A recent health scare made me take a more serious relook at my carnivorous diet. Not that it is all bad but adding a little more vegetables and fruits in my diet would be ideal – so my doctor says. Of course, being a proud cosmopolitan, I needed to find an exciting option, which is how I happened upon Shiang Hai. The restaurant serves up to 70 types of vegetarian dishes to cater to the health-conscious and modern diner. As expected from Herbaline’s new F&B arm, the approach to vegetarian cuisines is imaginative with a Japanese flair. The star of the menu is the vegetarian sushi variants made from fresh, colourful and all-natural ingredients.
We got the party started with a sushi birthday cake, a wondrously majestic spread of vegetarian sushi made with glutinous rice, offering a lighter texture for you to keep on indulging without feeling guilty or bloated. Be sure to place your order prior to your visit. The outer layer (which uses beet root to create its natural dark maroon colour) uses proteinrich foods like avocado. The savoury and fresh flavours come through from the perfectly balanced portions of vegetarian floss and chopped red cabbage. On the second outer layer, which is naturally coloured with lavender, offers more distinctively herbaceous profile. As you move to the inner santums, you might find the textures to be crunchier with generous portions of lettuce, cabbage and more. Minimal use of freshly made sauce allows you to appreciate the natural flavours and keep your palates engaged. The spread easily fed the 10 pax at the table and offered a satisfying aftertaste.
Looking around, almost every table had a plate of Blue Sky Sushi which was understandable given the use of fresh local mango cuts, seaweed, cucumber, carrots, red cabbage and other vegetables enveloped in butterfly pea flower-dyed glutinous rice. A truly appetising dish. Only rivalled by the Holy River, a sushi roll (with skin made from chee cheong fun to wrap the crispy and satisfying jicama, seaweed and red cabbage. We couldn’t get enough of the sweet and
tangy mango, so we had to get a plate of mango sushi to satiate our craving. Other than the vegetarian sushi, the restaurant also offers a wide variety of Asian dishes that are equal in visual appearance and exciting flavours. One of these is the Signature Shiang Hai Mushroom Curry, a robust and thick curry that is best enjoyed with a side of Shiang Hai’s incredible Mixed Petai Fried Rice or Hometown Fried Rice.
This vegetarian restaurant has surpassed expectations and even made me excited about adding more greens to my diet. Ambiencewise, it is the perfect setting to enjoy a wholesome meal with rustic furnishings and ample space to cater to large lunch crowds. However, it does get a little packed during lunch hour, so be sure to call ahead to book a table to avoid disappointment.