Arguably the most shining example of how phenomenal Chinese cooking is the concept of ‘tze char’ 煮炒 cooking.  Whether you are eating in
restaurants or hawkers, tze char food is the most common form of Chinese
food preparation you are likely to find in Singapore. 
The entire coffee shop filling with smoke as the Jing Yi master cooks another tze char dish.
But what is it?  ‘Tze char’ is a very fast and simple way of preparing made to order dishes, almost entirely coming from the wok.  It is a style of food which suits any occasion, whether it is a gathering, family meal or individual consumer.
In my opinion, ‘tze char’ is best eaten at night, in a sweaty (air conditioning ruins the feeling), somewhat dirty, loud hawker centre or coffee shop.  
Although ‘tze char’ food is plentiful in Singapore, it is actually incredibly difficult to find good quality tze char.  The main reason for this is the skill needed to produce it.  Although in terms of ingredients and time, tze char is very quick and easy to make.  The issue comes with wok skill, which is incredibly difficult for even seasoned chefs to master.  To give you an idea, out of over 450 eateries I’ve reviewed in Singapore, I have only met three chefs that I would say have mastered the skill of cooking tze char in a wok.  The key to any good tze char is what is known as ‘wok hei’ 镬气, which is essentially the smokey aroma of the fire being absorbed into the food.  Do not confuse this with charring/burning the ingredients, a highly skilled wok hei master should be able to get that addictive smokey flavour without burning/charring the ingredients in the wok.  It is not easy, but it is possible.

So, if you want great tze char vegetarian style in Singapore, where do you go? Let me show you:-
1st 我的新加坡镬气王 Jing Yi Vegetarian
Amazing flavour from this Stir Fried Sweet Potato Leaves ($6.50), crisp and smokey.

My ‘king’ for this post is the owner of Jing Yi Vegetarian, this is one of the most popular vegetarian stalls in the West of Singapore, and it is easy to see why.  If you arriving during the peak eating period (especially on Friday and Weekends) you can expect to wait for over an hour for your food to be served.  His skills are incredible, with easy dish having that beautiful wok aroma shimmering throughout it.

This stall is known for their hor fun, but any vegetable or rice dish that goes through the wok should be a guaranteed hit.

Full Review:


Tze Char Mastery Score:

Jing Yi Vegetarian
Location: Block 359, Bukit Batok West Avenue 5
Contact: 91811413/90669185
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 2pm-9pm.  Closed Monday.

2nd 我的新加坡镬气女王 Lin Lin Vegetarian

One of the signature dishes at Lin Lin is their awesome Dry Fried Hor Fun ($4.00)

It was at this humble stall in Bedok that I really started to become addicted to wok hei Chinese cooking.  The Cantonese auntie running this stall sets her wok to an unbelievably high temperature, and when the ingredients hit the wok, it is an explosion of smoke.

Unfortunately, recently the Cantonese auntie who owns the stall retired from the kitchen, and is now employ and overseeing hired cooks to do the food, while she manages the rest of the stall.  This ultimately has led to the quality of the food dropped, as the cooks just can’t match the skill of the auntie.  Nevertheless, the tze char food is still awesome, and definitely worth visiting to try it out!

Full Review:

Tze Char Mastery Score:

Lin Lin Vegetarian Delights
Location: Blk 412, Bedok North Ave 2, 01-114, Bedok
Contact: 62427010
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 10.00am-10.00pm. Closed Monday.

3rd Divine Realm Vegetarian

The glorious lip-smacking Sambal Petai with Eggplant ($10.00)

In terms of overall food quality, I personally rate Divine Realm as the best vegetarian Chinese eatery in all of Singapore.  There is a reason why this eatery ranks in 2nd on my Top 10 Vegetarian Eateries in Singapore – The food is simply magnificent.

The menu is large and diverse, and whether you want breakfast, lunch or dinner they will have a dish that you will surely be secretly craving.  I used to eat at this eatery on a weekly basis, and have really almost never had a bad dish from Divine Realm.

One of my favourite dishes of all time in Singapore is the Sambai Petai with Eggplant from Divine Realm, but I also highly recommend their Olive Fried Rice and vegetarian Sweet and Sour Pork.  You won’t regret visiting this eatery.

Full Review:

Tze Char Mastery Score:

Divine Realm Vegetarian Restaurant

Location: 501 Hougang Avenue 8, #01-630 (take note Divine Realm’s tze char is now being served at their Jalan Kayu SHU Vegetarian outlet instead, due to complaints by residents at Hougang)
Contact: 63872058

Opening Hours: Daily 7:00am-9:30pm 

4th Keat Lim Vegetarian

Thick, spicy, rich and so flavourful – Eat this Claypot Nyonya Mock Fish with a plate of white rice and you will be in heaven ($8.00)
Vegetarian options are plentiful in Ang Mo Kio, but quality wise, they range from average to rubbish.  There is one exception to that trend, however, which is Keat Lim.  This large stall specialize in tze char evening cooking, which attracts a large crowd on a nightly basis.
They have a very large menu, with dishes to suit any fancy.  The dish that stood out the most to me was the astonishing claypot fish.   For vegans, take note that milk is used to cook this curry, therefore you can ask the staff if they can replace the cows milk with coconut milk for you.
Full Review:

Tze Char Mastery Score:

 Keat Lim Vegetarian Food
Location: Blk 108 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 (new location as of June 2016
Contact: 96932138
Opening Hours: Daily 11.00am-9.45pm