One of the eateries I’ve received most feedback urging me to visit over the last few months has definitely been Keat Lim. I have Lixuan, Wuxin and a number of other anonymous readers to thank for this suggestion. Keat Lim is one of those common general names given to vegetarian stalls. Other Keat Lim stalls can be found in Kallang, Whampoa and Bedok – As far as I know only one is the same owner. Which is at 4 Jalan Ayer.
Keat Lim Vegetarian Food
Location: Blk 108 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 (new location as of June 2016
Opening Hours: Daily 11.00am-9.45pm
First thing one notices about this stall is the sheer size of it. Keat Lim occupies a huge area in this coffee shop. It is so big they even have their own cashier counter. Of course, it is mostly true that bigger is not always better. But the size of their kitchen definitely helps them produce a large and varied menu (around 90 dishes in total). This stall is feverishly popular with Ang Mo Kio residents. If you’re planning to visit this stall during the 1st & 15th of the Chinese lunar calendar, then you could realistically be waiting 30-40 minutes for your food to arrive. We were there around 6pm (on a regular day) and waited about 20 minutes.
Here is a look at the front page of the menu. For those opposed to mock meat, you may find that there are not enough pure vegetable dishes on the menu. Keat Lim has a number of signature dishes – Customers rave most highly about their buttered frog legs, beancurd hotplate and claypot nyonya fish.
The reverse side of the menu. All items are void of egg.
First dish to arrive was Keat Lim’s famous Claypot Nyonya Mock Fish. Overall it must be said, this is an outstanding dish, and probably the best claypot curry I’ve eaten in Singapore. The fragrance of the curry sauce is wonderful, particularly elevated by the use of curry leaves. The long beans, ladyfingers and eggplant were fried prior to being added into the curry, which ensured they were cooked well and had extra flavour. The curry arrive bubbling hot, I even burnt my tongue slightly, as I couldn’t resist slurping some of the fresh curry sauce. Definitely a ‘must order’ dish. Note – Subsequently, I found this curry contains milk, vegans do not order.
Price: $8.00. 9/10
We then moved onto another of Keat Lim’s signature dishes, the Hotplate Beancurd. Once again, this dish arrives sizzling and bubbling violently, so customers really should wait 5-10 minutes before eating it. Most of the cze char dishes at this eatery come in two sizes – Regular ($8) and large ($12). The tofu in this dish is soft and melts in the mouth, whilst the vegetables (such as corn, peas, capsicum) are still nice and crunchy. The sauce base was good, but nothing exceptional. A good solid dish overall, but not equal to the sensational claypot curry.
Price: $8.00. 7/10
Lastly, we decided to pick one of their lesser known dishes, to get a more balanced opinion. This is their Ee-Fu Noodle. The chef in charge of preparing this job did an excellent job cooking the noodles. They were bouncy and fresh and went well with the mushrooms and leafy vegetables. Unfortunately, this dish falls short in lack of aroma. On the plate it looked amazing, smelt amazing, but ultimately didn’t have any smokey aroma whatsoever. The quality of this dish is fair enough for the price, but not one that I would consider ordering again.
Price: $3.00. 6/10
Conclusion – In this humble food bloggers opinion, Ang Mo Kio ranks as one of the best vegetarian districts in Singapore (runner-up only to Bedok and Little India). Keat Lim is a stall that would rank as one of AMK’s best vegetarian stalls, with the claypot fish curry especially blowing my mind. It is one of those stalls worth visiting numerous times, to allow yourself to sample more and more of the dishes from this heady menu. Keat Lim has definitely won me over as a regular customer.
Food – 8/10
Service – 7/10
Value – 7/10