Singapore isn’t just a place to find a little bit of vegetarian food, it is a place where you can enjoy vegetarian food. Forget those trips where finding more than 2 veggie options would count as an achievement. In Singapore, we are talking about a melting pot of south-east Asia. The melting pot exists because expats and immigrants from neighboring Asian countries, which Singapore prides itself for hosting, bring with them their delicious and unique cuisines. This diversity in people and cuisines allows travelers to truly experiment and enjoy eating new and unique vegetarian dishes.
The major cuisines of Singapore in terms of vegetarian food can be grouped into Chinese, Indian, Malay/Thai, European/Western, and Singapore’s famous hawkers. A new type of cuisine increasing in popularity is the vegan cafe. So, here is your guide to some of the best places to enjoy sumptuous vegetarian food.
1) Indian food galore
Singapore has a ton of expats from India. You can find not only the typical North Indian food, but also tons of South Indian staples as well as traditional thalis. Indian food is vegetarian, extremely flavorful and diverse in taste, texture as well as colour. The most acclaimed Indian restaurant in Singapore is the Gokul Vegetarian Restaurant. This place has more than 500 dishes on the menu, and the food is not restricted to just Indian cuisine. They even have Malay, Chinese and other cuisines. But Gokul is best known for its Indian dishes. Another interesting fact about Gokul is that all dishes are made without onion and garlic. So people from the Jain community will also love eating at this restaurant. Mock meat and fish (soya and gluten based) is used in many of the dishes.
Another well-known Indian joint is the Murugan Idli Shop. It is the Singapore branch of the famous Murugan Idli from Madurai. Eat idli, dosa and uttappam on a banana leaf, and then sip on some filter coffee. While doing so, you can be forgiven for thinking that you are in Chennai.
Other restaurants you can try are Komala Vilas, Balaji Bhawan (for Raj Kachori), Sri Rajya Lakshmi Naarasimhan Vegetarian (for Andhra thali), the famous Kailash Parbat, and finally Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR) for your fix on south Indian goodies.
(Biryani, Chaat or South Indian food, Singapore has it all)
2) Traditional Chinese food with vegetarian ingredients
With so many Chinese immigrants and influence, Singapore has some of the best Chinese vegetarian food in Asia. One popular type of Chinese food is the “Tze Char” style of cooking, which is basically a way of cooking fast and simple dishes on a wok. The food in this style of cooking has a distinct aroma of smoke which gets released while cooking on the wok. Try some of this unique Tze Char food at Jing Yi restaurant located at 359, Bukit Batok Street 31. The chef Jing Yi is acclaimed to be the best Tze Char cook in Singapore and you can easily end up with a half hour wait when you visit. Try some sweet potato leaves and Xiang Chun fried rice and you will remember your Singapore trip for some time.
If you are craving some wontons, then head to Little India. Yes! Little India just doesn’t serve Indian food, but is also home to the best wonton restaurant in Singapore. On 147 Kitchener Rd is Zen Fut Sai Kai Restaurant. This restaurant is almost 50 years old and you may feel like traveling back in time when you visit.
Fancy Dim Sum or Hot Pot? Then Ling Zhi is your place. Visit for a Dim Sum and Mushroom Hotpot lunch buffet. All their dishes are vegetarian, and they have a whole host of items on their menu besides the Dim Sums. Try whatever you feel like. There are 2 locations, one in Novena Square and another at Orchard Tower.
Last one in this section is the Nature Vegetarian Delight, located at Upp Serangoon Shopping Center level 4. It is a vegetarian restuarant even though you might see items like pig’s trotter and fish on the menu. Mock meat (vegetarian) is used in all of these dishes. The famous and popular items to try here are Sambal Fish Hotplate, the Claypot Pig’s Trotter, and some Olive Rice.
(thin Singapore noodles are the most famous food of Singapore)
3) Peranakan cuisine with veggie ingredients
(Penang Redang at Whole Earth is a popular dish made with mushrooms)
(Vegetarian Peranakan cuisine can be found in Singapore)
Peranakan cuisine is made up of age old recipes which come from Chinese immigrants who settled in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. It is a combination of Chinese, Malaysian and regional styles of cooking. This is what melting pot is all about. One of the best places to eat vegetarian Peranakan food is Whole Earth Peranakan – located very close to the Tanjong Pagar MRT station. The restaurant is busy at most times, and with good reason. It serves the best vegetarian Penang Redang that you can find anywhere. They use mushrooms to make this iconic Malaysian dish, and the curry is dry, almost like a paste. Other must try dishes are the Olive Rice, the Sambal Kang Kong and the Nonya Curry. All the dishes are prepared without meat, fish or even eggs, which otherwise form the basis of these Peranakan dishes. Only downside about Whole Earth is the pricing, which is on the higher side. But a visit to this joint is definitely worth the premium that you will pay.
