Vegan in China – Weifang in Shandong

The land of Confucius, Shandong peanuts and mantous. Being a province in north China, the food can be different from what you’d associate with ‘Chinese food’, which is mostly from southern China due to the bulk of emigration from there. Wheat, in the form of bread, buns and pancake items are the staple compared to rice in the south. Weifang is a small city in Shandong hence no Happy Cow entry – but the traditional food I had at locals’ homes are worth sharing.

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Handmade by a distant aunt – wheat pancake jiazi stuffed with chives and mushrooms, cooked without oil on a metal pan. Just one is very dense and filling because it’s farmers’ food. Bread items are always eaten with millet, corn or rice porridge because they can be too dry on its own.

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Wo wo tou – steamed corn bread with a pinch of baking soda to bring out the sweetish fragrance of cornmeal and soy flour! Gluten – free. It’s meant to be conical shaped with bigger hole but my uncle was lazy! The hole can be stuffed with stir fries for a savoury bun.

Other types of steamed buns are mantous (plain wheat bun) and huajuan (spring onion and wheat twisted into a bun). What I love most about Chinese steamed breads are the simple base ingredients – yeast, wheat flour and water.  Easily vegan and goes well with any dish!

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Of course, the iconic northern food, dumplings! Making them is a family event. This is stuffed homegrown chives and gourd with tofu! Large bamboo trays are used to hold wheat – based foods because they are naturally anti-stick.

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Pickled foods are in every meal in Shandong. It can be any crisp or juicy plant from cucumber to peanuts, and fermented in water or wine. It’s VERY SALTY but also very umami – best nibbled with porridge!

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Raw, minced garlic is a popular dressing for cold dishes. There’s even a saying that Shandong people can sing well because raw garlic make voices good. This appetizing steamed french beans with garlic, sesame sauce and vinegar made by my cousin in law is creamy, tangy with the famous Shandong – grown spicy, garlicky kick.

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菇汤素食馆 (literally ‘Mushroom Soup Restaurant’. Address 高新区东方路与福寿街交叉口东南) is one of the vegetarian restaurants I visited in Weifang – the best one! Choose anything you want (The pictures show only half of the buffet) and it will be boiled in rich mushroom broth. Such an overwhelming selection of noodles, ingredients and sauces – from seitan sticks to sweet yam balls to arrowroot noodles. 99% vegan except for the (very little) mock meats!

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Lastly, 2 traditional, handmade snacks from a second-generation shop where the son learnt the art of making from his father and is continuing the tradition, but isn’t optimistic about passing onto his son. Melt-in-your-mouth, rustic green bean cake and the crispiest, most fragrant sesame candy I’ve had. Definitely supporting them the next time.

Here ends my Vegan in China series. My travel itch is still there – look forward to more discoveries! Meanwhile, recipes. Thanks for reading these long posts and hope they help in your travels!

Vegan in China – Beijing

The capital of China, other than the air pollution, it is wonderful in many ways. Strolling through hutongs you can tell the local residents really love their pets. Perfectly groomed and well-fed, even being carried in their human parents’ arms like babies.

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In one of the hutongs near Yonghe Lama Temple, there’s a vegan gem – The Veggie Table, serving an extensive menu of mostly Western food with the best environment I’ve entered in Beijing. Maybe its the air purifier, or the occasional cats running in and out, a wonderful selection of books and potted plants lining the window sills. And gosh, they are amazingly popular and almost always fully seated, sometimes by cats. Once there was a cat napping on a sofa seat and refused to move despite coaxing from many people, so the customer just got another chair!

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Everything I ate here were excellent – even better quality than what I had from similarly priced restaurants in Singapore. Wholesome, clean, and made from scratch hence a bit of a wait but definitely worth it. Plus I really appreciate the accurate English translation in their menu!

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Safe to say these are the best hummus and baba ganoush I’ve ever had!

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They have only a few soups – pumpkin, chilli, lentil, tried them all and can’t find a single fault!

