Posters at City Hall MRT station pair a pet and a farmed animal, and ask commuters, “Why Love One But Eat the Other?”

Hello everyone! If you happen to be boarding and alighting from trains at City Hall MRT station you’ll notice something different over the next 2 weeks – instead of the dreary commercial advertising we are used to seeing (and ignoring) all the time, you’ll find thought provoking posters on all 96 of the interchange station’s train doors over the next 2 weeks. From 27 March to 9 April, 2014, the posters will encourage riders to question their meat eating habit.

The basic structure of each of the three different posters consists of a large photo pairing two animals: one whom we care for as a pet and the other whom we eat as food. The three pairs are: puppy and calf, kitten and chick, and puppy and piglet. Above the photos is the question: Why Love One But Eat The Other?

The campaign is being run by Vegetarian Society (Singapore), a local charity founded in 1999 and devoted to reducing meat consumption. VSS President Clarence Tan explained, “This campaign originally ran on the subways in Toronto, Canada. We saw the impact that the posters had there, and we are confident that also here in Singapore, the posters’ message will encourage people to examine their own eating habits”.

VSS Treasurer, Heng Guan Hou, described the fund raising necessary to pay the almost $50,000 for the posters’ two-week run. “We began raising funds in late 2013, and last week we finally met our target, thanks to donations from hundreds of people”.

Ashley Chow, the VSS Education Officer, explained the thinking behind the posters, “People in Singapore do care about animals. We see this, for example, in the love people lavish on their pets and in the government’s tougher measures to combat abuse of animals”.

One of the more interesting occurrences in the lead up to the campaign launch was when SMRT, at the behest of LTA, requested the removal of photos showing the horrors that farmed animals endure on factory farms. In the end, we reached a compromise; the potentially discomforting photos were covered, with an explanation, “Censored: These photos were deemed too graphic and may upset the public. For the full posters, please visit http://www.loveustoo.sg”.VSS Communications Officer, Ganga Sudhan, stated, “We sincerely appreciate the willingness of LTA and SMRT to reach a constructive compromise on this matter”.

Support for the poster campaign has come from many individuals and organisations. Dr Ho Soon Lye, MD, addressed the issue of whether meat eating is necessary for health, “Vegetarians can easily stay healthy on a daily vegetarian diet of carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals, which can be easily obtained from our local markets or from neighbourhood vegetarian food-stalls or restaurants. In general, throughout their lives, committed vegetarians tend to have less health events and live longer life-spans with quieter, happier and more contented lives”.

Louis Ng, Chief Executive of ACRES, a local organisation well known for its defence of wild animals, stated, “ACRES wholeheartedly supports this important campaign which will highlight the plight of farm animals. If animals don’t have a say in their treatment, then it is up to all caring human beings to give them a voice, speak up on their behalf and end the cruelty. We hope that more people will support this campaign and join us in fostering compassion and respect for all animals.”

Another animal welfare leader, Veron Lau, President of Cat Welfare Society, added, “Loving our pets yet eating animals does often pose a dilemma for many animal lovers. We ask ourselves if we cared to save and prevent one from suffering, should we not do the same for the other. Whether we are animal lovers or not, we should make it a priority to live mindfully and that includes thinking about where our food or pets come from because we are part of a consuming chain and have the collective power to affect ethical change through our choices.”

Last, but not least, Ann Lek, Education Officer at the SPCA, stated “’Why love one but eat the other?’ It’s thought-provoking, and gets us thinking about the love we have for our companion animals. Many of us are passionate about helping our canine and feline friends. How can we extend that care and compassion to farm animals? Go vegetarian or eat less meat? Be conscious of how that animal got onto your plate. The choice is in your hands.”

For more information on the campaign, please visit LoveUsToo.sg.

The Vegetarian Society (Singapore) is a non-profit, non-religious organisation formed in 1999. The VSS team strives to build a more humane and harmonious world for everyone on the planet as well as for our fellow creatures. For more information on VSS, please click here.

Type of Institution: Vegetarian

Address: Sunshine Plaza, 91 Bencoolen Street, #01-50, Singapore 189652
Tel: +65 6337 7050
Website: N.A.

