♂ Vegetarian Sambal Balacan Chilli - Where to buy?

Shrimp paste or belachan (in Malays) is a common ingredient used in Asian cuisine and made from fermented ground shrimp mixed with salt. Belacan is used as part of the ingredients for sambal belacan, made by mixing toasted belacan with chilli peppers, minced garlic, shallot paste and sugar and then fried. Sometime it is toasted to bring out the flavour, but that creates a strong odour.

The advantage of having vegetarian sambal and balacan is we can have the same great taste yet do not need to endure that foul fermented shrimp odour and most importantly no animals were harm during the process. If you do not have time and patience to make your own vegetarian sambal balacan chilli, you may be interested in this brand. I have tried many brands of vegetarian chilli but this brand Tien Hee 喜  is by far the BEST that I swear by for many years and I truly hope that this company will go on forever! I think this is a small scale, traditional company thus they do not have website for reference, no problem, let me do the job!

Tien Hee Vegetarian Supply produces various vegetarian chilli paste as followed:
1) Sambal Ikan Bilis
2) Sambal Balacan
3) Sambal Chilli Sauce
4) Sambal Udang Kering (Shrimp Bites) 虾米
5) Nasi Lemak Chilli
Sambal Ikan Bilis - Tien Hee
I have tried all their pastes, above item 1, 2 and 3 are all sambal paste. My all-time favourite and all-purpose  is their Sambal Ikan Bilis (1), because there are some soya bites in the chilli paste and tastes so good. I love heat so I used it in cooking or as garnish for almost all my Chinese dishes, like rice and noodles, fresh spring roll popiah, steamed glutinous rice (Lo Mai Kai), oh my, the list is endless!

I used this Nasi Lemak Chilli (5) with vegetarian nasi lemak. Perfect! The different ingredient in this paste is the mushroom stem. One reader highlighted to me the soy bean oil is used as one of the ingredient for this product, so take note that the oil might be genetically modified since this is not an organic product.

Sambal Udang Kering (Shrimp Bites) 虾米 - Tien Hee
I like their Sambal Udang Kering (4) 虾米 too, it is like shrimp bites. I used as a condiment for my porridge.
I do not like very oily food including chilli paste, so I have this peculiar habit of draining out as much oil as possible from a new bottle and then refrigerate it. Take it out from the fridge 5-10 minutes earlier to let it soften before scooping it from the container. Do remember to use a clean and dry spoon when doing this to ensure freshness and prevent contamination or else the whole container will go bad. I use the drained chilli oil as part of the ingredient for cooking laksa paste and curry.
These are products of Malaysia but ironically the packaging is different for Singapore and Malaysia. Those sold In Malaysia are in plastic container, while Singapore's are in glass. I have tried both, they taste exactly the same. Only difference is the price!
Where to buy?
In Singapore
SGD2.80 for 250gm. Available at Vege-Country Enterprise.
Location: Tampines & Sungei Tengah in Singapore. 
You can purchase from them online too. 
☼ Also available at some vegetarian grocery stores.
In Malaysia
☼ RM3.80 for 250gm (Equivalent to about SGD1.50) Best Buy!
Available at Restoran Johor Vegetarian  柔佛素食馆
Address: 71 Jalan Keris 1, Taman Sri Tebrau, 80050 Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: Till about 7pm
Contact: +60-7331-6330
☼ RM4.00 for 250gm (Equivalent to about SGD1.60)
Available at Restoran Sayur-Sayuran Xiang Ji 香積素食
Address: 48 Jalan Sutera, Taman Sentosa, 810150 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: Till 10pm
Contact: +6012-728-6262
- You can have your meal (mostly local delights) here too while doing your vegetarian grocery shopping.

Learning a new cuisine is actually not that challenging, it is the process of understanding & finding the ingredients in your area which is tedious and time-consuming. Thus, I am most willing to share with readers (Singapore, Malaysia and international) where I get the most value-for-money ingredients that are slightly uncommon. See more of the great, affordable & healthy stuff I am always get.


  1. Veggie Belacan is good for people who suffer from sea food allergies

    1. Ya, free from animal cruelty too ;)