Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fan Cai Xiang Vegetarian Restaurant @ Taman Desa

Madam Gan spent two decades as a seamstress, making everything from 'baju kurung' dresses to maternity clothes - she even sewed together her daughter's wedding gown. But her passion for fashion caved in to her love for food in 2005, when she & her husband launched a restaurant to champion their family's vegetarian ideals. This year, that restaurant - Fan Cai Xiang - marks its tenth anniversary with a new milestone, moving to a sprawling location, still within Taman Desa, that's spread over three levels, outfitted with furnishing & artwork that Madam Gan sourced from her travels through mainland China & Taiwan. 

These days, Madam Gan is less involved in Fan Cai Xiang - her heart is in charity initiatives, & the restaurant requires scarcely any regular attention, resting in the capable hands of its head chef, popularly nicknamed 'Ah Liang,' who visits China at least once each year to seek fresh inspiration for the outlet's encyclopaedic, 160-item menu; there really is something for everyone - rich, comforting stews to robust, creamy curries to rousingly crunchy fried fare, painstakingly prepared to no-MSG principles.

Fan Cai Xiang's kitchen marries inventiveness with proficiency to create triumphs of texture & taste - crisp-skinned, tender-bodied eggplant, shaped like a fish, swimming over a savoury sauce of Marmite & mushroom stock; dense pumpkin fritters, served warm in dim sum baskets; silken bean curd with natural, nuanced flavours, made from scratch at Fan Cai Xiang; & mock 'scrambled eggs,' captivatingly aromatic with Asian basil, mostly at crowd-pleasing prices of RM14-RM34 per portion.

'Char siu' is one of Fan Cai Xiang's most popular orders, with a serving on nearly every table in this bustling restaurant, though the 'siu yuk' is less successful. We love the curry mee, soaked in a broth that's sweet but not cloying, while the kuey teow with bitter gourd is a firm favourite of Madam Gan's daughter. Food that'll please fans of Chinese cooking - even non-vegetarians.

 Simple pleasures: Fan Cai Xiang offers a soup of the day; if it's ABC soup when you visit, order it - a nourishing, soul-restoring broth with mock chicken meat, potatoes & corn. Wash your meal down with carrot & apple juice, then stop to contemplate the maxims on the restaurant's walls & perhaps purchase some take-home food products - proceeds from those go to the Tzu Chi Foundation. Many thanks to Fan Cai Xiang for hosting our meal here.

Fan Cai Xiang (New Location)
36, Jalan 1/109F, Taman Danau Desa, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, lunch & dinner. Tel: 03-7981-9812

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23 comments:

  1. I love vegetarian food, should check out this place for sure!

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    1. Baby Sumo: it might be a good place for a weekend family lunch! :)

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  2. We tried once when it was at the old location.
    We were wondering where it has moved to, now I know. :P

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    1. CK: heheh, it's just next to The Hawker street now :)

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  3. My favorite vegetarian restaurant!! Favorite has got to be the brinjal and char siew!!

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    1. Jessica: the brinjal's good enough to order two servings :D

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  4. There's so much variety in vegetarian cuisine. I must visit this one.

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    1. The Yum List: this place does justice to the spectrum of chinese cuisine :)

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  5. Ahhhh!!! Your bitter gourd! LOL!!! Instant rice? Interesting! I sure would love to try. Hmmmm...to have is a misery? Try to have not and see... Sobssss!!!!

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    1. Suituapui: heheh, yeah, some of those sayings are debatable :D

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  6. The decor is beautiful...light and airy, and the presentations are fantastic! :)

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    1. Linda: i'm glad you like the look of this place and its food :D

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  7. For some reasons, i actually like vegetarian char siew :P

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    1. Ken: i think you're right ... it's good! :)

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  8. I didn't know vegetarian food can look so good! ;D Liking those dishes that have bitter gourd in them. That eggplant dish really resembled a fish!

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    1. Contact.ewew: yeah, we had quite a few fans of bitter gourd at this table ... and the eggplant/fish dish definitely caught all our attention :)

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  9. This restaurant has an awesome menu with lots of choices. They have several nice soups and rice dishes, and they also serve the best char siew by far...great flavor and a nice crunchy texture. I am vegetarian and whenever I go to other vegetarian restaurants and order their char siew, it is never as good. I even tried the one made at the famous Loving Hut in Hong Kong and I was soooo disappointed.
    My fiancee (who is non-vegetarian) and I love going to Fan Cai Xiang...the restaurant is really welcoming and we never feel out of place (even though we are both expats). We eat there at least twice a month!

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    1. Angel: glad to hear all your positive words on Fan Cai Xiang ... hope you continue to enjoy your meals here! :)

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  10. Have you guys tried their vegetarian bak kut teh and pork belly soup? they are super good!
    But need to call them to pre-book as my parents told me, I went there with my family long time ago.

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    1. Moto: thanks for the recommendation! we haven't tried those dishes ... will remember to make a pre-order next time :D

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  12. Full of flavour. Absolutely delicious. Superb food!

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