New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANSlife): For many vegans, travelling can be a culinary adventure, but it can also be a challenge. From language barriers to cultural differences, navigating unfamiliar food landscapes can be difficult, especially when trying to stick to a plant-based diet. This can make travel stressful and limit the enjoyment of new experiences. But if you are visiting Singapore, that's one less thing to worry about. Whether you have dietary restrictions, want to live a meat-free, dairy-free life or simply prefer your greens, Singapore offers a plethora of vegan and vegetarian options.
The growing appetite for plant-based food around the world in the past decade or so has resulted in an unprecedented boom in vegan, vegetarian, and sustainable eateries. In fact, the Lion City -- contrary to what its name might suggest -- has almost 1,000 vegan-friendly restaurants, including 84 that define themselves as entirely vegan, according to HappyCow. You can take your pick from the amalgamation of cultural influences -- Malay, Indian, Chinese and global cuisines -- that contribute to Singapore's famously rich and diverse culinary scene.
But here's a lesser-known fact about Singapore's foodie culture: the island's rich and widely-celebrated traditional street food features a diverse array of vegan dishes, too, that are readily available in the buzzy hawker centres across the island. Check out these famous traditional bites during your Singapore sojourn!
Vegetarian Bee Hoon
When in Singapore, breakfast like the locals. Vegetarian bee hoon is a much-loved Singaporean dish that combines bee hoon noodles (rice vermicelli) and an assortment of stir-fried vegetables for a fortifying breakfast. The vegetarian dish, traditionally eaten on holy days in the Buddhist calendar -- but commonly eaten year-round for its delicious flavours -- is tasty, and easily accessible, and easy on the pocket, too. Feast on vegetarian bee hoon before you set out for a day of exploring Singapore's iconic sights and hidden gems.
*Where to eat: The hawker stalls at Bugis Street and Fortune Centre (just a 10-minute walk away from Bugis).
Kueh is a bite-sized snack or dessert found across the Malay archipelago, typically made from ingredients such as glutinous rice flour, coconut milk, and a smoky, nutty palm sugar called gula melaka. Whether steamed, baked, fried or boiled, they are typically vegan -- and gluten free, to boot -- making this colourful local dessert an unmissable treat if you are travelling to Singapore. No festive celebration on the island-nation is complete without a bite of kueh--in fact, Singapore even has a Kueh Appreciation Day (July 28)!
*Where to eat: Bengawan Solo, a much-loved Singaporean bakery chain with 45 outlets across the city.
This icy sweet treat is your perfect partner to chill on this tropical island. Singapore has some of the best spots that offer their own delicious version of this classic dessert, of Malay origin, combining shaved ice, pandan-flavoured jelly noodles, gula melaka caramel, and coconut milk. For a truly local experience, try chendol with a generous helping of the famous durian fruit.
*Where to eat: Grab a $2 of chendol from the many stalls at the Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre -- a haven for shopaholics and foodies.
Every Singaporean's favourite party snack, popiah is a soft spring roll -- consisting of a paper-thin wheat pancake wrapped around a typical filling of assorted vegetables. Popiah has its roots in the Peranakan culture, a unique blend of Chinese and Malay influences, and is a great example of the fusion of flavours and traditions that make up Singapore's culinary repertoire. As expected, it's a party in your mouth!
*Where to eat: Ann Chin Popiah has 11 outlets in Singapore; Good Chance Popiah, 149 Silat Avenue.
From popular hawker stalls to fine dining restaurants to dessert shops and patisseries -- Singapore's smorgasbord will have you reaching for seconds during every meal. Bon appetit!