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My favorite will be their fluffy cous cous with a heaping of veggies in tomato sauce with crunchy almond bits. Being someone from a tropical country, I wasn’t quite used to the too generous portions!

I truly wish there’ll be more restaurants who really care like this in China!

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‘Stumbled’ upon a new vegetarian noodle place, Good Earth, after my friend did a check for veg places near the popular Sanlitun shopping area. It’s opened by a famous food blogger and the reviews were great so we were excited to try!

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Some dishes have egg, otherwise menu is super vegan-friendly, everything exquisitely handmade. Choose your noodle type and then the sauce or soup. In a country with food safety issues, transparency is really valued. You can look through glass panels into a clean kitchen and watch chefs making your noodles. This guy here is pulling a single strand of TEN METRES long noodle from dough!

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Yes, a single strand of 10 metres long! My friend loved it. And look how big the bowls are – specially designed so that soup and sauces won’t spill out when you slurp!

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I got a warm noodle salad with sesame sauce and my friend an eggplant and tomato soup base noodle. The nice waitress told us that the soups are stewed over many hours, so flavourful that my omni friend was suprised that it’s made purely with veggies! With everything handmade and made in-house, is there’s any need to say that taste is superb and wholesome? Plus the place had clean vibes and lovely interior that made dining very pleasant. A bit hard to find being nestled in a hutong, but a MUST try in Beijing.

I greatly enjoyed the city despite being quite sick from the air. The quality food and good service was a major comfort to my swollen throat. Highly recommend to bring a N95 mask when you visit there, and a good appetite 🙂

Vegan in China – Hong Kong

2 days in Hong Kong is too short to try the 200 over veg food places! Had no problem finding nice places within walking distance wherever we were. Just don’t expect good service from most places – its all about the money!

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They have an excellent range of smoothies with no additives in every convenience shops! Envious because the only natural drink you can get in ours are overpriced coconut water and plain water D:

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From one of the canteens in Chinese University of Hong Kong, probably one of the least vegan friendly spots but they had my favourite type of noodle soup!

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And Green Fresh just happened to be right near our hotel. The staff there are superbly friendly for HK standards, welcoming me like family when I came back a second time (and literally swiped their desserts).

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Generally their mains are on the very healthy side, less oil, salt, seasoning etc. A bit light for salt loving person like me, but you can feel each dish is refined and detailed. This refreshing pesto rice was my fav!

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The absolute BEST is their sweets. Cakes, puddings, mango tarts, muffins..they have something new every couple of days!

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The raw ones are so-so, but the tarts..are the BEST vegan fruit tarts I had! The crust perfectly crumbles and melts in your mouth with generous amount of whipped cream.

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Chanced upon Gaia Veggie Restaurant while in bustling city area of Nathan road. Typical Buddhist Cantonese vegetarian style with lots of mock meat dishes. I feel it’s pretty overpriced for the average quality. One thing I didn’t enjoy was the fact that the ever-smiling and polite staff didn’t tell us the 3 dishes we ordered for 2 is enough for 5! Capitalism at its finest 🙂

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Po Lin Vegetarian is a small restaurant selling traditional Cantonese dishes with good portions and prices. Taste wise is average to me since we also have plenty of Cantonese food in Singapore.

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But wow, the mouth-watering selection of traditional sweets and cakes surprised me again! Rice dumplings, sticky rice cakes, mooncakes, jellies and pastries shaped like ducks and lotus! (Non-vegan butter may be used in some baked items so I avoided them.)

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These were some excellent sweets and cakes. I got the coconut jelly cake, glutinous rice balls of peanut, red bean and sesame fillings, savoury seaweed sticky rice roll and lotus paste wife cake. Compared to those sold in supermarkets back in Singapore, everything tasted much fresher, sweetness not overdone and very, very flavourful!

