Friday, August 1, 2014

Traveling Vegan in Singapore


I have visited several Asian cities and have to say that for vegetarians and vegans, Singapore is the place to go.   The city-state of Singapore is just above the equator and is situated between Malaysia and Indonesia.  English is widely spoken as it is one of the four official languages (English, Chinese, Malay, Tamil) and you will hear a multitude of other languages spoken everywhere you go.  
One of the colonial districts in Singapore could be a scene from Europe.

What is surprising about this city is that it completely feels like the west.  I often wondered if I was back in Toronto as it is very orderly, clean, and incredibly multicultural.  
Singapore hosts a mosaic of cultures from all over the world which makes eating out incredibly exciting.  Flavours and spices from everywhere! A great way to sample different treats is to visit one of the many hawkers’ markets, which is basically a market of fast food, but really good, fresh and clean fast food.  In these markets, there are usually a few vegetarian and vegan only stalls that sell Buddhist vegan fare such as mock meats, vegetables, noodles and rice, and food that is often garlic and onion free.  I had the tastiest tofu and mock pork in one of these from a Chinese vendor which used an amazing spice blend which contained a generous amount of star anise.  (Star anise is now on my shopping list.) 
An ornate template facade in Singapore's Little India.
Little India is also a great place to find vegan and vegetarian food.  I have never seen so many signs with the words “vegetarian restaurant.”  There are at least 2 per block, which I thought was quite impressive.  Indian food varies in price and is generally not as cheap as the hawker markets.   Even if you are not a fan of Indian cuisine, it is well worth visiting little India to see the vibrantly painted buildings and temples.  I felt like I was walking through a city of rainbows. 
The city has excellent parks, and walking is easy and very stimulating as everything in this city is beautiful with a mixture of futuristic architecture and colourfully painted colonial buildings line the streets.  Before visiting Singapore, I had only heard about how expensive it was.  Yes, hotels cost a lot in this city, but eating out and transport costs next to nothing.  The city is also a major airport hub to many other Asian countries and flights are usually quite inexpensive in this part of the world, making Singapore a possibility for a short stop over.
I look forward to visiting this city again in the future, even if it is just to eat amazing vegan food. 

Kristofir encounters vibrant colours in Singapore's Little India.
Festival shopping in tropical December.

A very modern shopping centre in the heart of Singapore.
Kristofir and Christopher in the chrome of the financial district.

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