Can a vegetarian survive in Singapore?
This is a question we frequently ask before planning a trip to Singapore. Many people believe that vegetarian food is scarce or difficult to come by in Singapore.
Let me tell you, Singapore is a great city to be a vegetarian. There are many vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Singapore with plenty of vegetarian food options. The locals are generally very accommodating to people with different dietary restrictions. If you’re looking for a great city to travel to that has plenty of tasty vegetarian cuisine, Singapore should not be at the bottom of your list!
Here are 15 vegetarian dishes in Singapore you cannot miss:
1. Vegetarian Laksa
Laksa is a popular noodle dish in Singapore that can be made with or without seafood. There are many variations of laksa, but the most common type is Asam Laksa, which is made with coconut milk, tamarind juice, and spices. The vegetarian version of this dish typically replaces the seafood with tofu, mushrooms, or tempeh. It is typically served with rice noodles, cucumber, pineapple, and mint garnish. It’s a spicy and sour soup that is delicious and worth trying!
2. Vegetarian Nasi Lemak
Nasi lemak is a Malaysian dish that consists of coconut milk rice, anchovies, peanuts, and a hard-boiled egg. The vegetarian version of this dish replaces the anchovies with mushrooms or tofu, and it is just as delicious! You can also choose a non-egg version if you are a strict vegetarian. It is typically served with a chili paste or sambal on the side.
3. Vegetarian Bee Hoon
Bee Hoon is a type of rice vermicelli noodle that is popular in Singapore. It can be made with or without meat, but the vegetarian version is made with tofu, vegetables, and mushrooms. You may find these sold with meat at vegetarian stalls, but don’t worry, it’s not meat but a meat-like product made of soybeans and flour. It is typically stir-fried with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. You can also find veggie bee hoon soup, which is a clear broth soup with the same ingredients.
There are many authentic food tours available in Singapore. Getting to know the cuisine from the locals is the right way to experience it. A food tour is the most generous treat you can give yourself as a foodie.
4. Chinese Rojak
Rojak is a popular Malaysian dish that typically includes a mix of fruits and vegetables, coated in a spicy, peanut-based sauce. However, this vegetarian version of the dish substitutes tofu for the traditional meats, making it a delicious and healthy option. The tofu is first marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, rice wine, and five-spice powder, before being fried to crispy perfection. It is then tossed with diced cucumber, pineapple, and bean sprouts, before being coated in the Rojak sauce. The final dish is garnished with chopped peanuts and cilantro and served with a side of chili garlic sauce.
5. Nasi Goreng
Nasi Goreng is a delicious Indonesian rice dish that is perfect for vegetarians. Traditionally, nasi goreng is made with chicken or shrimp, but it can just as easily be made without meat. The key to a good nasi goreng is in the sauce, and there are many different recipes for the perfect sauce. Some recipes call for sweet soy sauce, while others use Kecap Manis, a thick sweet soy sauce. Other common ingredients include chili pepper, garlic, shallots, and ginger. Nasi goreng is usually served with a fried egg on top, but it can also be served with tofu or tempeh for a more vegan-friendly meal. The Singaporeans call it Mee Goreng as well.
If you’re looking for the best breakfast in Singapore, look no further than Roti Prata. This delicious flatbread is served with a variety of dipping sauces (Indian curries), and it’s the perfect way to start your day. Prata (Parota) originates from India, but it’s been adapted to suit the Singaporean palate. The dough is made from flour, water and ghee, and it’s then fried in a hot pan until it’s crispy and golden brown. The result is a fluffy and fragrant bread that pairs perfectly with curry sauce or chili paste.
7. Nasi Padang
Nasi Padang is a popular Indonesian dish that typically features a variety of meat dishes served with rice. However, it is also possible to find vegetarian versions of this dish. Vegetarian Nasi Padang usually features a selection of tofu, tempeh, and vegetables cooked in a spicy sauce. The exact ingredients can vary depending on the chef, but common items include beans, potatoes, and cabbage. While the dish is often quite spicy, the heat level can be adjusted to suit individual preferences.
