Ask around and you’ll no doubt realise that you know at least one person who’s hopped onto the once-a-week-vegetarian movement. Meatless Mondays and Meat-Free May are just some of the trends your ex-colleague, your best friend’s brother, your neighbour from three floors below, your niece’s teacher…are all getting on. According to a recent Harvard University study, cutting out meat just one day each week decreases your risk of heart disease by up to 19%! It even impacts the environment by reducing the fossil fuel and water needed to raise livestock for food. So, whether for health or ethical reasons, it’s time to think about jumping aboard the meat-free bandwagon. Plus it’s only once a week so it’s totally manageable! And just to prove vegetarian food isn’t all mushrooms and carrots, check out our list of the best vegetarian restaurants in town, for every budget.
Budget – Under $20
Super gratifying North Indian fare – Gokul Vegetarian Restaurant
A favourite among many (even the non-vegetarians!) for affordable, lip-smackingly good food. Predominantly North Indian in flavour, they even have Malay and Chinese dishes on the menu. You must order the Paneer Tikka Masala ($9.50): large cubes of paneer cheese cooked in a super addictive tikka sauce (trust us when we say addictive!). Mop it all up with their fluffy naans (from $2). The creamy Mushroom Kurma ($9) is another favourite. Share the Chendol ($4) at the end, Gokul makes theirs with a thick and gloopy gula melaka – so shiok!
Gokul Vegetarian Restaurant, 19 Upper Dickson Road, Singapore, 207478
Hours: 10.30am – 10.30pm daily
For a quickie lunch – Pita Pan
Get your Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean fix here. We suggest going for the super filling Full Pocket Meal ($15.90) – it includes a falafel ball pocket, topped with veggies and sauces of your choice, fries and a soft drink. Whatever unkind thoughts you might harbour about falafels will certainly be lost here because these are seriously flavourful, crunchy balls of goodness. If you’re in a group, it’s almost a sin to not kick-start your meal with some pita bread (from $7.90) and hummus (from $10.90).
Pita Pan, L1-87, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, 018972
Hours: Sun – Thurs: 11am – 11pm, Fri & Sat: 11am – 12 midnight
Super nutritious, Sell-out Mains – Tracy Juice Culture
This is a juice stand that has several outlets in central Singapore. At their Fortune Centre branch, they do serve two substantial dishes – one of them, Tracy’s Special Udon ($5.90), sells out every day. Order one for a bowlful of chewy Japanese udon swimming in a hearty soup made of blended tomatoes, parsley and mushrooms, and topped with vegetarian prawns. Don’t want noodles? Then order a bowl of their super filling and tasty Wild Rice Congee ($4) – it has five types of organic rice mixed with herbs, wolf berries, corn, mushrooms and seaweed.
Tracy Juice Culture, #01-34, Fortune Centre, 190 Middle Road, Singapore, 188979
Hours: 9am – 7.45pm daily
No-frills comfort food – Roma’s Deli
Classic favourites like baked rice and spaghetti take centre stage at this casual Italian vegetarian bistro. Don’t expect fancy plating, hard-to-pronounce dish names and high-tech cooking methods – the food here is simple, comforting and affordable. Start off with the Creamy Mushroom Soup ($4) then choose from quite the extensive list of pastas, from cheese and mushroom, to bolognese or sambal prawn (from $7.50 for a regular portion). Alternatively, we heard that the Hawaii Pizza (from $7.50 for a regular portion) is quite the hit.
Roma’s Deli, #01-23, Shaw Towers, 100 Beach Road, Singapore, 189702
Hours: Sun – Thurs: 11.30am – 9pm, Fri & Sat: 11.30am – 9.30pm
Mid-range – From $20 to $45
Great value-for-money – Sufood
Sufood is a Taiwanese restaurant chain serving Italian food, and they’re known for their super value-for-money eight-course meal at only $25++ per person! It kicks off on a stellar note with the signature Sufood appetiser, which takes you through a sweet, savoury then tangy start. The poached Japanese yuca root (another name for tapioca) with blueberry coulis, some whitewater snowflake greens and a unique savoury cherry tomato jelly should be eaten in that order to tease your palate. There are many mains to choose from but you can’t go wrong with the Wild Mushroom Charcoal Tagliatelle, a dead ringer for squid ink pasta. The charcoal tagliatelle is tasty and the the flavourful King Oyster mushroom closely resembled real squid in both looks and texture. Not up for an eight-course belly-buster? Don’t worry! You can also order a la carte.
Sufood, #02-19, Raffles City, 252 North Bridge Road, Singapore, 179103
Hours: 11.30am – 3.30pm and 5.30pm – 10pm daily.
For the whole Japanese shebang – Teng Bespoke Vegetarian Dining
You can expect the same variety, same attention to detail in food presentation and same deliciousness as any other Japanese restaurant, here at vegetarian eatery Teng. Yes, vegetarians do have sashimi too. They’re made with mung bean powder and is close to a soft fishcake in consistency. In all honesty, it’s not that close to real sashimi – until you dip it into the soy sauce and wasabi mix. Definitely order the Unagi Maki ($12) – you’ll get avocado and cucumber wrapped in rice and topped with a soft and slightly crispy mock eel, then drizzled with a sweet unagi sauce. Another winner is the Deep Fried Shitake Mushroom with Cream ($13), topped with cheese, no further explanation necessary.
Teng Bespoke Vegetarian Dining, #01-50, Sunshine Plaza,91 Bencoolen Street, Singapore, 189652
Hours: 11.30am – 3pm and 5.30pm – 10pm daily.
