So, you've just joined the growing ranks of vegetarians across the globe. The decision may be easy but putting it into practice, especially during Chinese New Year (CNY) and the accompanying indulgent feasting, can be hard. Your aunt loves her char siew, while ah gong insists on a roast duck during reunion dinner. And don’t even question your uncle on how prosperous a whole fish he would like served. So, how do you and your plant-based proclivities fit in?
Here is a list of restaurants that offer innovative veggie options on their menus that even meat-lovers can get behind, alongside a hearty CNY menu filled with the usual reunion dinner dishes, no less. Now everyone, from the vegetarian to the carnivore, can usher in the Year Of the Pig happy and be deliciously fed.
CRYSTAL JADE PALACE
WHY: This popular tried-and-tested chain offers menus billed on a per person basis, which means families can have the option to choose between vegetarian and non-vegetarian sets without much fuss.
WHERE: #04-19, Ngee Ann City, www.crystaljade.com, tel: 6735 2388
FOR THE VEGETARIANS: Try their S$88++ per person set menu, which offers up gems like Double-boiled Assorted Wild Ceps Soup, Sauteed Asparagus with Black Fungus and Lily Bulb, Poached Baby Greens with Hong Kong Fresh Beancurd Skin & Wolfberries, and "Orh Nee" with Pumpkin and Gingko Nuts topped with Homemade Coconut Ice Cream.
FOR THE MEAT-LOVERS: Group executive chef Martin Foo's progressive Chinese cuisine offers up a Crispy Hokkaido Scallop Stuffed with Black Moss Prawn Paste Coated with Salted Egg Yolk (S$16.80 per person); Grilled Iberico Pork Collar Honey Char Siew with Black Bean Sauce (S$30 per portion) and Stir-Fried South America Sea Cucumber with Scallion and Leek (S$38 per portion).
WHY: A go-to for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike because they serve premium plant-based wholesome meals that are strictly free of stodgy mock meats that are perfect for the health-conscious.
WHERE: Outlets at Millenia Walk, Harbourfront Centre and Thomson Plaza, www.elemen.com.sg, tel: 6238 0511
FOR VEGETARIANS: Try the eight-course menu (S$42.80++ per person), which includes heady highlights like Double-boiled Truffle Soup, a delicate Homemade Soft Edamame Tofu with Pan-fried Oyster Mushrooms, a charcoal-marinated Yam Ring with Vegetables, Lotus Rice with Porcini Mushrooms, and Golden Nian Gao with Coconut Ice Cream. There is also the Prosperity Truffle Yu Sheng which features konnyaku “salmon” slices, drizzled with home-made sour plum sauce infused with truffle oil and topped with lush black truffle slices which comes in two sizes. (S$38.80++ / S$48.80++ )
FOR MEAT-LOVERS: See above. The menu will appeal to both sides of the aisle.
WHY: Named after the Min River in China, this award-winning restaurant serves Cantonese and Sichuan cuisines, along with delicious dim sum.
WHERE: Goodwood Park Hotel, www.goodwoodparkhotel.com, tel: 6730 1704
FOR THE VEGETARIANS: The Joyous Harmony Vegetarian Set (S$588++ per table of six persons / S$888++ per table of 10 persons) offers up delights like Braised Bamboo Pith, Vegetarian Sea Cucumber and Beancurd in Claypot, Vegetarian Goose, Sichuan Red Bean Paste Pancake and Rice Crisp with Vegetarian Sichuan Hot and Sour Soup.
FOR THE MEAT-LOVERS: Try the mouth-watering Slow-braised Pig’s Trotter with Abalone and Sea Treasures in Claypot (S$298++ for six people), Claypot Reunion Rice brimming with preserved Chinese pork sausages. liver,waxed duck leg and pork belly (S$78++ for four to six people) and the Prosperity Sea Treasures in Wooden Pot (or pen cai) filled with abalones, homemade roast pork, fresh scallops, prawns, fish maw, sea cucumber,dried oysters,Tianjin cabbage and black moss (S$398++ for six persons).
WHY: Elegant cuisine delivered with impeccable service that is swift, earnest and efficient.
WHERE: Fullerton Hotel, www.jaderestaurant.com, tel: 6877 8911
FOR THE VEGETARIANS: Try either of their vegetarian sets. The S$88++ per person set includes a Vegetarian Yu Sheng, Spicy and Sour Soup, Crispy Yam Fish with Sweet and Sour sauce and Cream of Almond with Nian Gao. The S$98++ set also comes with Yu Sheng but ups the game with a delectable Double Boiled Cordycep and Cabbage Soup with Vegetarian Dumplings alongside Stir-fried Vegetables in Truffle Jus, Braised Bamboo Pith, Rice with Vegetables, and Eight Treasures Soup with Tang Yuan and Pan Fried Nian Gao.
FOR THE MEAT LOVERS: Try their S$S128 ++ per person set menu (minimum two to dine), which includes winners like Roasted Duck in "Secret Recipe" and Wok-fried Boston Lobster with White Fungus and Salted Clam in Spring Onion and Ginger. Another highlight is the Stewed Pork Belly with Lotus Seed served with Steamed Bun (S$18 per person / S$44 per portion) which can be ordered off the a la carte menu.
WHY: Upscale and plush Cantonese restaurant where you are assured a comfortable dining experience without having to jostle for tables or attention.
WHERE: The St Regis Singapore, www.yantingrestaurant.com, tel: 6506 6852
FOR THE VEGETARIANS: This eight-course set menu priced at S$118++ per person includes Double-boiled Bamboo Pith Consomme with Morel and Cabbage, Stir-fried Chinese Yam with Lily Bulbs and Pumpkin, as well as Braised Mock Abalone with Seasonal Greens.
FOR THE MEAT-LOVERS: Select from four different six-course set menus priced from S$138.00++ per person, featuring delicacies such as Braised Sea Cucumber with Parma Ham and Cabbage in Golden Broth, Pan-seared Kurobuta Pork with Homemade Sauce and Braised Japanese Noodles with Crab Meat.