Opening Hours: Sun – Mon 11.30 am – 3 pm (last order at 2.30 pm, restaurant closes sharp at 3 pm), 5.30 pm – 10 pm (last order at 9.30 pm, restaurant closes sharp at 10 pm)

Overall: 8.3/10

Teng is a Japanese vegetarian restaurant opened last year in Sunshine Plaza that is similar in concept to Herbivore just across the road – think vegetarian / vegan replicas of mostly common Japanese dishes (along with some Singaporean Chinese dishes) and simple, pleasant deco. No eggs, onion or garlic are used but dairy is used – in particular, vegans should watch out for mayo in the sushi. Service was efficient and helpful.

Japanese Yam

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningSlices of crunchy, subtly sweet, raw Japanese yam, served with a light shoyu-based sauce and topped with seaweed, made for a light and refreshing starter. ($5)

King Mushroom

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningThe firm, chewy and meaty king oyster mushroom strips were perfectly complemented by sweet and savoury teriyaki sauce. Recommended. ($10)

Five Kind Sashimi

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningFrom top left, and moving clockwise, the Five Kind Sashimi plate is an assortment of mock tuna, salmon, shrimp, squid and abalone. The mock tuna, salmon and squid, made from mung bean powder, mostly differed in terms of their food colouring, and they were barely distinguishable in terms of taste and consistency. Like the mock shrimp, they resembled softer versions of fish cake. The mock abalone was a bit chewier and was a tad too salty. All in all, the sashimi wasn’t particularly impressive and certainly not worth the price. One could try it for the novelty but don’t expect much. ($32)

Avocado Maki

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningSushi roll with mock tuna, cucumber and mock prawn, topped with avocado. This tasted as unexceptional as it looked. It was also very disappointing that the restaurant did not bother to use sushi rice for any of its dishes. Vegans should take note that this usually comes with mayo. ($12)

Unagi Maki

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningThis fared much better than the avocado maki – avocado and cucumber rice rolls were topped with soft and slightly crispy mock unagi, and topped with sweet unagi sauce. ($12)

Mix Vege Tempura

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningTempura made with fairly fresh sweet potato, eggplant, enoki and shitake mushrooms, and – best of all – crunchy lotus root. The tempura ought to have been crispier, but it was commendable effort nonetheless. ($9)

Paper Claypot

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningThe paper claypot came with mostly soy-based products (like mock squid balls, dumpling, and mock prawn) with some lettuce, cabbage, carrot and enoki mushrooms in a vegetable broth.  ($13)

Mix Vegetables with Tofu (Hot Plate)

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningFirm tofu with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, tri-colour strips of capsicum, tomatoes and shimeji and black fungus mushroom, served in a light yet flavourful sauce. ($10)

Conclusion: I found Teng Bespoke to be superior to Herbivore. Go for the dishes made with more natural, whole foods, which were far more interesting and palatable than any of the processed faux sashimi / seafood.  

Type of Institution: Vegetarian / mostly vegan

Address: The Star Vista, #B1-43, 1 Vista Green Exchange, Singapore 138617
Tel: +65 9816 4861
Website: http://www.greenzilla.com.sg; Facebook

Opening Hours: Sun – Mon 10 am – 10 pm

Greenzilla

GreenzillaOverall: 6.5/10

Greenzilla follows on the trails of VeganBurg in joining the rising trend of veg-friendly and more health conscious fast food options. The branch at Star Vista is a small outfit with only a few seats, but I was told there is communal seating in the food court. While Greenzilla promotes itself as a vegetarian joint, from what I gathered the options were mostly vegan. Processed ingredients appeared to have been minimised as well. I avoided the salad bar, with its assortment of limp and forlorn vegetables, and went for the appetizers and burgers instead.

Broccoli Soup (Soup of the Day)

GreenzillaThe Broccoli Soup doesn’t look like much, but it was rich with the taste of fresh broccoli and was probably the best dish I tried. ($2.50)

Pumpkin Pops

GreenzillaThese round pumpkin bites, while covered with a palatable and slightly crispy coating on the outside, were missing the distinctive sweetness of fresh pumpkin on the inside. The original Pumpkin Pops come with honey soy mayonnaise, so vegans would have to get other sauces –the chilli sauce was decent, but what really stood out was the tangy tartar sauce that packed a surprisingly delightful punch. ($2.90)

Royal Mushroom Burger

GreenzillaThe Royal Mushroom Burger consisted of a mushy, mildly flavoured mushroom patty and some lifeless celery, tomato slices and sprouts, sandwiched between a green pea bun that did not seem to be anything different from a regular white burger bun aside from its name. This was accompanied by a vinegar coleslaw. ($5.90)

Tofu Fusion Burger

GreenzillaThe Tofu Fusion Burger fared better. The tender, marinated tofu patty was topped with BBQ sauce while the charcoal bun had a pleasantly light taste and was topped with seeds. ($5.90)

Conclusion: Greenzilla has a good concept, it just really needs to work on quality control with its ingredients to distinguish itself.