Good for gatherings with friends – Whole Earth
Think of this place as a healthy zi char alternative for a dinner with a big group of pals. The menu functions in a similar fashion; dishes are priced according to their portion size. Score health points with their Signature Olive Brown Rice ($7), which has good bite, is flavoursome and has a hint of wok hei. Regulars to this restaurant always order the Penang Rendang ($18) – a steaming plate of pan-fried mushrooms in a thick curry-based sauce. Be warned, it’s spicy! Another favourite is the Broccoli with Braised Monkeyhead Mushrooms ($19) – large crunchy broccoli stalks are paired with chewy monkeyhead mushrooms doused in a savoury sauce. Delish!
Whole Earth, 76 Peck Seah Street, Singapore, 079331
Hours: 11.30am – 3pm and 5.30pm – 10pm daily.
Escape the city bustle – The Green Room
Nestled in the gorgeous Bishan Park, The Green Room makes for a lovely relaxing haunt to unwind amidst some greenery. If you’re into the raw food movement, they’ve got a handful of options here too. They have some star appetisers, one of them being the Berry Wholesome Salad ($8). It’s a refreshing toss-up of mesclun salad, strawberry balsamic dressing and mixed berries – a zesty way to start off your meal. Fans rave about the Vegan Soy Laksa ($14), which is an almost-sinfully rich broth and gluten-free noodles. “Almost” because the soup base is made with soy milk in place of regular coconut milk. The vegan-friendly ice creams (from $5 for a single scoop) here, hand-made with organic brown rice, are also a hit.
The Green Room, 1382 Ang Mo Kio Ave 1, Bishan Park 2, Singapore, 569931
Hours: Mon and Wed – Fri: 12 noon – 3pm and 6pm – 10.30pm, Sat & Sun: 11am – 10.30pm
Eat all you can at a steal – Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant
If anything, this is the one place that would really drive home the point that there is variety for vegetarians. I’ve personally seen many meat-eaters come to this popular Chinese buffet and nod their head in silent surprise and sheepish approval. Come for dinner on the weekend for their Asian buffet ($24.80++ per person) to treat yourself to a serious smorgasbord of meat-free delights at a steal. You must make a reservation in advance – that’s how popular they are! Definitely go for a serving of the laksa, a rich, tasty bowl that contains no actual shrimp. Some of the fried mock meats will also make you forget it isn’t actual chicken or pork. There’s also the usual dim sum and carbohydrate options – think fried bee hoon, noodles and rice.
Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant, Level 2, Quality Hotel, 201 Balestier Road, Singapore, 329926
Hours: 11.30am – 3pm and 5.30pm – 10pm daily.
Splurge – $45 and up
A day-to-night hangout – Afterglow
Besides an array of tantalising vegan offerings, they’ve got a large selection of raw dishes as well. The Drag Pom Salad ($16) is an uber refreshing mash-up of dragonfruit, pomegranate, avocado, macadamia nuts and a mint dressing. Load up on the mains – the Deconstructed Sushi Bowl with Avocado and Miso Dressing ($16) is a deceptive little bowl bursting with flavour, and the Raw Zucchini “Linguine” Tomato Sauce & Homemade Pesto is a springy dish with a lovely thick, tangy sauce. Stay after dinner in this industrial-looking café, complete with wall-mounted bicycle, to sample their small-batch wine and craft beers.
Afterglow, 24 Keong Saik Road, Singapore, 089131
Hours: Mon – Sat: 11.30am – 11pm
For the ultimate splurge – Original Sin
This place is the go-to fine-dining Mediterranean restaurant for vegetarians looking to have a flashy meal on special occasions. Here you’ll get your Instagram-worthy plating and intriguing combinations using top-notch ingredients. Kickstart your meal with a Mezze Platter ($24) – it comes with falafel, soft-on-the-inside toasted pita bread, and four different dips (hummus, eggplant, pumpkin and carrot and tzaziki) to give you a variety of nutty, sweet and savoury flavours. A unanimous must-try dish is the Bosco Misto ($28) – two fried tofu patties (stay with us here…) that has spinach and feta mixed in, then crumbed with crush almonds and sesame seeds, they come with some asparagus and a yummy mushroom plum sauce. You’ll groan in pleasure with the flavours and texture in this one! Finish the evening with the standard array of desserts like brownies and tiramisu (all at $10).
Original Sin, #01-62, Blk 43, Chip Bee Gardens, 62 Jalan Merah Saga, Singapore, 278115
Hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm and 6pm – 10.30pm daily.
To encourage Mom and Pop to go veg – Ling Zhi Vegetarian
This elegant-looking modern Chinese restaurant is popular for their Mushroom Hotpot Buffet (from $20.80++), which is available at a steal compared to their regular prices. But if you’re after a bit of a treat, then order a la carte – you’ll get a better look at what the kitchen is capable of. The Braised Spinach Soup with Bamboo Fungus ($6.50) is my personal favourite for a thick and rich-tasting starter to the meal – it’s super comforting and nutritious. Another dish that’ll send you to taste heaven is the Sautéed Monkey Head Mushrooms with Dried Chilli ($18). Sick of mushrooms already? Then go for the Eggplant in Spicy Sauce ($16), it’s a fiery combo of tender eggplant slices with button mushroom and potatoes in a seriously tasty gravy – and if spice isn’t your deal, you can even request for a less spicy version.
Ling Zhi Vegetarian, #03-09/10, Velocity@Novena Square, 238 Thompson Road, Singapore, 307638
Hours: Mon – Fri: 11.30am – 3pm and 6pm – 10pm, Sat – Sun & PH: 11am – 5pm and 6pm – 10pm