Whenever I tell people I’m from Singapore, they always ask me “where’s your accent?” I’ve moved so much that I lost my Singlish accent a long time ago, but Singapore will forever be one of my favorite cities to eat and eat and eat. I have many fond childhood memories of family trips back to Singapore, where we would feast on all our favorite dishes. This recent trip back to Singapore was no different, except this was my first time in Singapore as a vegan.
Much to my delight, there were plenty of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Singapore! I didn’t have to miss out on my old favorites, like laksa and chicken rice, as there are delicious vegan versions of almost anything you can think of. To be honest, I barely made a dent in my list of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants even though it feels like I was eating non-stop. I’m already looking forward to going back.
Read on for my recap of what I ate in Singapore, from hawker center eats to plant-based fine dining, as well as everything in between. I’ve indicated my top must visit spots in case you’re just in Singapore for a couple days. If you found my list of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Singapore helpful, please tag @waz.wu on Instagram. I’d love to hear from you!
Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Singapore
No trip to Singapore is complete without a visit to the hawker center for Hainanese chicken rice. This is a quintessential Singaporean dish, with roasted and/or steamed chicken, seasoned rice (this is the most important part of the dish, not the chicken), pickled veggies, bok choy, winter melon soup, and condiments: ginger, chili, dark soy sauce. The owners of 33 Vegetarian sold chicken rice for many years, and after they went vegetarian, so did their hawker stall. 33 Vegetarian had the longest line in the entire hawker center, but the line moved quickly. The “chicken” was tasty, especially the roasted version made of layers of bean curd, which has a nice, crispy skin. The rice was fragrant and oily, and the chili sauce was especially delicious. Don’t miss this vegan chicken rice set if you’re in Singapore. MUST VISIT.
Pepper Jade Thai Vegetarian
I’m always a little worried visiting vegetarian/vegan restaurants with anyone that’s not veg. If they don’t enjoy it, then the idea that vegetarian/vegan food is no good gets stuck in their head when in reality, plenty of non-veg restaurants suck too. Luckily, everyone left Pepper Jade happy and full. Vegan items were clearly labeled, and it was more of an Asian fusion restaurant, not just Thai dishes. Highlights include the shark fin soup, deep fried fish with chili sauce, green curry, sambal kang kong, and red ruby for dessert. (Unfortunately, Pepper Jade is now closed. Our server mentioned that it has been difficult for them to compete with other restaurants nearby that serve both veg and non-veg Thai food.)
Located a couple doors down from Pepper Jade, Teng Bespoke is a vegetarian Japanese restaurant. I was disappointed to learn that their fish-free sashimi contains dairy, but they offer plenty of vegan sushi to choose from, including a delicious vegan unagi maki. Unagi is eel, which is normally served with teriyaki sauce. The other maki rolls on my plate are natto, seaweed, preserved turnip, and vegan crab. The miso ramen had a tasty broth with a hint of heat and bouncy, slippery vegan shrimp, but the noodles were not as al dente as I normally like.
As my sister and I strolled down Haji Lane after a big ramen and sushi lunch, I mumbled something about how we don’t need any snacks in a while… until Little Damage caught my eye. Hello there, vegan chocolate peanut butter banana soft serve in a black waffle cone made of activated charcoal. Oh yummm. I usually think of a cone just as a vessel to contain the frozen treat, but this was an especially good cone. You can also find Little Damage in Los Angeles.
Violet Oon Satay Bar & Grill
Not a veg restaurant, but my sister suggested this spot because they have Impossible satay on the menu. Unfortunately, we learned that they use dairy in the satay, so we didn’t order it. :( I don’t know why there’s dairy in there because a traditional satay sauce is dairy-free. Instead, we shared the tau hu goreng (fried bean curd with spicy peanut sauce) and sayur lodeh (veggies and tempeh in coconut gravy). Both dishes were enjoyable, but prices were steep as you would expect at a celebrity chef’s joint.
For a second dinner (lol), my sister and I visited NomvNom for the rendang curry burger with a soy-based patty and flavor packed rendang sauce. This was just one of the 20+ burgers on the menu. I told myself that I would only have burgers on this trip if they were burgers with an Asian twist. NomvNom was a solid choice for vegan fast food, and the menu also offers pizza, pasta, and rice bowls. How do you feel about durian pizza?
I don’t know what the first rule of vegan burger club is, but I know that Veganburg is home to some really tasty burgers. Veganburg just celebrated its 9-year anniversary (its grand opening was on 10/10/10), and you can find them in Singapore and San Francisco. The burgers remind me of Shake Shack, which speaks to my former New Yorker heart. I ordered three burgers for my sister and I to share and got some funny looks because the staff who thought I was eating all three alone. Trust me, it was temping. The char-grilled satay and chili krab with yummy rempah sauce were both winners. The seasonal special was a curry dahl burger, which was tasty too, but the potato patty didn’t hold together as well. MUST VISIT.
Sunny Choice is a chain of vegan cafes and organic/natural shops with multiple locations in Singapore. It’s a good spot for a fast casual meal with local dishes, but I hope your experience will be better than mine. We arrived 20 minutes before closing, and they kept rushing us to order and eat. The food was enjoyable though as the menu caters to a local palate. This is where I got my fill of vegan versions of old favorites: bak ku tei (pork ribs tea stew) and asam laksa (spicy noodle soup).