Didn’t find very amazing Cantonese dishes this visit, but that’s because we have excellent ones here! But the sweets are truly not to be missed if you are visiting Hong Kong 🙂

Vegan in China – Macau

Skip the casinos and shiny hotels. Just spend a day at the Portuguese monuments. Stay in a quaint little hostel and get lost in the labyrinth of alleys. Walk, don’t take bus or you’ll miss out. Say hi to the locals because they are now on my top 3 Most Friendly Locals list (together with Philippines and Taiwan). Macau gives me this vibe that is like stepping into a photo of Singapore in the 1960s. Where everything happens on ground level, shops are so cramped with goods that they spill over on walkways with people on their daily grind making an honest living. A familiar, yet unacquainted nostalgia.

One thing about asking for directions in Macau is to show the CHINESE address or name of where you are heading, because most locals don’t speak English or Portuguese or even fluent Chinese. I had a bit of problem talking to some locals and reading signs because the main language is Cantonese and they use traditional Chinese – but everyone truly tried to be helpful!

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Here’s a famous spot – Cocos Hung Heng, a 140 year old coconut shop selling every coconut products. Address – No.14, Rua de Tercena, Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro (Chinese: 洪韾椰子, 澳門果欄街14號地下)

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Most famous is their handmade coconut ice cream which are purely natural, made fresh everyday according to their traditional recipe. Sometimes there are mango and taro flavours too! Best to come in the morning when it is the freshest and softest. The ones we had were already frozen so they were more icy. Certainly the gentlest ice cream my sensitive taste buds ever met, the mango one wins in terms of taste and coconut wins in texture!

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We accidentally stumbled upon this little vegetarian jem called Ji Xiang Cao, run by the nicest old couple where we had heartwarming encounters with locals. Strangers sharing food plus all the customers once stood up to help with directions. Since it’s not on Happy Cow I have no idea what’s the English address, but Chinese is 吉祥草素食,司打口水字巷18号虎A. Another shot of nostalgia because it was exactly like those vegetarian restaurants I had countless childhood family meals in – from the poorly photographed menu, white wall tiles with prosperity posters and the sounds of loud frying from the small kitchen – all part of this charm that we seldom find anymore in Singapore.

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It was near Dragon Boat Festival hence the sweet old lady boss proudly told us that they handmade all these savoury rice dumplings. Before serving them to us she took the plate to another table and snapped pictures of the neatly cut dumplings with her phone – then giggled shyly when we looked at her with utmost amusement! Here are my favourites from their restaurant.

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Deep fried tempura silken tofu  – MY GOD such a combination is possible! So crisp and the insides soft like custard served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce.

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Brinjal claypot is more divine than it looks!

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This is one stir fry I really liked, (They generally seem to do stew and braised dishes better). This type of green pepper is literally called tiger skin pepper maybe because of the wrinkles formed after heating them. It’s exactly the wrinkles and firm skin that gives a nice chew and retains juiciness while soaking up the fermented bean sauce.

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This was an eye-opening dish. A stew of sponge gourd and wood’s ear fungus made with the thick and creamy water from rice porridge as soup base! The warm smoothness of every spoonful is most comforting.

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A restaurant near Ruins of St Paul on a sloped street towards Monte Fort – finally somewhere easy to find! According to Happy Cow they are Feng Cheng Xuan despite having no signange other than 素 and the Buddhist swastikas which signifies vegetarian food served here. Not sure of the exact Chinese address but street name is 大炮台街.

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The staff are really helpful and nice with recommending dishes. But honestly felt some things we ordered are average, a bit oily and somewhat roughly made – but the handmade wontons were seriously good. Fat and tender, the fragrant filling of chives and minced soy ‘meat’ oozing out at each bite.

Macau had left a strong impression on me as being staunchly Cantonese – the years of Portuguese colonisation barely scratched it’s surface. You can’t feel the real Macau in those casinos and renovated monuments scrubbed clean of any traces of use! One day I’ll be back with my camera, and hopefully be able to capture of the perseverance of their culture.

Vegan in China – Kaiping, Guangdong

A short post from my short stay at Kaiping, a small town in South China with a UNESCO heritage status. These are castle tower clusters from the 1920s built by rich merchants who came back from the West, hence the blend of Chinese and Western architecture. However in my books, these are the type of architecture that looks great from outside but pretty blah inside.

