Vegetarian va-va-voom

Singapore’s gourmet vegetarian options are as delicious as their meaty counterparts

Issue: Nov 2009

Guilt-free traditional snack
Guilt-free traditional snack
Photo credit: Eastern Rice Dumplings

Vegetarian dishes are no longer about peas and blandness, and they don't just exist in vegetarian restaurants. As the trend to be healthy and environmentally-conscious picks up, more people are reducing their meat intake and opting for a vegetarian diet. With more places offering delicious vegetarian options with authentic flavours, eating healthy and reducing your carbon footprint have never been easier!

For the love of tradition

Rice dumplings were first served in China around 300 B.C. to honour the famous poet Qu Yuan. Traditionally, these dumplings were made with meat and served only once a year during the dumpling festival, but now they can be enjoyed throughout the year and come in an assortment of varieties, including vegetarian.

Wrapped with pandan leaves, these vegetarian rice dumplings are made from white glutinous rice and a filling of minced mushrooms fried with coriander powder. The faint scent of the leaves left on this savoury delight prepares the palate for a burst of flavours true to the original.

A crunchy snack

Also known as Chinese water spinach or swamp cabbage, kangkung is a semi-aquatic vine with hollow stems adapted for floating in ponds. Another use of a hollow stem is that it's great for holding in sauces and batter when you're cooking it! It's a favourite throughout South-east Asia and the Pacific because of its crunchy stem and tasty leaves.

At Parkway Thai, kangkung is dipped in batter, deep fried and drizzled with the chef's special sweet and spicy sauce. Kangkung is a great source of beta-carotene, vitamin A, phosphorus and thiamin so you’ll be glad kids love it. There’ll be no trouble getting them to eat their greens.

Healthy doesn't mean boring
Photo credit: Parkway Thai
Tapoica leaves simmered in coconut milk is chock full of nutrition
Photo credit: Tambuah Mas

Comprising over 6,000 islands, Indonesia, the largest country in South-east Asia has extensive influence on the cuisine of the region. Indonesian cuisine incorporates flavours from ancient cultures.

SingKong Santan is a traditional Indonesian vegetarian dish made up of tapioca leaves, green beans, spices, garlic, onions and coconut milk. Tapioca leaves have been an important ingredient in Indonesian culture as it grows profusely and is tasty.

Nutritionally, it is a champion because of its high protein and carbohydrate content. The leaves are naturally velvety and fibrous, and remain slightly crunchy even after being simmered in coconut milk for some time.

Head down to these stores at CapitaLand malls for more vegetarian delights!

Be converted to vegetarian dishes with this Veg Medley
Photo credit: Coriander Leaf
A clever amalgamation of beefsteak tomato, Japanese eggplant, pimento or cherry peppers, herbed rice stuffing, yogurt cream, brown butter, and parsley oil reflects the diversity of tastes and ingredients from the Asian region.

With a tinge of sweetness, spiciness, and sourness hidden beneath the smooth textures of this medley, you'll lose all prejudice against vegetarian dishes, and you'll probably be converted before you reach dessert!

Location: Coriander Leaf
(Clarke Quay, Singapore)
Opening hours:
Mon to Fri
Lunch: 12:00pm to 2:00pm
Dinner: 6:30pm to 10:00pm
Sat Dinner only: 6:30pm to 10:30pm
Closed on Sun
Price: $27

Try the Phad Prik Tour – long beans stir fried with chilli and salted egg yolk
Photo credit: BALIthai

Phad prik is the famous Thai chilli pepper that gives all Thai food that signature kick that can sometimes leave you crying. It can be stir fried with anything really, and is commonly found in Thai seafood and meat dishes, but there are also great tasting vegetarian renditions that apply this spice.

Phad Prik Tour is a delectable dish of long beans in phad prik paste specially created by the chef at BALIthai. It is stir fried with salted egg yolk for creative texture and all rounded taste.

Location: BALIthai CAFE (ION Orchard)
Opening hours: 10am - 10pm daily
Price: $8.80

For the love of subtleties

More than just deep fried vegetables, Yasai tempura is Japan's most vegetarian dish
The difference between regular deep-fried vegetables and tempura is all in the batter. Yasai tempura is an assortment of perennial vegetables and Japanese shitake or enoki mushrooms carefully dried after washing then quickly dipped into a specially prepared batter before being tossed into hot oil.

Yasai Tempura served at Ichiban Sushi consists of seven pieces of assorted vegetables, such as ladies fingers, sweet potatoes and eggplant. It is served with tempura sauce or tentsuyu which is made of dashi (soup stock), mirin and soy sauce. The resulting experience combines the tenderness of mushrooms with the crisp textures of deep fried lady's fingers. Tubers like sweet potato add a hint of sweetness.

Location: Ichiban-Sushi (Plaza Singapura, Singapore)
Opening hours: Sun to Fri: 11.30am -10.00pm, Sat & PH Eve: 11.00am -10.30pm
Price: $7.90

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