Let’s get one thing straight. Not all vegans are the same. Some of us love fresh salads, but others can’t stand the taste of raw veggies. There are those of us who are repulsed by the thought of meat, and then there are those who crave it badly and constantly.
So we’ve put together a quick guide to vegan food in Singapore that will cater to all vegans, no matter your taste preference. Because #NotAllVegans.
For the recovering carnivore
We’ll begin with the fresh converts who still dream of sinking their teeth into a juicy beef patty (and then repent by rewatching on Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret for the 100th time). Since Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger – two plant-based patties that resemble ground beef to an astonishing degree – have reached our shores, the number of restaurants offering a decent meat-inspired burger has increased exponentially.
25 Degrees Singapore, known for its offering of honest-to-goodness American burgers, introduced its version of the vegan burger ($18++), featuring the Beyond Burger patty. Sandwiched between charcoal buns and served with tarragon-flavoured coleslaw, portobello mushroom, tomato confit, melted vegan cheddar, rocket and pickled red onions, it’s as gratifying as any Angus beef burger could be. Available from 1 May to 30 June.
It’s okay to admit that you miss the delicious abomination that is spam. For a really tasty plant-based substitute, head over to Hans Im Gluck and dig into their vegan burgers (from $14++). The patties are made with meat and taste suspiciously like luncheon meat, full of that same umami savoury goodness. With 4 variations to choose from and quality toppings like lingonberries and avocado cream, they’re guaranteed to knock your socks off.
For the clean-eater
Cedele is no stranger to those of us looking for our Eat Clean fix. But they also offer a range of plant-based burgers, salads and soups, including my all-time favourite: the Beetroot Avocado burger ($14). It’s a visual and gastronomical delight, a beautiful maroon beetroot patty with slices of avocado slathered in chilli jam and served on your choice of bread (I strongly recommend the golden pumpkin bread). Remember to ask them to leave out the mayo, which isn’t vegan.
Another great restaurant for the health-conscious is Afterglow. Go for the moreish teriyaki “meat” balls on lettuce ($14++), made from chopped mushrooms and topped with fresh salsa and a creamy, tangy vegan sauce. Then stay for the rich and dreamy chocolate “caramel” fudge ($12.50++) that’s a combination of avocado, cacao, tahini, vanilla, honey and cold-pressed coconut oil on a thin walnut crust blended with Medjool dates.
For the sugar junkie
The real dessert fiends bemoan the fact that many sweet treats contact egg and dairy. Giving up ice cream has been one of the biggest challenges in my own plant-based diet journey. Enter Kind Kones, the new vegan ice cream parlour on the block. The brand hails from Malaysia, and makes some of the creamiest all-natural plant-based ice creams in town. Their flavours are made with a coconut or cashew base, with no dairy, egg or refined sugar added. They’ve even got gluten-free options. Starting at $4.90 a scoop.
For those of you craving a decadent slice of chocolate cake, look no further than That Vegan Cake ($48 for 5.5”) by local confectionery inthebrickyard. Pear puree is used as a substitute for egg and butter, which makes the crumb dense and moist but not too heavy. And it’s just the right level of sweetness.
For the cheese lovers
If you haven’t been to Gigi’s in Sydney to try the vegan pizza, you have not lived. But fortunately for those of us here in Singapore, there’s Nomvnom Bistro. The fully vegan casual restaurant serves up a mean thin-crust pizza. My personal favourite is the Monkey King Truffle pizza ($17.90). Three kinds of mushroom – king oyster, monkey head and white button – are piled on to the pie, slathered with a generous serving of creamy soy and cashew-based cheese. Add a sprinkling of truffle mayo and some nutritional yeast, and you have a flavour bomb.
Pizza Express has also introduced its own take on vegan pizza. The mushroom and fennel Omnipork pizza ($23++) and curried Beyond Beef pizza ($26++) are made with stretchy, unbelievably cheesy Daiya vegan mozzarella, Beyond Meat and Omnipork (that’s plant-based “pork”) to sub out the animal products. Pasta fans will also be delighted to try the mushroom and black truffle risotto ($16++), also made with Daiya cheese.
For the Asian foodies
#NotAllVegans care for cheese. And if you’re the type of vegan who’s down for some Asian food every day, good on you! Of course, lots of Asian dishes contain meat, seafood and so on. And for that, we turn to well-established vegetarian restaurants like Whole Earth. Known for its Peranakan styles dishes like its rich shitake mushroom rendang ($22++) and fragrant and nutty olive rice ($10++), the restaurant offers exciting bold flavours that taste like home.
Those craving a spicy and hearty Korean meal can visit Boneless Kitchen, which has plant-based versions of all your favourite Korean mainstays – army stew ($36.90++), kimchi fried rice ($11.90++) and bibimbap ($10.90). Most dishes are vegan but do check with the servers to find out which items may contain dairy or egg. And don’t leave without trying the kimchi bulgogi fries ($10.90++), just remember to ask them to leave out the mayo!