The landscape is the main thing making the place beautiful – lotus ponds with ducks, rice fields, smiling grandmas, wooden bridges and stone paths flanked with mango trees with a cluster of towers in the distance.

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Lots of small shops selling homemade beancurd desserts (kinda regret not trying it because I was concerned about hygiene) and wild grown jambus. (photo from mom)

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We stayed at the only hotel in this town, and for breakfast there is an interesting kueh (the Southeast Asian and Southern China term for cake). Seems to be simply rice and sugar, but baked in a tiny clay dish! Certainly had this warm, earthy taste that I’ve never experienced from our kuehs.

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Being a South Chinese town, various rice noodles are common. In their restaurant I had the BEST EVER fried hor fun (flat rice noodle). The light soy sauce not overpowering sweet crunchy onions and chives, the tender slippery noodles coated in the right amount of oil, and the wok hei – ness was so memorably perfect.

Next up, Macau!

Vegan in China – Shenzhen, Guangdong, Part 2

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Shenzhen is considered a new city by China’s historical standards, is a bustling metropolis. Located in Guangdong province and right next to Hong Kong, it is the major financial power in South China. When I visited it was lychee season, thus lychees of all sizes where at every corner.

Chains of fast food kiosks such as 邓老凉茶 (Denglao Herbal tea) and 永和豆浆 (Yong Ho Soymilk) usually have breakfasts of you tiao (fried dough fritters), mantou (plain wheat buns) bao zi (stuffed buns but commonly with meat) and dou jiang (soy milk). At one 邓老凉茶 they just happened to have yummy handmade vegetable and mushroom buns!

There are cold and hot dishes in Chinese cuisine; cold dishes are not like chilled cold but are usually pre-cooked and served at room temperature. They are mostly appetizers or sides and hence savoury-sweet and tangy. We Chinese can’t stand much cold foods so the mains are piping hot!

These are from 福田林 (Fullness Vegetarian Restaurant on Happy Cow), the best place I’ve tried in Shenzhen. Almost everything is above average and here I’m only listing the 3 cold and 3 hot dishes that blew me away!

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Smoked beancurd skin. Basically it’s the layer of protein that is formed on boiling soymilk, dried, flavoured, rolled and steamed together into a roll.

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Silken tofu with sweet soy sauce is my favourite way to tofu. Theirs redefines the meaning of soft tofu! Melts in your mouth with the savoury sweet sauce.

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Looks scary but trust me it’s the best cold dish there. Soft, slippery and springy noodles made from kudzu root tossed in a spicy soy sauce. Gluten-free too!

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Mashed yam stuffed in fried beancurd skin and soaked in sweet sour sauce. Crisp, creamy and sweet haven in a two-bite parcel.

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Zha jiang mian (fried sauce noodles) is a famous dish from China with its Korean counterpart called jajangmyeon. Here the fried sauce is excellently rendered with textured soy protein minced with lots of peppery spices and fermented bean sauce. The only thing that’s slightly unsettling was the saturated green of the spinach noodles.

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French beans stir-fried with preserved Chinese olives and fried chilli. The rustic wok hei taste was rich and the beans, so so juicy! Which is amazing considering how much heat was used to achieve wok hei which will have turned any veggie dry. A highly skilled chef indeed! For the uninitiated, wok hei is a most unique taste in Cantonese cuisine. Not achieved by adding any ingredient, instead it is given to the food by the highly heated wok itself.

That’s the end of Shenzhen, there are much more places on Happy Cow that I couldn’t visit. More Cantonese food coming up from my travels in the south!

Vegan in China – Shenzhen, Guangdong, Part 1

38 days grad trip in 10 cities and towns with some of the most simply amazing food, places and people. China, despite popular assumptions, can be very vegan-friendly. Because China had a long history of religions that advocate vegetarianism, and is the land where tofu and seitan originated. With agriculture produce and cuisines as diverse as the cultures and the most of the cuisine traditionally don’t use dairy, China should be on the good vegan food radar – if you know where to go and what to say. Happy Cow was a great help but there are some places I stumbled upon, or so hidden that only locals knew. Click on the Chinese restaurant names for links to their address and details.