(Roti prata – a classic Singaporean dish)
4) Pizza, Pasta, Burgers, Mid Eastern
Pizza is one of the well-known backup foods for many vegetarians, especially when nothing else can be found. Pasta is also a great vegetarian dish, something you can find pretty much anywhere in the world these days. Singapore has tons of places for pizza and pasta. A simple google search will give you multiple options. For burgers, head to Vegan Burg close to Eunos MRT station. Vegan Burg calls itself a 100% plant-based food provider. All their burgers are made either with vegetables or soy/gelatin and plant-protein based patties. Burger with some fries will fill up appetites of all sizes.
Another highly acclaimed restaurant is Original Sin, located Jalan Merah Saga Holland Village, Chip Bee Gardens. Original Sin serves vegetarian Mediterranean and Italian food in a modern way. A full review of this restaurant can be found here.
If you are in the mood for some falafel with pita, hummus and koshari rice, then head to Fill-a-Pita on 3 Pickering Street, Nankin Row.
5) Those famous hawker centers
Singapore is very famous for its various hawker stalls selling all kinds of Chinese, Malaysian, Indian and other types of food. Most hawker centres should have at least one or two stalls serving something vegetarian. While ordering, make sure that they do not put things like fish sauce or any non-vegetarian ingredients in your food. Do this as a precaution by politely asking the server or the cook at the stall. Some popular hawker stalls serving vegetarian food are:
Ru Yi Yuan and Ji Xiang Ru Yi (try the Bee Hoon) at the Redhill Food Center on Redhill Lane.
Try economy rice and laksa at Kim San Leng on Jalan Wangi Road.
Jian Kang (try Nasi Biryani on Fridays) at Bendemeer Road hawking/food center.
Victor’s Vegetarian food (veg Satay and Otah), Meng Heng (wonton noodles) and Xuan Miao (noodle based soups) on 79A Circuit Road.
Poh Meng Veg Food (bee hoon is good) at Tamang Jurong Market Center.
Various food stalls at 44 Holland Drive. Try Rojak at Rojak Line and Hakka noodles at other stalls.
6) Japanese food and vegan cafes
A popular chain of veg food across Asia, Loving Hut has a branch in Singapore as well. Located at Joo Chiat road, this Vegan cafe has a trendy ambience and calm music. You can try a range of vegan items (100% menu is vegan) from burgers to pasta, rice and south east Asian, and EU inspired dishes as well.
If you are in the mood for some Japanese food, then head over to Herbivore at the famous Fortune Center. Fortune Center in general is a building full of vegetarian food joints, and is a haven for vegetarians. You can try sushi, bento sets, soba noodles and teriyaki grilled dishes. If you are feeling brave, then try eating Natto. It is a food made of fermented soybean and has quite a pungent taste and smell. It is not for everyone, but you should still give it a go.
If you are in the mood for some raw food (vegetarian) or soups and other health conscious vegetarian food, then you will like the Living Cafe. Located on Bukit Timah Rd, this cafe was conceptualized and started by a nutritionist and is all about getting the right type of nutrients in your body. Though the menu has non-vegetarian dishes on it, you will find plenty of vegan dishes as well. If you are looking to do a detox, or simply want to eat food which does not have any animal origins, then head over to the Living Cafe.
7) Plan for a few options beforehand
While you cannot always expect to know exactly where and when you will eat, try to keep a list of few vegetarian restaurants in the area that you are going to visit. To create a list, use the following websites:
- https://www.tripadvisor.in/Restaurants-g294265-zfz10665-Singapore.html – Tripadvisor’s list of top vegetarian restaurants in Singapore
8) Some resources
Hungry And Mo – One of the best blogs about vegetarian food in south-east Asia.
VeganAsh – Another great blog on veg food in Singapore.
Jain Society in Singapore – http://www.sjrs.org.sg/