8, Smith Street,
Tel: 6225 9026
Smith Street is also known as the "Chinatown Food Street". This short street is closed to traffic ater 5 p.m. till 1 a.m.. Hawker stalls in the form of pull carts parked on the side while tables line the street, recreating a nostalgic image of the earlier days of Singapore. At the Chinatown Food Street, one can find most of the local hawker food fare such as Fried Kway Teow, BBQ Seafood and Ah Balling. Nevertheless, apart from these stalls, there are little shophouses that have a tendency to be un-noticed. I was grateful to my bro, Cedric, for introducing me to Ci Yan Organic Vegetarian Health Food (慈缘轩健康素食) , for a simple yet delightfully healthy dinner.
Before entering the shop, a chalkboard displays the menu-of-the-day. At Ci Yan, there is not fixed menu, there is always something different everyday. Upon entering the little shop, it is like you have just entered a small little teahouse in Tibet. Not that I have been to Tibet yet, but the interior decorations have a very strong Tibetan taste. Tibetan-styled Buddha statues, Mandalas, pictures of Tibetan lamas and smiling images of the Great Dalai Lama, together with the wooden tables and chairs packed closely, creates a cosy home-like ambience that welcomes not only devout Buddhists but non-Buddhists as well.
We were immediately welcomed by the friendly, English-speaking shop-owner, who then introduced to us the menu-of-the-day which includes: Brown Rice Set, Vegetarian Black Pepper Burger, Hakka 'Thunder Tea', just to name a few. I was watching the crowd that are coming in and I realised that there are a couple of Caucasians, who seemed like regulars. There were also many phone calls asking about the menu-of-the-day and making orders for take-aways. An adjacent table ordered a vegetarian yu sheng, which I believe was specially prepared since the Lunar New Year is over. The friendly service gave me a feeling that I am coming home to a big family.
Brown Rice Set
Vegetarian Black Pepper Burger
Happy Leap Year!