8. Dosa or Dosai
Dosa or Dosai (that’s how they call it in Singapore) is a type of South Indian pancake made from fermented rice batter. It is typically served with chutney and sambar (made out of lentils) and is a popular breakfast dish in Singapore. Dosa can be either plain or filled with various fillings such as potato, onion, masala, cheese, etc. Plain dosa is also known as paper dosa due to its paper-thin texture. Masala dosa is a popular variation of dosa where the pancake is filled with potato masala. They are usually made to order and are best eaten fresh and hot off the griddle.
Gado-gado is a popular Indonesian dish made with a variety of vegetables, tofu, bean sprout, rice cakes and peanut sauce. The word “gado-gado” actually means “mix-mix”, which is quite fitting given the dish’s vibrant mix of colors and textures. You’ll love the crunch of the fresh vegetables, the creamy peanut sauce, and the zesty lime dressing. It is also a very healthy dish, as it is packed with vitamins and minerals.
Popiah is a Nyonah dish consisting of a thin pancake wrapped around a typical filling of vegetables, shrimp, and pork. It is believed to have originated in the town of Quanzhou, in the Fujian province of China. The name “popiah” is thought to be derived from the Hokkien word for “thin pancake”.
Vegetarian popiah is the perfect light meal or snack. The fresh spring rolls are filled with a variety of vegetables, including mushrooms, carrots, and cabbage. The wrapping is made from rice paper, which gives it a light and crispy texture. The popiah can be served with a sweet chili sauce or dipping sauce of your choice. I love how the different textures and flavors come together in this dish. The light and crispy rice paper, the crunch of the vegetables, and the sweetness of the sauce all work together to create a delicious experience.
11. Roti John
Roti John is a popular Singaporean dish made with French bread and usually filled with eggs, meat, and vegetables. It is believed to have originated in Singapore during the 1960s. The dish is named after John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who is credited with inventing the sandwich. It is said that he came up with the idea of putting meat between two slices of bread so that he could eat while playing cards. The Roti John is a variation of the sandwich, and it is popular street food in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Vegetarian Roti John is also available, and it is usually filled with vegetables and tofu. The bread is usually toasted and then spread with a variety of fillings, such as chili, curry, or ketchup. The fillings are then topped with tofu and/or mushrooms, and the whole thing is grilled until the bread is crispy and the tofu is cooked.
Now that I have covered breakfast, lunch, and snacks, let’s move on to desserts for those with a sweet tooth.
12. Tau Huay
Tau Huay is a traditional Chinese dessert made from tofu, milk, and sugar. It is often served with a topping of fruits or nuts. The dish originated in the Fujian province of China, but it is now popular throughout Asia. It is made by coagulating soy milk to form tofu curds. These curds are then soaked in syrup and typically served chilled. The dish has a smooth, creamy texture and a sweet, subtly nutty flavor.
Kueh is a traditional Malay cake that is made from glutinous rice, coconut milk, and palm sugar. It is often steamed in banana leaves, which gives it a distinct flavor and texture. There are many different types of Kueh, including those that are filled with chicken, shrimp, or vegetables. Make sure the ingredients are vegetarian-friendly. It can be served as a snack or as a dessert, and it is a popular food for celebrations and special occasions.
Chendol is a popular Malaysian dessert that combines shaved ice, pandan-flavored jelly noodles, palm sugar syrup, and coconut milk. The dish is believed to have originated in the state of Johor, and it is now commonly found throughout Southeast Asia. Chendol is traditionally served in a tall glass, and it can be garnished with a variety of toppings such as peanuts and raisins. The dish is refreshingly sweet and cooling, making it a perfect treat for a hot day.
15. Red bean buns
There’s nothing quite like a freshly steamed red bean bun. The sweet and moreish filling is encased in a delicious red bean pau, and the whole thing is served piping hot. Whether you enjoy them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, red bean buns are a true delight. And while they may not be the healthiest option on the menu, they’re worth indulging in from time to time. You won’t be disappointed.
Vegetarian food is not only healthy but it can also be delicious and exotic. If you are looking for a new dining experience, or simply want to try something different, give vegetarian cuisine in Singapore a go. You won’t regret it! Let me know if you have tried any of the vegetarian dishes on this list.
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