The trend of restaurants offering robust vegetarian options has been picking up steam in recent years, and shows no signs of slowing down. Gone are the days where herbivores had to contend with a side salad or a plain pasta.
Now, popular restaurants such as Super Loco have plans to tweak their menus so that up to 50% of their dishes will be plant-based in the near future, while even chains such as Starbucks are upping their game by offering plant-based options from the likes of Oatly, Omnipork and Beyond Meat across its outlets in China. Sushi Tei also announced plans to launch its first-ever plant-based seasonal menu as part of a collaboration with Country Foods and Growthwell Group, available from 26 August to 13 October in all its outlets.
This move isn’t just good for the environment – there are also economic benefits. According to market research firm Euromonitor International, four of the top five global vegetarian markets are in Asia, which means there is potential for incredible growth in the sector.
Whether you’re a devout plant-eater or only dabble in the occasional Meatless Monday, here are four new spaces in Asia for you to satiate your veggie cravings.
The no-pork, no-lard Thai restaurant at Park Hotel Farrer Park has introduced more plant-based dishes into their repertoire, such as three bento boxes created especially for vegetarians and vegans and two vegan and gluten-free soups. The vegetarian fried rice with Quorn nuggets ($15nett), contains deep-fried Quorn nuggets, fragrant fried rice with a variety of vegetables and egg (you can request for the removal of the egg), a serving of stir-fried seasonal vegetables and tofu, and mini mango sticky rice for dessert. The vegan Heura Red Curry ($18nett) has a flavourful base of housemade red curry paste and coconut milk with sweet and sour notes of pineapple, grape and lychee together with Heura plant-based chunks, and is served with Blue Jasmine rice, crispy vegetarian spring rolls and mini mango sticky rice. On 10 October, Blue Jasmine is offering all of its bento boxes (both vegan and non-vegan) at $10nett. Available from 11am to 9pm.
This new kid on the block offers contemporary Chinese vegetarian cuisine in cheerful, pastel-hued interiors. Tuck into equally colourful dishes such as Amazing Maize, comprising grilled sweet corn, celtuce, black fungus, quinoa and sesame dressing, or the Flower Bouquet, where pickled cucumber, beetroot, shiitake mushroom, julienned carrot and cabbage come wrapped in a spring-roll sheet.
The Island of the Gods has no dearth of vegan restaurants, but this new player promises to be a game changer. Situated within Desa Potato Head, the lifestyle destination that houses arts, restaurants and accommodation under one roof, Tanaman uses organic plant-based ingredients to create traditional Indonesian dishes. Look forward to dishes such as jackfruit rendang, where the spice paste is painstakingly cooked for 16 hours, or the Bakcang Jengkol, a Chinese-influenced dish of stuffed rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves. Instead of the usual meat stuffing, their version is packed with a bitter bean braised in a spice-infused sauce and served with a side of crispy coconut. Don’t leave without trying their botanical cocktails and house-made kombucha.
Located on the charming Phang Ka Bay on the island of Samui, Avani+ Samui Resort is a popular destination for couples and families alike. The resort has recently introduced the wellness-focused Ko Ko, which serves only plant-based ingredients, many sourced from the property’s garden and a nearby coconut plantation. Enjoy fresh salads and sandwiches, refreshing acai bowls packed with superfoods as well as plant-based protein burgers and gluten-free and vegan cakes.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for operating hours before visiting. Do also remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.
*This piece was first published on 25 August 2020.