Singapore: Everything Also Must Try!
An important point to keep in mind regarding online
listings is that only restaurants,
not hawker stalls, have a presence on the Net. And everyone agrees that you
haven't tasted Singapore until you've tasted the hawker food. Obviously,
restaurants boasting of chefs from Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Shanghai may have
fine food but will not offer much opportunity to sample local tastes (although
it is an interesting statement that a country that is over 70% Chinese imports
Chinese chefs). Singapore's tricultural flavour is best sampled at the hawker
stalls. Another point to bear in mind is that while Singapore's Chinese
vegetarian restaurants are not as expensive as Hong Kong's, a plate of fried
rice or greens will cost you 2-3 times what it would in a hawker stall.
A fine place to start tasting Singapore's hawker-style Chinese vegetarian
food is right in Singapore's acclaimed Changi Airport.
Ci Xin is located at Stall #17 in the Food Court on Floor 3M of
Terminal 2. Use the lift near the center of the car park.
Macpherson Food Center merits special mention.
Although it's far from anything of interest to most tourists
(in the heart of housing blocks), it is a great place to sample
a wide range of dishes because there is an unusually high
concentration of vegetarian stalls there. And - best of all - it
is open late, a rarity (heresy?) for vegetarian eateries.
Also, since it is open-air it's a cool place to
hang out and check out the lively illegal betting action, the late-night
kung-fu TV serials, or just chat with any of the locals who
will be curious to know how a tourist ended up there.
This (along with Geylang) is Singapore's equivalent of
Italy's piazzas, retaining a spicy, raw
evocative power while too much of Singapore surges toward a bland vision of
upmarket nirvana. Hopefully,
Singapore filmmakers will one day "get their act together" to showcase
this unique setting, as Hong Kong filmmakers have successfully done for
their turf, so that the world can discover that, when it comes to funkiness,
Singapore "also can".
Grand Court has a lunch buffet that is my favourite Singapore meal out.
Fill up for less than S$14 (about US$8 at S$1.74 exchange rate). Everything
also must try! Always a few hawker stall specialties (rojak, mee
siam) on offer. Good location on Orchard Road at Somerset MRT. Friendly service.
popularized the Chinese vegetarian buffet in Singapore and is still
the leader. You won't find many tourists there as it's set in Singapore's
heartland: the "Old Town" of Toa Payoh.
It's fun to watch the crowds enjoying themselves, even though the video
karaoke (and sometimes live karaoke supplied by customers) may not
be to everyone's taste. It is definitely a taste of "authentic modern local
culture", as the guide books might say. Owner of Grand Court used to
manage here before setting off on his own. The best food seems to have
followed him. Call before going, as it's often booked for weddings.
Avoid the Albert St. complex branch - the food and atmosphere is uninspired.
is pricey, but worth it. Very fine food, more Chinese (Shanghai chef) than
Singaporean though. Usually busy, but efficient service. Food and service
feels more like Hong Kong than Singapore. Good place for "authentic" Chinese -
if you can't get to Hong Kong, Taipei or Shanghai.
has good food and service. Hong Kong and Taiwan chefs here means food tends
to be more Chinese than Singaporean. Another good place for "authentic"
Chinese when you can't make it to Hong Kong, Taipei or Shanghai.
is a bit pricey and outside tourist areas, but worth checking out if you're
nearby, escaping the city in the parks at Bukit Timah or MacRitchie Reservoir.
Good selection of local-style noodles.
Fo You Yuan
is located in Singapore's colourful and lively red-light district of Geylang,
one of a few areas in Singapore where chatting, strolling, and
people-watching are 24-hour activities. Rather pricey, but I like the sushi
and sharks fin soup.
Wu Liang Shou
is part of a Taiwanese chain. They all have nice decor and prices to match.
I found the food in the Singapore branch to be not quite up to par with
either their Taiwanese siblings or other Singapore eateries. However, it
is in Geylang and open late.
Lao Di Fang
is a snack and tea house with very late hours.
advertises, "Arguably, the best vegetarian restaurant in Singapore located in
the heart of dazzling Orchard Road." I'm not sure whether they're claiming to
be the best vegetarian restaurant in Singapore (which I would emphatically
argue against), or simply the best one in the heart of Orchard Road (which
I would also argue against, since it is not near the Orchard MRT - the real
"heart" of Orchard). Maybe they merely mean to say they're the only
Chinese vegetarian restaurant in that area. However, I tried it twice and
could find little basis for any claim to fame. When I'm in that neighbourhood
looking for food, I just head across the street to the very fine Indian
vegetarian restaurant, Bombay Woodlands, which will prepare meals without
onion and garlic on request.