So here’s my picks from Shenzhen, a bustling city in the southern province of Guangdong.

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Refreshing and creamy coconut juice from the tropical island of Hainan is available in almost every supermarket, convenience shop, roadside drink stalls in the cities!

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First meal out was at 大秦面馆 (Da Qin Noodle House), a chain of non-vegetarian noodle restaurants that serve traditional Xi’an style noodles  – we simply told them “no this and that” and the staff recommended 油泼面 (Youpo noodles), a (traditionally vegan) handmade noodle dish that’s generously drizzled with a very high temperature chilli oil that cooks and caramalises the toppings, giving its unique spiciness.

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 怡新素食 (Yi Xin Vegetarian Restaurant) at Foshan, another city near Shenzhen. The only dish I liked is this stew spiced with Chinese red peppers, chilli oil, holding generous amounts of veggies and pieces of chewy Baiye tofu soaking up the soup! I’m sure usually the quality should be good but we went near 2pm when the kitchen crew was having break time..

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法味轩素食馆 (Fa Wei Xuan Vegetarian Restaurant ) has a focus on charity – they have a 10 yuan lunch buffet and free flow of soy milk and porridge for anyone, poor or rich. You can have this if you want quantity. For quality go for the excellent menu!

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Stir fried glass noodles (made from green bean, not glass!) with fermented black bean bits – springy and savoury with sweet crunch from the capsicum bits – a must try, gluten free too.

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Spinach noodles in soup was a favourite! The clear broth is so richly umami with a slight smokiness.

锅巴 (guo ba) – think rice crispies freshly deep fried with salt and cumin spice mix generously sprinkled on it. A traditional gluten free snack that’s common and easily made vegan.

Next post will be the part 2 of vegan in Shenzhen! Then it shall be Macau and Hong Kong and more! If you need help with Chinese or are going to these places in China and need info please PM me 🙂

Mekhala Living – Organic Vegan Thai Inspired Condiments

Mekhala Living  is a Singapore-based company making vegan and organic food products. Almost all are vegan, except for one which has honey. They pride themselves as an independent company using only natural ingredients from Thailand, working closely with local farmers. They kindly gave me an array of condiments for me to try.

The usual ingredients in them are Himalayan salt, coconut sugar, various spices and herbs plus xanthan gum – nothing of what we shouldn’t put in our bodies.  So far I tried 3 sauces for stir fries and roasting – basil garlic, black pepper, miso lime chilli. This post are stir fry recipes, and next post shall be on the roasted goodies.

Veggie fusilli with black pepper sauce:

The sauce is pretty fiery with a strong kick! Flavours protein rich foods like tempeh very well. So I paired with homegrown Thai basil for a herb fragrance and snow peas for sweetness and crunch.

You’ll need:

One serving of fusilli pasta, slightly undercooked according to packet instructions

3 tbsp olive oil

½ tbsp Mekhala Living’s Black Pepper Sauce

A pinch of salt

One handful of fresh Thai basil

One small block of tempeh, sliced

4-5 holland snow peas, each cut in half

Heat the oil in a pan. Place the tempeh, thai basil, black pepper sauce and salt in. Stir fry until tempeh turns brown. Add pasta and snow peas, more oil if needed. Fry until peas turn dark green. Season with more salt/sauce if needed, ready to serve!

Stir fried Nai Bai with basil garlic sauce:

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Basil garlic is great with green leafy vegetables with crunchy or juicy stems. Usually I will chop onions or garlic, but with the sauce time is saved!

You’ll need:

A bunch of nai bai, ends cut off and washed

2 tbsp Mekhala’s Basil Garlic sauce

2 tbsp olive oil

a pinch of sea salt

Place all ingredients in a wok/pan and coat the veggies evenly with sauce and oil. Turn heat to medium, slowly stir and flip until veggies shrink and the stem turns translucent. Season with more salt/sauce if needed, then ready to serve!

