In recent years, the number of individuals that have chosen to adopt a vegetarian diet has risen significantly. While there are some that have become vegetarian for religious or ethical reasons, there is also a great number that do so to reap health benefits. Whether you’re thinking of adopting a vegetarian diet, or just want to know a little more about the cuisine, we’ve curated some helpful information below to get you started.
Let’s start off with the basics.
Before delving further into history, let’s start off by taking a look at the different types of vegetarians. Unbeknownst to most, there are different types of vegetarians depending on what they consume. While some vegetarians eat dairy such as cheese or eggs, others abstain from any food product that comes from an animal.
Here’s a snapshot of the different types of vegetarians
- Lacto-Ovo vegetarian: Consumes milk, dairy, and eggs
- Lacto-vegetarian: Consumes milk and dairy
- Semi-vegetarian: Eats poultry and/or fish, dairy, and eggs, but avoids red meat
- Pescetarian: Consumes fish and seafood but no meat or poultry
- Vegan: Consumes food that’s only of plant origin, and usually avoids animal products altogether
While the above provides a snapshot, there can also be differences depending on where you’re from. Vegetarians in the west for example usually consume eggs while vegetarians in India tend to exclude them.
How did vegetarianism come about?
Vegetarianism has a rather long history. Essentially the idea of advocating for a fleshless diet began around the middle of the 1st millennium BCE in India and the Eastern Mediterranean area. It began due to the teaching of a philosopher called Pythagoras of Saomos who believed that humans needed to be benevolent to other creatures.
Since then, other philosophers such as Plato have also recommended a fleshless diet, and religions such as Buddhism and Jainism have also refused to kill animals for food on ethical as well as ascetic grounds. This principle was then also adopted by Brahmanism, and later Hinduism. Since then, while many religions have continued to practice a fleshless diet, individuals have also started to practice vegetarianism for the health benefits that come along with it.
Growing Trend of Vegetarianism in Singapore
Other than for religious reasons, there are a number of benefits associated with vegetarianism. Vegetable eating habits, for example, have been associated with health benefits such as lower levels of obesity, reduced heart disease risk, and lower blood pressure. It’s no wonder that vegetarianism especially veganism has been gaining round in Singapore.
Not only can you purchase vegan items from Souley Green – an online vegan mart, you can easily find vegetarian or vegan options in mainstream restaurants and eateries that even include fast food outlets such as McDonald’s. If planned properly, a vegetarian and vegan diet is more than capable of meeting all nutritional needs through the consumption of high-quality plant-based protein.
With the number of health benefits that can be reaped from a vegetarian diet, it’s no wonder that the HappyCow application now lists that Singapore has over 1,261 vegetarian and vegan options available. In comparison to 2016 when there were over 500 restaurants, this has now doubled. It certainly doesn’t seem like this trend is going to die down soon, and luckily Singapore is a heaven for both vegetarian and vegan eateries that are scattered throughout the country.
Popular Local Vegetarian Dishes in Singapore
Since Singapore is a food haven, you’re sure to find mouth-watering vegetarian dishes in Singapore. A popular dish is Roti Prata, which is essentially a fried flatbread that you can dip in a vegetarian curry such as Dhal. If you’re not looking for a savoury prata, there’s also sweet prata with flavours such as chocolate, banana or sugar for you to enjoy.
Another popular vegetarian dish is the vegetarian bee hoon. You can find this in hawker centres around Singapore, and most locals tend to have this for breakfast. Bee hoon is a white noodle that can be either thin or thick, the noodles are usually fried, and a selection of vegetarian dishes and mock meat are added to the bee hoon.
There are plenty of other popular vegetarian dishes available from gado-gado, to Nasi Padang, and Popiah. Depending on what you’re craving, the options available are endless.
Popular Vegetarian Restaurants in Singapore
If you’re thinking of going vegetarian, and you’re not sure where to start, heading online to check out some vegetarian recipes is a good way to get started. Not only are there plenty of recipes and advice available online, sometimes you may even get a meal plan guide that will help you get started.
Don’t feel like cooking your own food? Not to worry, there are plenty of vegetarian restaurant options available outside. If you’re heading to a hawker centre, there are plenty of vegetarian options available as most Chinese stalls try to cater to this lifestyle. Indian vegetarian eateries are also very common in Singapore, however, some of them do use cream, dairy or ghee in their cooking. Hence, it’s best to clarify before placing your order.
If you’re looking for a vegetarian Indian restaurant, check out Kailash Parbat Restaurant, and chow down it’s signature dish – chole bhatura. If you want a mix of East and West with a bit of a twist, Elemen is a fantastic restaurant to head to. Enjoy a range of dishes from a wild mushroom and white truffle pizza to a potato ball with red rice roll. Finally, if you’re looking for something that has a comfortable aesthetic and uses ingredients that are sustainably sourced and largely organic, Real Food is the place to be. Either than offering up fresh juices, they also have some brilliant dumplings and flavourful curry noodles. Discover more vegetarian restaurants on foodpanda!