[ Vegetarian Food Review ] A certain someone and I have been trying to incorporate more vegetarian fare into our diets — yes, me, voluntarily eating vegetables, and no, it’s not a parallel dimension — and since we had errands to run in town, figured there’s no better opportunity to finally dine at Real Food in Orchard Central. (Don’t worry, this was weeks ago before the rise in cases!)

Real Food has been a relatively popular brand amongst the local vegetarian circle. The food is quite reminiscent of 2nd-tier Chinese cities’ take on Western fusion (except with a hint of local flavours too), where traditional ingredients are made into much lighter, and more carefully curated profiles to fit the mindful diner. While such culinary style can get monotonous quickly without variations in taste intensity, it’s great for someone watching their diet.

By the time we arrived, it was past 8pm. But even then, we just managed to snag the last non-bar seats available. Unfortunately, our luck did not hold — most items were long gone, and after a good 20 mins of back-and-forth with the kitchen, we finally managed to cobble together an order. Welp.

Perhaps we were a little oversold by our peers, but neither of us found the food particularly memorable. So much so that it took me weeks to consider posting this because of how sparse my taste memory is!

The best item of the night was their Steamed Dumplings ($10.80). The little garden each morsel contained was vibrant in taste and texture, and the tamari really added a whole new dimension to the dish.

My main of Organic ‘Belachan’ Fried Rice ($10.80) fared pretty well too, with the substitute of fermented soy for dried shrimp doing a pretty good job of evoking a piquant fragrance not unlike belachan. Unfortunately, the entire thing was so oily I couldn’t get past more than half of it.

A certain someone’s Cheesy Miso Tofu ($15.80) wasn’t great, and didn’t leave much of an impression either. The batter-dipped fried cauliflower on the other hand, was utterly inedible: the poor florets were tarred in a thick layer of unseasoned, and oddly limp batter. Never again.