Mixed stir fry with miso lime chilli:

This sauce is the most versatile of all – good on its own or with other condiments. It flavours dishes well and harmonises with most foods. Thus, most suitable with dishes with many types of ingredients. This method of cooking works best with all types of hardy veggies instead of leafy ones; add proteins like tofu and legumes to give thickness to the sauce.

You’ll need:

Half and onion, chopped

2 tbsp Mekhala Miso Lime Chilli sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce mixed with ½ cup water

1 tbsp fermented chilli sauce (homemade)

3-4 strings of french beans, cut

2 strips of tofu puffs, cut into squares

1 bamboo shoot, sliced

About half cup cooked chickpeas

I stir fried the onions in oil first, then added the sauces, long beans, chickpeas and simmered them till the beans turn a darker green. Lastly I added the bamboo shoots and tofu puffs, letting them simmer for 30 seconds. Transfer all to a plate, garnish with fresh herbs and ready to serve!

Recipes for the same sauces used for roasting coming up soon. Meanwhile visit their online store or their shop at Pasarbella and check out their amazing range of food products from brown rice to jams.

How to Be a Herbivore in Singapore Part 1 – The big WHY?

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Next: 02 nutrition .  03 cooking . 04 groceries . 05 social eating . 06 eating at hawker centres . 07 challenges and support .

Here’s a series of resource posts intending to help the vegan-curious, new and struggling vegans navigate their journey in Singapore.  Changing lifestyle habits takes unlearning and relearning. There will be challenges. Set goals and take it a step at a time.

This first post is to explain the reasons people go vegan. Knowing the whys are important because:

1) If you’re not interested in this but have vegan loved ones, you’ll make their lives SO MUCH easier by understanding and supporting. I’ve seen many friends go through much emotional turmoil over this choice – from being alienated by friends and family to being threatened by their own parents.

2) If you want to change, this knowledge can strengthen your resolve, inspire and take you further.

3) I want to clear the misconception that we are either health freaks or misanthropes – Animal welfare isn’t always the first push factor and “healthy eating” isn’t in every vegan’s vocabulary.

There are 20,000 species of edible plants worldwide; the misconception that vegetarians/vegans eat only vegetables needs to be out. The other edible non-animal food groups are grains, legumes, fruits, seeds and nuts, fungi and algae (actually, botanically speaking the last 2 aren’t even plants). Plenty and abundant.

Why on Earth did these tree hugging, kale chomping (I don’t even like kale) people give up fried
chicken? 3 main reasons:

Health

It’s proven that by not taking animal products one cuts down on growth hormones, cholesterol, saturated fat, uric acid, carcinogens, etc. It’s also getting out there that dairy isn’t as nurturing as we thought. A well-planned plant-based diet can be as nutritious with lower inflammation, stroke, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes risk.

For me, going from being a junk food vegetarian to junk food vegan then (mostly) whole foods vegan was a major step in improving my childhood irritable bowel syndrome, as well as:

  • Less fever and flu. Used to catch one few times a year now once every few years.
  • Less acne and oily skin. Needed to use oil blotting sheets daily now I don’t need them.
  • No more sugar cravings now.
  • No more frequent headaches.
  • Less acid reflux and no more random attacks of painful diarrhea.
  • Lots more energy without coffee – very helpful in productivity-crazed Singapore.
  • Exercise drained me and now it’s a hobby – can’t start the day without some.
  • Better mood, generally happier.
  • Increased appetite and foods tastes much better.

Environment

Based on numerous scientific studies, animal agriculture is extremely inefficient. It’s a huge burden on our planet’s land, water, forests, a contributor to world hunger and climate change. In fact, going animal-free generates the smallest diet-related carbon footprint as seen here:

(Shrinkthatfootprint)

Many people see little hope in certain people at important meetings to solve environmental issues, thus they take action on a personal level.