South East Asia hotel
boasts, "The hotel also operates the Kwan Im Vegetarian Restaurant, one of
the finest vegetarian restaurants in Singapore. "
And they don't even say "arguably". As far as I can see, this place thrives on
the bimonthly prayer day crowds. At other times it can be quite deserted,
except for occasional unwitting tourists. Try it and you'll find out why.
Restaurant Catalogs Online
Eat.Net - Vegetarian Cuisine
is an excellent page that is a good starting point as it includes hours,
recommended dishes, and detailed transport info (bus number AND directions).
Listing includes Nanking Court, one of my favourites.
I find the Thai fried rice (really local fried rice with some pineapple, but
delicious nontheless) and crispy noodles very special.
Open a bit later than most, so a place to head for when it's getting late.
Call first, however, as they sometimes close early if there's no business.
The Green Book: Restaurants in Singapore,
the Mother of All Singapore Restaurant Lists.
Select Restaurants: Chinese - Vegetarian (could it get any simpler?).
Returns 11 entries, including:
- Loke Woh Yuen
Good food with a distictive local flavour, friendly service, reasonable prices.
- Hong Kong Bodhi
Good food, lackadaisical service, out of tourist area but near MacRitchie
and Pierce Reservoirs.
- Fut Sai Kai
Seem to be listed in every tourist guide. Boring food.
But what kind of Chinese food do you expect to find in the heart of
Little India? However, they've been around awhile, so someone must like it.
- Happy Realm, in the heart of Chinatown. Boring. But they've been
going for some time now, so ... Surprisingly, it's not easy to find Chinese
vegetarian food in Singapore's Chinatown. But why does a country that is over
70% Chinese have a Chinatown anyway? Head for nearby Dragon Park or
Loke Woh Yuen instead.
Singapore Vegetarian Restaurants
is a neat page with 33 Indian and Chinese entries.
- Yes, there's even a
Yahoo category for Singapore Vegetarian Restaurants
has 8 links on this vegetarian page.
Singapore Unofficial Food page
has 6 links to vegetarian restaurants.
World Guide to Vegetarianism: Singapore
is thoroughly confusing: 3 headings - "Vegan", "Vegetarian",
Restaurants described as"Chinese" or "Asian/Chinese" are listed under "Vegan".
Those described as "Chinese vegan" are listed under "Vegetarian".
The vegetarian restaurant Bombay Woodlands is listed under
But hey, this is the Web. Who's got time to make sense?
LinseLA's Vegie Guide to Singapore
left me rather disappointed - I expected more info from a local - but contact
info is included.
Restaurants in Singapore .
Search for "vegetarian" returns 12 Chinese entries.
Ipoh is a compact, industrial city with few tourist attractions.
But for vegetarians who appreciate the breadth of Chinese cuisine,
Ipoh is not to be missed if you're in Malaysia. Vegetarian eateries are easy to
find in the downtown area, as many Buddhists journey to shrines nearby.
While the dishes
are generally familiar Hong Kong-style Cantonese favourites, they're
done in the unique style of the area.
Most of the restaurants listed below appear on Ipoh Online.
|Restoran Sayuran Chuk Lung
||Jln Chung Thye Phin & Jln Kampar
||Lunch and Dinner
|Guilin Vegetarian Restaurant
||Jln Che Tak
|Hong Kong Mee
|Yue Loy Chai Rumah Sayuran
||25 Jln Chung Thye Phin
||Lunch and Dinner
no English menu
|Not special and relatively overpriced
|Sin Meng Kee Vegetarian Restaurant
||Jln Foo Choo Choon & Jln Datuk Onn Jaafar
||52 Jln Bandar Timah
|Boon Lai Vegetarian
||13 Jln Leong Sin Nam
|Ipoh Vegetarian Food Centre
||75 Jln Mustapha Al-Bakri
||Replaced by seafood centre
KL Online - Restaurants in Kuala Lumpur
is essentially the only online info I could find. There is also
Kuala Lumpur@MalaysiaONE - Vegetarian Restaurants ,
but that's just a small subset of the KL Online listing.
Of the 16 restaurants
listed 10 are Chinese and 3 are Indian. The remaining ones I can't determine
from the name. In July 1998 I used this list as a starting point for
exploration. I found the list needs updating: 3 listed places ( Fook Woh
Yuen, Pinewind, The Vegetarian Restaurant ) are no longer
at the address given. I also found, surprisingly, the Chinese vegetarian
food to be consistently inferior to that found in Singapore, Penang, and
Ipoh. Judge for yourself: