This delicious food guide for South East Asia is what all vegetarians have been waiting for

Tripoto
8th Oct 2016

If you are a vegetarian traveller in South East Asia, you don’t have to just live on tofu and bean sprouts. Here’s the ultimate and yummiest hack for herbivores. By Sangeetha Ranganath

Photo of This delicious food guide for South East Asia is what all vegetarians have been waiting for 1/1 by Travel+Leisure India & South Asia
Pad Thai inBangkok, Thailand. Image Credits : QUYNH ANH NGUYEN/GETTYIMAGES

BANGKOK

The Tip: Shrimp, shrimp-paste, fish and oyster oil/sauce are commonly used in Thai cooking. When ordering, make sure to call out for these to not be added. Also, mushrooms and eggs (especially in fried rice) come without warnings. Specify your requirements anyway.

SOM TAM

The vegetarian version of the salad has no shrimps. Instead, som tam is a tangy, spicy mix of unripe green papaya, lime, palm sugar, chilli, and peanuts.

PAD THAI

Stir-fried rice noodles, flavoured with tamarind pulp, vegetables, red chillies, and palm sugar, pad Thai is a common find across the city.

KHAO PHAT CHE

Fried rice—ubiquitous in all regions across Thailand, is made with Thai Jasmine rice and vegetables, and served with a side of lemon, cucumber, tomato, spring onion, and coriander.

THAI CURRY

We have all tried the Indian version of Thai curry. Here you’ll find a curry of lighter consistency, in standard red, yellow, and green, served with steamed rice.

THAI STICKY RICE PUDDING

Eaten at breakfast or for dessert, served warm or cold, the sweet dish is made from glutinous white or black rice and coconut milk, and topped with coconut cream, fruits, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

EAT HERE

Moon Bar + Nahm

After a sunset drink on the 61st floor of Moon Bar (banyantree.com), walk across to Nahm for dinner. Nahm has consistently been up there with the world’s best Thai restaurants (comohotel.com).

Bamboo Bar + Terrace Rim Naam

Bamboo Bar in Mandarin Oriental is a landmark in Bangkok. Head here for pre-dinner cocktails before moving across the Chayo Praya River on a boat to the the Terrace Rim Naam for al fresco dining with sweeping views of the cityscape (mandarinoriental.com).

Book Shop Bar + La Na Thai Restaurant

Have a drink at Book Shop. Designed by Ashley Sutton, this bar boasts flying bookshelves and books that are suspended mid-air, quite like the world of Harry Potter.

(Sukhumvit Soi 38; +66-2/187-4949). Afterwards, walk across the road to La Na Thai for dinner, a Thai house fashioned like a Caravansary: a meeting spot on the silk route (face-bangkok.com).

Chef Lan Kittichai

RESTAURANT: Issaya

SIGNATURE DISH: Banana Blossom

Chef Ian Kittichai. Image Credits : JACEK BIENIEK/ALAMY

Photo of Lan Na Thai @ Face Bangkok Sukhumvit 38 Alley Bangkok Thailand by Travel+Leisure India & South Asia

The famous Chef Ian Kittichai’s inspiration started from his mother’s kitchen. As a child he would return from school and sell the curries she prepared on his hand-pushed cart. Later he got a degree from London, and moved to Australia and France for work. Today he has cookbooks, TV shows, and restaurants.

SINGAPORE

The Tip: Do visit Little India for the Singaporean version of Tamil food served at Komala Vilas and Ananda Bhavan. However our recommendation is to find other types of local cuisine. The city boasts a rich cultural history and thus a profound gastro-diversity.

Kaya Toast

A Singaporean staple. Bread toast is spread with butter and kaya (coconut jam). Best had with Singaporean white coffee.

Kway Chap

Rice noodle strips layered with thick sauce that’s made of herbs and spices, topped with a variety meant for labourers, is now sold everywhere: hawker centres (Singapore equivalent of food courts) to top-notch restaurants.

Laksa

A spicy soup with rice vermicelli or noodles, and vegetables drowned in coconut milk of a tamarind base.

Char Kway Teo

Stir-fried flat-rice noodles made with soy oil, chillies, and one with potato is most popular veggies. The erstwhile dish meant for labourers, is now sold everywhere: hawker centres (Singapore equivalent of food courts) to top-notch restaurants.

Curry Puff

A baked pastry shell with a variety of stuffing, curry puff looks like a miniature pie. The one with potato is most popular with vegetarians.

Be Here

SkyBar offers a greatcity view of Singapore. Image Credits : COURTESY OF SKYBAR + RASAPURA MASTERS

Photo of Singapore by Travel+Leisure India & South Asia

SkyBar + Rasapura Masters

SkyBar is the rooftop bar at the Ce La Vi restaurant in Marina Bay Sands. It offers an extensive drinks menu (sg.celavi.com). Head down to Rasapura Masters, an award-winning restaurant fashioned like a series of street stalls, serving food from across South East Asia. marinabaysands.com

Supertree + Indochine

Supertree is the rooftop bar at Super Tree Grove, the tallest structure in Gardens by the Bay. Sip on refreshing drinks and take in the lovely view of the blue waters, boats, and the Singapore skyline (gardensbythebay.com.sg). Leave for IndoChine, where you can find great Asian, Western, and fusion cuisine (indochine-group.com).

Smokes and Mirrors + National Kitchen

Smokes and Mirrors is a rooftop bar, offering views of the Padang and Marina Bay Sands and is ideal for a sunset drink till the glittering lights come on (smokeandmirrors.com.sg). On the 2nd floor is National Kitchen by famous chef Violet Oon, Singapore’s answer to Julia Child (violetoon.com).

CHEF Cheryl Koh

RESTAURANT: Tarte

SIGNATURE DISH: Pistachio Tart

Image Credits: Tarte

Photo of Smoke & Mirrors Saint Andrew's Road Singapore by Travel+Leisure India & South Asia

It is not surprising that Chef Cheryl Koh, who has had experience working in two Michellin-starred Lasserre in Paris and then in Dubai’s iconic Burj Al Arab, has been honoured with the title of Asia’s Best Pastry Chef in 2016. She is fondly referred to as the ‘Queen of Tarts’ in Singapore.

VIETNAM

The Tip: The word for ‘vegetarian’ in Vietnamese is ‘chay’, but since the language is is tonal, have it written down as well.

EAT HERE

The spring rolls are unlikewhat you have back home. Image Credits: FRANCESCO PERRE/ALAMY

Photo of Vietnam by Travel+Leisure India & South Asia

Spring Rolls

The fresh spring rolls (or summer rolls) are made of rice paper and stuffed with crunchy vegetables. It is served with peanut or sweet chilli sauce.

Vegetarian Pho

A soup made with vegetarian broth, noodles, diced vegetables, tofu, ginger, and spices, all cooked together till it becomes a broth.

Banh-Mi

A must try. Banh-mi is a Frenchstyle baguette with a Vietnamese twist. Mayonnaise, tofu, pickled carrots (daikon), cucumber, cilantro, and jalapeño are the typical fillings.

Ca Ri Chay

The flavourful curry with the goodness of wholesome vegetables, coupled with Vietnamese curry powder, when eaten with steamed rice, hits all the right notes.

Che Chuoi

A banana tapioca pudding made of small white tapioca pearls, coconut milk, and ripe bananas, topped with nuts. It is generally eaten warm.

Be Here:

For jazz, French cuisine, and chic crowds.

Chill Sky Bar + Lemongrass

Enjoy a sunset drink at the Chill Sky Bar, a rooftop bar offering phenomenal views of the city (chillsaigon.com). A little away is Lemongrass, in a narrow shophouse in District 1. Listen to live music and enjoy a candle light dinner through your Vietnamese dinner that has a French touch (lemongrasssaigon.com).

Cuc Gach Quan + Sax N Art

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s visit to Cuc Gach Quan in 2010 put this restaurant on the world map. Set in an old French Colonial house, it prides itself on fresh, countrysidestyle cooking (cucgachquan.com.vn). Post dinner, head to the best jazz club in town, Sax N Art, where you canenjoy contemporary jazzwith Vietnamese influences(saxnart.com).

Temple Club

A sophisticated, chic joint in a converted Chinese temple, Temple Club serves delicious cocktails and Vietnamese fusion food. templeclub.com.vn

CHEF LUKE NGUYEN

RESTAURANT: Ngon


SIGNATURE DISH: Vegetarian Pho Broth

A Vietnamese-Australian chef, Nguyen first opened the Red Lantern in Sydney in 2002 and offered a modern Vietnamese cuisine, with the help of a bunch of family recipes. It became an instant hit. Now, his Vietnamese restaurant in Frogtown offers a mix of Fresh- Vietnamese food in a farm-to-fork concept.

BALI

The Tip: Revealing Bali’s best side are raw food restaurants, vegan establishments, and organic markets when youwant to cook your own meal. Relax, you’re meat-proof.

Nasi Goreng is servedin a banana leaf. Image Credits: CPC PHOTO/ALAMY

Photo of Temple Club, Tôn Thất Thiệp, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Travel+Leisure India & South Asia

Bakwan Jagung

Corn fritters. This snack made with corn, onions, celery, and garlic, is found at street corners as well as posh restaurants and serves as a quick midday snack.

Vegetarian Mie or Nasi Goreng

‘Mie’ or noodles, ‘nasi’ or rice, ‘goreng’ or fried. An Indonesian favourite, yellow noodle or white rice is stir-fried with shallots, spices, and vegetables.

Gado Gado

A speciality peanut sauce served over boiled vegetables and rice. While it sounds simple, the peanut sauce is made with the right blend of spices, shallot, palm sugar, and other secret ingredients that render it delicious.

Sayur Lodeh

A soup made with vegetables, like raw jackfruit, eggplant, tofu, shallots, and beans in a coconut milk broth. You can have it as is or with steamed rice.

Klepon

Indonesian dessert. A boiled rice cake is stuffed with gula jawa (liquid palm sugar rolled in grated coconut) and flavoured with paste made from pandan leaves.

Be Here

Rock Bar + Damar Terrace

Rock Bar is the sunset hotspot in Bali at the base of the Ayana resort, and at the edge of a 14-metre-high cliff rock overlooking the Indian Ocean. Sip exotic coctails as you see the surreal colours light up the sky at dusk. Head to Damar Terrace within the same resort. Encompassed by lily ponds, the restaurant offers Asian food, including local specialities, prepared fresh.(ayanaresort.com)

Potato Head Beach Club. Image Credits : COURTESY OF POTATO HEAD BEACH CLUB

Photo of Damar Terrace, Jimbaran, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia by Travel+Leisure India & South Asia

Sarong

One of Asia’s finest restaurants, Sarong, offers signature dishes from all over Asia, and has a separate vegetarian menu (sarongbali.com).

Potato Head Beach Club

The flagship property in Seminyak is right on the beach, with incomparable views of the ocean. The complex houses two restaurants, two bars, an infinity pool and live music (ptthead.com).

Warung Bodag Maliah by Sari Organik

Watching the sun set over the hills behind the rice fields while you down your meal that’s prepared with the freshest of ingredients. You can even pick your veggies from the farm if you like (Jl. RayaTjampuhan, Ubud;+62 03617801839).

CHEF Chris Salan

CHEF Chris Salan. Image Credits : COURTESY OF MOZAIC BALI

Photo of This delicious food guide for South East Asia is what all vegetarians have been waiting for by Travel+Leisure India & South Asia

RESTAURANT: Mozaic-Bali

SIGNATURE DISH: Shaved Fennel with Kaffir Lime American Chef Chris Salan trained in Cordon Bleu and worked in Michelin star restaurants of Paris and New York, before publishing several cookbooks that have been widely received. His restaurant, Mosaic, has won prestigious awards, including the Best Asian restaurant in the World Gourmet Summit, 2015. He is also a jury member of Top Chef Indonesia.

The Philippines

Eggplant Adobo

A great dish for you to get a typical taste of the Filipino cuisine. The eggplant is seared in oil, braised in a mix of soy sauce, garlic, and vinegar. The moist heat and slow-cooking makes it a flavourful comfort dish when paired with rice.

Veggie Sisig

Sisig is a popular sour appetiser that originated from the culinary capital of the Philippines: Pampanga. Sometimes served as a main, it is usually meat-based. The veg version is a spicy combination of shitake and tofu.

Togue Guisado

Sauteed mungbean with carrots, green onion, and fried tofu, the dish is usually served with rice.

Togue Guisado is refreshing on a hot day. Image Credits: Hi Rechel

Photo of This delicious food guide for South East Asia is what all vegetarians have been waiting for by Travel+Leisure India & South Asia

Ginataang Kalabaasa

‘Ginataang’ refers to food cooked in coconut milk. It’s a rich, thick, and creamy dish cooked with squash and string beans.

Ginatang Langka

Simply put, it is jackfruit in creamy coconut sauce. The avour usually comes from the salted dry sh or shrimp cubes, but the veg alternative with lemongrass and chilli is equally tempting.

Be Here

Pull up your sleeves and dig into the comfort of Asian food.

Sarsa Kitchen & Bar

SARSA by Chef JP Anglo is a legendary joint providing Filipino and Negrense Food with contemporary touches. He is best known as a judge for the Master Chef Pinoy Edition and for his modern resto bar, MuShu Asian Restaurant & Lounge in Bacolod. The Forum, Federacion, BGC, Taguig, Manila; +63-927 /706-0773

Soil Modern Dining

A new restaurant which seems to take up the best of the industrial trends still prevalent in 2016 Manila. Chef Lorenzo Pimentel, who has spent time in Singapore’s Pollen and Esquina among others, uses a modern plating technique-oriented combination of Asian avours in European dishes. Unit 16, Molito Lifestyle Bldg, Madrigal Ave. cor. Alabang- Zapote Road, Alabang, Muntinlupa.

Manam

From the founders of Ooma and 8Cuts, Manam serves both traditional and modern Filipino comfort food. Their House Crispy Sisig is arguably the best in Manila. Manam, G/F Net Park Building, 4th Ave corner 27th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

A crowd gathers at Manam. Image Credits: Manam

Photo of Manam, 4th Avenue, Taguig, NCR, Philippines by Travel+Leisure India & South Asia

CHEF Marie Gonzalez

CONCEPT: Kitchen Revolution

SIGNATURE DISH: Vegetable Glass Noodle Salad

With a culinary degree from the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Clinary Arts in New York, Chef Gonzalez looks for innovative ways of cooking vegetarian food. She has appeared on a number of news and lifestyle channels like ABS-CBN Green Living and Urban Myx, and o ers culinary classes and workshops on holistic, vegan cuisine.

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