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(Monkey Parliament by Banksy)

Singapore is highly vulnerable to climate change. Rising seas threaten our land mass, increasing temperatures breed more dengue mosquitoes, more dry months means worse yearly haze and food prices will rise due to unpredictable weather causing lower yields. We can do so much more in addition to the usual drive less, off lights, recycling etc.

Ethics

People are outraged over animal testing and fur as many cosmetics, tobacco, household products are made on by a cruel process. Major public outcry over the mistreatment of animals for entertainment. What most might not know is that production of meat, fish, milk and eggs is more outrageous. Won’t it be nice if it’s like what people think: cows and chickens run on grassy fields milking and laying eggs then tranquilized and killed. But it’s not true. Since we have compassion and vote with our dollars, the industry makes sure the process of making animals into food is hidden. Here’s the link that explains all briefly and it’s not graphic. That’s why people who chance upon the truth, cannot bring themselves to support the animal farming industry or other forms of exploitation anymore.

Whoever passed the law that says a human can’t torture cats and dogs but okay to force beagles to smoke 30 cigarettes a day, mince “useless” male chicks alive and kill newborn male calves just because they can’t make milk, you’re proof that evolution can reverse.

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(Vegetarian Society Singapore)

 

Watch

If you don’t prefer to read, these are highly informative documentaries that address all 3 aspects of the plant-based lifestyle. They are highly responsible for turning meat-lovers into herbivorous creatures within hours – you’ve been warned.

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The intention

Try your best, don’t pursue perfection. When we walk, insects die, when we eat veggies, we ingest toxic chemicals. Our food may also be made by child labour. We still need to use energy so we’re contributing to climate change. As long as we exist, it is inevitable to cause unintentional suffering or death to other human or non-human beings AND damage to the Earth. Best we can do is minimize it. Hence the definition of “Veganism” as stated by The Vegan Society

“…a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food,
clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment.

Everybody’s reasons for change are different. I know vegans who love the health benefits and vegan junk foodies who are 100% passionate about animal welfare and 0% about health. I know people who eat and live like that and prefer the term “plant-based” – that’s fine! I know people who are flexible – vegan as much as possible unless in certain situation. Go with whatever you’re most comfortable with. As long as one reduces animal consumption in any way, that’s awesome and keep doing it! My favourite way to describe this lifestyle is borrowed from an Aboriginal saying: “Touch the Earth lightly.”

Next > Nutrition on a vegan lifestyle

Soyato ice cream – A review

Soyato is a Singaporean non-dairy ice cream brand. In fact, it’s the first local brand of vegan-friendly ice cream that has started selling in some of our supermarkets! They have no dairy, eggs, or other animal – derived ingredients (except Honey Lemon flavour, which contains honey). Everything else are from plants! Thus I’m really proud of the couple, Verleen and Alan, for putting out healtheir desserts for the masses!

Verleen has kindly sent me two flavours to sample – Green tea and Mint Chip!

Top – Mint chip, bottom – green tea. Mint chip is a cooling treat with yummy non-dairy chocolate chips inside. When I wasn’t vegan yet the dairy mint ice creams tasted like toothpaste to me. But this mint taste is natural, not overpowering. Reminds me of our fragrant mint plant at home! I loved the green tea one exceptionally. Creamy, pleasant, soothing, exactly how green tea should be! Sweets made with green tea can be easily overdone as too much creates a bitter taste, while too little yields no flavour. It’s texture is creamier than mint chip’s, which makes an interesting variation when you eat two flavours together!

In one scoop of Soyato, there’s only 100 calories. No genetically modified soy ingredients are used, plus prebiotics are added to help your body digest this treat better. This is really what I hope to see dessert-makers do: putting things that help our bodies instead of loading it with fats, chemicals and substances cruelly extracted from animals.

If you are in Singapore, pick them up at the NTUC supermarkets listed here. They have two other flavours – Wickedly Chocolate and Honey Lemon (for the vegans that take honey). The usual retail price is $11.90 for one pint. I love how more people are taking action to make healthier choices more accessible. Looking forward to what Soyato has to offer next!