I not so carefully just place the ingredients on top. I didn’t have enough soup to fill each bowl, but I was happy with how it tasted. You may drizzle some sesame oil on top for that extra sesame kick!

Now that that’s done, we have come to the highlight of the day!

Vegan fine dining

I had never heard of such a thing as Vegan Fine Dining. I guess it’s coz I’ve never really searched for such a thing. So Zenos and I decided to go on a double date with his best friend Ming and his girlfriend, at a fine dining Japanese restaurant with both Vegan and Non-Vegan Omakase menus!

For the purpose of showcasing all the food, I will do it in courses, alternating between Plant-based and Regular dishes.

Dinner

RIZU
39 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089617

Duxton Hill
We find ourselves at Duxton Hill, Singapore’s restaurant and bar district.
Duxton Hill
Down this alley we go, somewhere on the left next to the more popular Latteria, is a little fine-dining place called RIZU – a Japanese Omakase restaurant.
Rizu Japanese Fine Dining
You will find Rizu to the left of that street.
With a minimalistic interior, lovely ambient music and mood lights, we were ready for our double date with Zenos’ best friend Ming (co-founder of The Rocket Eyewear Company), and his wonderfully humorous girlfriend, Tanya.
Plant-based Omakase menu at Rizu
This was the plant-based menu, and I couldn’t wait to be surprised!
Non-Vegan Omakase menu
I took one look at the regular Omakase menu and knew that when I stopped being Vegan, I would have to come back here. Sea urchin, Mussels, Wagyu beef, crab risotto… I can’t guys I am dying right now.
Vegetable bouquet with tofu and yuzu cream.
Simple enough. And honestly as beautiful as it is, I wasn't exactly thrilled to eat a wedge of lettuce, until I actually ate that wedge of lettuce an the radishes. The chef seasoned this so well, everything complimented everything else. It no longer was just a wedge of green! It was a super refreshing, tangy yet balanced wedge of green!
Vegetable bouquet with tofu and yuzu cream.
Simple enough. And honestly as beautiful as it is, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to eat a wedge of lettuce, until I actually ate that wedge of lettuce an the radishes. The chef seasoned this so well, everything complimented everything else. It no longer was just a wedge of green! It was a super refreshing, tangy yet balanced wedge of green!
Foie gras pate
Foie gras paté.
It looked delicious. The feedback from friends was that the flavour was rich, and really creamy. I can only imagine, and look forward to coming back. But I was determined to stay Vegan for these 31 days, so I pushed on, happy in just knowing that my friends were having a great start to their non-vegan Omakase.
Corn with Pine nuts.
Corn with Pine nuts.
I know. This looks like JUST a portion of beautifully charred corn. But I can assure you, it is not. After my first dish tasting like a fresh piece of heaven on my palette, I knew I shouldn’t underestimate this, and I was definitely not disappointed when I dug in.
Japanese corn with pine nuts Omakase dish at RIZU fine dining restaurant
Trust the Japanese to surprise you like this. Not just your average corn now is it! I can’t even understand how this was being made! Inside the wall of perfectly charred kernels is a beautifully smooooooooth pureé with pine nuts, and the flavour/texture combination was TO DIE FOR! Smooth, crunchy, savoury, sweet, charred.. I was sooooo happy!
Japanese sea urchin (or uni) with cauliflower and caviar.
Japanese sea urchin (or uni) with cauliflower and caviar.
When our friends’ non-vegan dish came out, and our jaws dropped. I died a little bit inside even though my corn dish was so delicious… I knew their dish was going to be creamy, packed with a strong umami PUNCH! I mean it was punching me in the face visually already. I don’t know man. It took a lot of restraint not to reach over and devour it.
Thai-style Eggplant with Orange and Cumin.
Thai-style Eggplant with Orange and Cumin.
Zenos and I were really excited for this dish because it had eggplants and we looooooove them nightshades! It was beautifully plated, and the eggplant was soft yet had a lovely bite to it. The flavour of the quinoa really worked beautifully with the eggplants and the tang of the greens really livened the whole dish.
'Shinsyu' Salmon with Konatsu Citrus and thin slices of Daikon radish.
‘Shinsyu’ Salmon with Konatsu Citrus and thin slices of Daikon radish.
I threw my head back in anguish when this dish arrived on our friends side of the table. I LOVE sashimi, especially when it has a Japanese term in front of it that I don’t understand. It must be better, right!
Chestnut puree with pencil asparagus, tomyum oil, and red pepper broth.
Chestnut puree with pencil asparagus, tomyum oil, and red pepper broth.
Oh man, this was a delicious delicious dish. The chestnut puree was so smooooooth, the tomyum oil gave it a nice kick, and the freshness of the asparagus really put a smile on my face. This was delicious and I want to make it!!! Check out the pouring of the broth in the video below.
the plant-based menu: Chestnut foam with tomyum oil and asparagus at RIZU fine dining restaurant
That red pepper broth really brought the whole thing together…
Chestnut puree with tomyum oil and French blue mussels in red pepper broth.
Chestnut puree with tomyum oil and French blue mussels in red pepper broth.
