In a time when food security, sustainability and supply chain issues are more salient than ever, the relevance of plant-based eating has reached a new high. For those of us not quite ready to take the plunge into full-scale veganism, there is a bit of good news—reducetarianism is on the rise. The term, which describes a conscious attempt to lower consumption of animal products, aims to destigmatise part-time veganism while bringing to light the benefits of simply reducing your meat consumption.
This means that eating plant-based just three days of your week is a worthy effort in the grand scheme of things. If you go out for dinner and order family-style, consider choosing fewer meat-based items in favour of plant-based dishes, or swap out your beef burger for an Impossible patty. And now, with meatless eating sweeping across restaurants and grocers on the island at record speed, that should be an easier endeavour than ever before. Here, find the most exciting new developments in plant-based dining in Singapore—from product innovation to meatless menus.
If your issue with plant-based meats is that they often taste too ambiguous, take a bite of TiNDLE—and you will be hard-pressed to deny that it tastes, looks and feels like chicken. Made entirely from non-GMO and plant-based ingredients, this new faux chicken from Singapore-based firm Next Gen Foods is making waves on the menus of several prominent local restaurants like Three Buns and Adda. If you are visiting the former, try chef Adam Penney’s meatless spin on a Kiev burger entitled ‘From Russia with Love’, which features a succulent breadcrumbed TiNDLE patty stuffed with roasted garlic, miso and parsley butter, sandwiched between demi-brioche buns alongside pickled onions and truffle aioli. Each bite explodes with flavour and texture, and even as you eat yourself into a food-coma, you’ll never know that it isn’t real chicken.
Find out more at tindle.com
Local start up Karana is changing the game when it comes to plant-based meats—their first product, a faux pork, is made entirely from young jackfruit. What sets Karana’s pork apart from other mock meats is the simplicity of its composition and the minimal processing it goes through before reaching your plate. Their secret? Innovative mechanical techniques that enhance the texture of the naturally meat-like ingredient. Passionate about finding sustainable food sources and supporting farmers, Karana gets their young jackfruit from small holder farms in Sri Lanka. Available now at Candlenut, Butcher Boy, Open Farm Community, Morsels, Atout and Grain Traders, you can try the meatless pork prepared in a diverse range of ways across the island. Our personal recommendation is Chef Malcolm Lee’s Karana Ngo Hiang at Michelin-star Peranakan restaurant Candlenut. Rich, earthy and complex, it’s the perfect dish to showcase Karana’s versatility.
Find out more at eatkarana.com
A mainstay in the local culinary scene, fans of Violet Oon will be glad to know that the decorated restaurant is now serving an extended plant-based menu in its Clarke Quay home of flame-grilled delights, Violet Oon Satay Bar & Grill. While Asian cuisines naturally lend themselves well to plant-based eating, consciously including meatless dishes on the menu means that diners who wouldn’t normally consider eating plant-based can now try these dishes—ultimately, reducing animal product consumption on the whole. Prepared with Violet Oon’s signature explosive flavour and finesse, stand-out items to try include a particularly addictive Eggplant Goreng Dip with Emping Crackers, alongside the savoury and moreish Mushroom Pong Tay, a meatless rendition of the beloved Peranakan classic Babi Pong Tay made with succulent Shiitake Mushrooms and bamboo shoot braised in a rich soybean stew. And for true fans of Peranakan cuisine, don’t miss out on the Buah Keluak Fried Rice—rich with the nutty, complex flavour of candlenut, it’s a dish that’ll keep you diving back for more.
Violet Oon Satay Bar & Grill, 3B River Valley Rd, Singapore 179021
Baker & Cook
You’ll find branches of well-loved artisanal bakery and café Baker & Cook peppered across the island, but the most scenic one is undoubtedly their glasshouse-esque location at Dempsey Hill. Now, sourdough aficionados have one more reason to visit—their new plant-based menu featuring an assortment of meatless dishes, each one delectable and perfect for a Sunday brunch. You’ll find Impossible meat used in a variety of ways on this menu—from a sausage roll stuffed with meatless mince, white onions, button mushrooms, garlic and roasted cashew nuts, to a hearty Impossible burger enhanced with sautéed mushrooms and a delicious vegan truffle mayo. The real star on the menu, however, features a distinctively Asian flavour. The Thai Green Curry Pot Pie is rich and punchy, featuring pumpkin, eggplant and snow peas cooked in a fragrant coconut gravy that is ultimately clothed in a sunflower seed-studded vegan pastry skin.
Baker & Cook, 30C Loewen Road, Singapore 248839