Joie by Dozo
Located among the rooftop garden of Orchard Central shopping center, Joie de Dozo is a tranquil oasis of luxurious velvet armchairs, artfully arranged plates, and stunning views of the city. Joie is fully vegetarian, and a vegan menu is available by request. The food was beautiful and whimsical, but I found myself craving more from some of the courses. Some highlights from the lunch tasting menu include carrot sashimi with sea grapes, bai ling mushroom hot pot, liquid gnocchi (it really turned to liquid the moment I took a bite) with maitakes and walnuts, and red bean and yam pastry with chocolate sorbet.
The Living Cafe
After a week of eating my way through Singapore, I suddenly found myself craving some raw vegan goodness. I made it to The Living Cafe, a wellness cafe and yoga studio, 3 minutes before the kitchen closed! The raw section of the menu includes this zoodle pad thai, and I got the green vitality juice on the side for good measure. If you’re looking for healthy eats, definitely hit up The Living Cafe. This meal was a lovely preview of what was awaiting me in Bali.
Vegan Korean isn’t easy to come by, and the Boneless Kitchen took me to my happy place. I visited for lunch with my brother and sister, and between the three of us, we shared the kimchi pancakes, japchae sweet potato noodles with vegetables, tteokbokki spicy rice cakes, and doenjang jeongol stew. I thoroughly enjoyed every dish, but the rice cakes (which I was initially least excited about) turned out to be my favorite because they were cooked perfectly. By the end of the meal, I felt that I was overheating thanks to the spicy flavors and hearty stew, but it was all worth it. MUST VISIT.
Indian food is veg-friendly to begin with, but you do have to check for ghee and paneer if you’re looking for vegan Indian. Located in the heart of Little India, Gokul is a vegetarian restaurant with an abundance of vegan dishes. The menu is HUGE and features North Indian, South Indian, and Singapore dishes. We ordered 7 dishes for 4 people: potato curry puff, satay, murtabak (stuffed pancake), briyani rice, claypot fish curry, mutton masala, and aloo gobi (potatoes and cauliflower). The mock meats they use are very tasty, especially the vegan mutton in the masala and murtabuk. MUST VISIT.
Food in the Woods
Food in the Woods is a fast casual vegetarian cafe with a variety of Asian and Western dishes. Like Sunny Choice, this is another good spot when you’re craving vegan verisons of local flavors. Cai tow kueh (fried radish cake) is one of my favorite breakfasts when I’m in Singapore. It’s normally fried with eggs, but Food in the Woods with a vegan pork substitute called OmniPork. The name is a little odd considering it’s vegan, not omni, but it’s pretty good. I also enjoyed the lou rou fan (Taiwanese braised pork rice), also made with OmniPork and the porridge with vegan fish. MUST VISIT.
Din Tai Fung
We’ve got Din Tai Fung here in Portland, but I couldn’t resist a visit to Din Tai Fung in Singapore as the Paragon location was serving steamed mushroom dumplings infused with truffle oil. The delicate wrappers hold a medley of four mushrooms — shimeiji, shiitake, king oyster, golden spring — that will take you to dumpling heaven. It’s unclear how long they will be serving this special or if they will offer it at other locations, but DTF always has some good accidentally vegan items.
Herbivore is a vegetarian restaurant with an extensive menu of Japanese dishes, including sushi platters, hand rolls, noodles boxes, katsu curry, and bento boxes. Each table is equipped with an iPad for browsing the menu and ordering. Some dishes contain dairy, so you’ll want to double check the fine print for vegan dishes. Between three people, we shared the toro karaage (fried chicken), cold green tea soba, curry katsu set, unagi sushi, and soma sesame ramen. MUST VISIT.
Nam Nam Pho
Nam Nam is a fast casual Vietnamese chain with locations throughout Singapore, Jakarta, and Bali. They are currently the only Vietnamese restaurant in Singapore that uses Impossible in their banh mi and pho, but I opted for the vegetable pho with various types of tofu, mock meats, and veggies. There’s nothing like a simple bowl of vegan pho. You can also get it as a set meal with a starter, like veggie rolls, and a beverage. Good spot for a quick meal.
Formerly known as Brownice, Smoocht is Singapore’s first vegan ice cream shop with flavors like Thai Tea, Passion A Go Go, Loco Coco, and Mr (Earl) Grey. Their r’ice cream is made of organic brown rice, evaporated sugar cane juice, real fruit, and pure nut butters. You can enjoy their treats with a cone or do what I did and treat yourself to a gluten-free matcha waffle topped with r’ice cream. Initially, the texture of the r’ice cream is pretty smooth, but I noticed as they started to melt, some flavors get a little grainy.
Located in the heart of Chinatown, Lotus Kitchen is a contemporary vegan Chinese restaurant with dim sum, fried rice, noodle dishes, herbal soups, and much more. This is my final meal in Singapore, and I visited for dinner with family, so we covered every section of the menu very well. My favorites include the steamed beancurd rolls, vegetable abalone dumplings, vegetable wonton soup, and claypot three cups tofu. I didn’t save much room for dessert, but I did enjoy a bite of the purple rice with coconut milk. MUST VISIT.