Located off of KLCC, across from the Corus Hotel, Dharma Realm offers a variety of cruelty-free, cheap, and delicious foods.
The Dharma Realm Guan Yin Sagely Monastery is a Buddhist temple dedicated to the goddess of mercy, Guan Yin. While the temple attracts worshippers, it is also known for its canteen that is nestled just behind the temple. Upon the recommendation of Mr. Farrow, I headed over to the canteen with Isabella ‘17 and Laura ‘17.
At first, I didn’t know what to expect. We had arrived just after 11—before the peak hour, when office workers around the area would start bustling in. The place had just set up, so the food was fresh and ready to go. There were different stalls offering an array of foods: from noodles to vegetarian bah kut teh or to a mixed rice buffet. The mixed rice buffet offered up to 30 different dishes that we could choose from. A large portion of the dishes offered consisted of tofu, however they did offer spring rolls and an abundance of steamed vegetables. Beware of being tempted into picking more than you can eat—there were signs scattered all around the cafeteria that discouraged food waste.
After filling my plate up, I made my way to the cashier, where I was surprised to find that our huge helpings of food cost less than 7.50RM each. I also decided to try out the iced barley and a rose water drink, 1.50RM each. Both beverages were an acquired taste, so I would recommend the free Chinese tea that they offer.
The meal was delicious. The flavours were rich, which was impressive, considering there was no onion or garlic added (Buddhists abstain from eating such foods, as they are believed to be aphrodisiacs). There is also no MSG added to the food, which is atypical to Chinese foods.
On my plate, I added some steamed tofu, cauliflower, bamboo shoots, and some curry pumpkin. I also piled on some tofu stewed in a thick soya sauce, which was slightly too salty for my liking, but was delicious with the steamed rice. My favorite piece was the faux meat. It was made of tofu, and disguised in a thick red sauce. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too far off from what a sausage tastes like. The texture was tough, and was complimented by the tangy, slightly sweet sauce.
The whole experience was an adventure. From the savoury meal, to the astoundingly low price, and to the general atmosphere, it’s a place that I’ll definitely return to. It’s cruelty-free Chinese food without the MSG and the guilt.