I found myself scrolling through the older posts on my blog recently, and realised that it has been almost five years since I originally reviewed Divine Realm. For those who have scanned through my Top 10 Vegetarian Eateries list, you will know that Divine Realm has been on that list for years. People from near and far come to this eatery, which is nestled away in the Hougang heartland. If you’re visiting on weekends (or even worse – 1st & 15th) then be prepared to wait a while before being served.
Divine Realm Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: 501 Hougang Avenue 8, #01-630
Opening Hours: Daily 7:00am-9:30pm. Closed Wednesday
IMPORTANT UPDATE (10/10/2016) – Divine Realm at Hougang no longer serve their famous tze char dishes. They are now only serving handmade noodles and other dishes, due to complaints by residents in the above blocks. However, Divine Realm have opened a second outlet under the name SHU VEGETARIAN at Jalan Kayu, which will sell all their famous tze char items.
Over the years, the menu has remained much the same. There is an impressive selection of over 100 dishes to choose from – These include ramen, dim sum, Western and more. This establishment has for years been known for their mesmerizing handmade noodle dishes. Unfortunately, due to a change in their staff, the noodles are no longer handmade. But the owners have assured me that they will do their best to bring back their signature handmade noodles in the future. As a consolation, the noodle dishes are still excellent – Even if the noodles are not handmade.
If you’re visiting Divine Realm, it is worth taking a peek at the signboards at the front of the eatery. These posters highlight special dishes (which can’t be found on the menu).
Here I am posing with the dedicated boss of Divine Realm. Not only is he the owner, but I would regard him as one of the most naturally gifted chefs I’ve met in Singapore.
Fried rice is one of the most world renowned Chinese food items, yet it is one that takes specially acquired skill to master. The Tom Yam Fried Rice from Divine Realm was certainly decent, with undertones of Thai tom yam flavour, with perfectly cooked rice. I did, however, find it was lacking in that essential wok aroma, which should shimmer throughout any good fried rice. By no means a poor dish though.
Price: $3.50. 7/10
After chatting away with the owner, I found out that sometimes customers request for specific dishes to be made, and usually these wishes are fulfilled. This Sambal Petai with Eggplant is an example of one of those dishes which can’t be found anywhere on the menu, but was simply request by a customer one day. Amazingly, this was my favourite dish of the evening. The eggplant, which was deskinned and fried prior, had a sensational slightly crisp outer structure, and a delightful creamy center. The dish is not too spicy, and the textural firmness of the nutritious petai beans match well with the eggplant. Any customer can specifically request for this dish, and I definitely recommend doing so – It is amazing.
Price: $10.00. 9/10
One of my personal favourite dishes, this is the Claypot Vinegar Pig Trotters. Overall, this is one of the better versions of this classic confinement dish that I’ve tried. I loved the black beans and fungus used, but I was less of a fan of the mock meat used to replicate the actual trotter. The hero of the dish is the sauce though – Without question the best vinegar trotter sauce I’ve indulged in so far. It was an ideal mixture of zesty sweetness and comforting warmth from the ginger. Another dish I would highly recommend ordering.
Price: $10.00. 8/10
One of the signature dishes of Divine Realm is the Yam Basket. Personally, I’m not a big fan of yam basket, and will never order when eating at Chinese restaurants. But this version did allow me to learn to appreciate this dish a little more. I loved the diversity of ingredients that could be found inside the basket – Carrots, capsicum, cashews, monkey head mushroom and shitake mushroom could all be found inside. The yam was fried delicately, with the yam itself being creamy and slightly sweet.
Price: $15.00. 8/10
Here I am with the lady boss, and all the kind-hearted staff of Divine Realm.
Conclusion – Being a food blogger, it is a prerequisite that I travel around
different eateries week in week out. Due to nature of this
aforementioned lifestyle, I seldom become a regular customer at any
places. Having said that, I have been eating regularly at Divine Realm
for almost seven years now and always find myself returning here. I would be willing to make the argument that Divine Realm serves the best Chinese food in Singapore – It is practically flawless. If you haven’t tried this place yet, don’t deprive yourself of this gem for much longer.
Food – 9/10
Service – 9/10
Value – 8/10