This was the non-vegan version, and being a huge fan of mussels, I will be coming back for this version too (Yum!)
Beetroot with berry foam and pomegranate.
Beetroot with berry foam and pomegranate.
I am a huge fan of beetroot. It’s a great source of fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C, and as you can see I’m telling you about its health benefits because even though the chef prepared it impeccably, our non-vegan friends’ fish dish really just killed me. I LOVE fish. I am so damn jealous rn.
Yagara fish (cornetfish)
Yagara fish, with Kasujiru and Gyosyo fish sauce.
As a fish lover myself, I was dying to try this ‘Cornetfish’ dish. Known for its delicate texture, I can only imagine the ‘chefery’ required to prepare this dish, and my mouth watered just staring at my friends’ plate of fish.
Kuri-Kabocha pumpkin with Sakekasu sauce and truffles.
Kuri-Kabocha pumpkin with Sakekasu sauce and truffles.
Possibly the most delicious thick-cut slice of pumpkin I’d ever tasted. Smothered in Sakekasu sauce, and topped with fragrant truffles and those beautiful tiny tiny flowers! Each mouthful was a burst of the most incredible flavours. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted as many subtleties in foods until I became a Vegan, even for such a short period of time, I started tasting vegetables in a whole new way and it is indeed a mind-blowing experience I would recommend to anyone.
Hokkaido Wagyu Beef with bitter gourd koji coulis.
Hokkaido Wagyu Beef with bitter gourd koji coulis.
Straight up, this was where I very nearly lost my will to continue on this journey. I requested for them to bring out some rope to tie me to the chair, but obviously they didn’t have any. The restraint I had to muster just to stop myself from snatching the fork out of Ming’s hand would drive any normal non-vegan person insane! As you can see from this beautiful slab of perfectly marbled Hokkaido Wagyu steak, what I’d done was nothing short of a feat, if I should say so myself. Needless to say, if I don’t go back, you better take one for the team and have a damn good Omakase dinner with RIZU.
Mushroom Yaki-Onigiri with Konbu-Cha.
Mushroom Yaki-Onigiri with Konbu-Cha.
This simple mushroom-infused Onigiri was light, and flavourful. Check out the video below where the waitress pours in the beautiful Kombu (seaweed) cha (tea)… or really, soup.
Yaki-Onigiri with Kombu-cha
It looks simple, but it is definitely delicious.
Zuwaigani Crab risotto.
Zuwaigani Crab risotto.
Need I say more? Risotto bathed in what looks to be a thick flavourful broth, with generous bits of Snow Crab throughout, topped with a lovely chunk of God’s most delicious crustacean (to me at least)… Jealousy creeped in, but thank goodness for the robust flavour of my mushroom onigiri, I didn’t just reach over and devour their non-vegan bowl of decadence.
Cantaloupe sorbet atop some cut Tomato.
Cantaloupe sorbet atop a Tomato.
Yes I know what this looks like. Shaved ice. And it is! But it is the CANTALOUPIEST shaved ice I have ever tasted. Also, you can’t see but underneath it is a cut-up tomato. Not just any Tomato, but the juiciest, sweetest tomato I have ever tasted. So sweet that I finally understand why the tomato is both a vegetable AND a Fruit. Ok Tomato, you win. This dessert was not only healthy, but superbly refreshing. Hats off to the Japanese. They really know how to produce their produce.
Creme D'anjou (cream of pear) with Roquefort and Almonds.
Creme D’anjou with Roquefort and Almonds.
This was the 2nd last dish that came out for my non-vegan friends, and it’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!! ‘Anjou’ is a type of French pear, so this dish is cream of French pear with roquefort (blue cheese), topped with roasted almonds. I sniffed it. I want it. I can’t. So I didn’t.
Vegan and Non-Vegan French Lentil Dorayaki.
Vegan and Non-Vegan French Lentil Dorayaki.
French Green Lentil Dorayaki
Both Plant-based and Non-vegan sides got a version of this French Green Lentil Dorayaki (usually a Japanese pancake stuffed with red bean paste); one made with egg and the other without of course. But my eggless Dorayaki was surprisingly fluffy, light, and the French green lentils was creamy, smooth, deliciously fragrant, and honestly, you wouldn’t even have guessed it was entirely plant-based.

We even managed to get a photo with Head Chef Hiroshi Watanabe and Founder/Owner of RIZU, Takahashi Hisamizu San. It’s like taking photos with celebrities!

It’s clear to see that even fine dining restaurants are taking plant-based diets more seriously these days. Granted, Rizu’s Head Chef Hiroshi Watanabe merely wanted to showcase the natural flavours of the fresh produce he acquires from Japan, Singapore and around the region. But it really shines new light on the myriad of ways vegan/plant-based foods can be prepared and presented!

I am even more inspired to keep on my vegan journey just to see if the health benefits will outweigh my need for the taste of meat. Because we already know the positive impact that a plant-based diet can have on our environment and in reducing our carbon footprint through better eating habits.


Check back in for Day 17, where I discover VEGAN BUBBLE TEA at Fortune Centre, and a vegetarian/vegan cafe just behind Somerset 313, that serves all the local dishes we LOVE!

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