Here’s a shoutout to Monday Flying, a site which covers retail, the arts, and interesting events and products in Singapore. They introduced VeganAsh earlier in September last year and had some kind words to say:

“VeganAsh is written by Ashley and it showcases the growing popularity of the vegan movement in Singapore.  Apart from sharing food and restaurant options, VeganAsh is a site which also shares resources, such as other vegan blogs, events and happenings within Singapore for the vegan community. 

Support for the vegan movement aside, to ignore dishes purely because of no meat being involved is to deny yourself delicious (and healthy) options that vegan/vegetarian restaurants have in plenty.

It also helps that an eloquent and meticulous vegan blogger exists to guide you to all the best places. The reviews on VeganAsh are easy to digest (pun intended), conveniently sorted by location, and contain photos that are not suitable for viewing when you are waiting for lunchtime during work.”

The original post can be found here.

Type of Institution: Non-vegetarian (but with vegetarian menu)

Address: #02-01 Marina Bay Financial Centre (Ground Plaza), 8A Marina Boulevard, Singapore 018984
Tel: +65 6509 9308
Website: http://www.paradisegroup.com.sg/?page_id=388&mn=pp

Opening Hours:
Mon – Fri 11.30 am – 3 pm, Sat – Sun & PH 11 am – 4 pm
Daily 6 pm – 11 pm

Overall: 4.0/10

Paradise Pavilion

Paradise PavilionThe immediately striking decor of Paradise Pavilion sets it apart from most Chinese fine dining restaurants in Singapore – think chandeliers, plush velvet chairs, dramatic floor-to-ceiling columns and a rich turquoise, blue, green, and brown colour scheme. Reserve a good spot before your visit for an excellent view of the Marina Bay landscape. Vegetarians and vegans may be pleasantly surprised to find out that the restaurant famous for its Peking duck has a page of its menu dedicated to vegetarian dishes. Service was also attentive and helpful.

Vegetarian Goose

Paradise PavilionThe Vegetarian Goose was the best dish I tried despite its uninspiring presentation – a deep-fried crispy-thin skin encloses a slightly sweet, melt-in-your-mouth beancurd skin filling vaguely reminiscent of fatty goose. ($20)

Black Pepper Stir-Fry with Macadamia Nuts

Paradise PavilionA simple stir-fry with yam and mock luncheon meat cubes, shimeji mushrooms, celery, red and green peppers and crunchy macadamia nuts. The spicy black pepper sauce could barely be detected. The macadamia nuts were also a tad too heavy to complement the other ingredients. ($20)

Bean Dough with Mushrooms

Paradise PavilionThick slices of bean dough on a bed of beancurd skin were topped with enoki mushrooms. The bean dough had a tender, slightly chewy texture that was quite pleasant at first bite, but the generic mushroom sauce could not disguise the mostly bland yet unmistakeably beany taste of the dough. I could not stomach much of this. ($20)

Conclusion: Generally a disappointing experience – I was more impressed by the décor than the food.

Hey everyone! Apologies for not having updated in ages. My diet has been kinda erratic – I went on 80/10/10 for awhile, and then I went on a juice cleanse, so I wasn’t really eating much solid food at all. Since getting off the raw diet, I’ve been meaning to blog about places I’ve been to such as Greenzilla, as well as the vegetarian menus at places like Paradise Pavilion, but work has been keeping me too busy. I’ll be overseas for a few weeks – I’m flying off tomorrow morning to Java – but I hope to get back into connecting with veg enthusiasts once I’m back. Sorry if I’m a bit slow in replying to all your emails, and thanks for your understanding!

In the meantime, do check out the new asian vegetarian website, VegeAsian.com, where I was recently interviewed on What It’s Like to be Vegan in Singapore. You’ll find interviews with other popular veg bloggers as well. :)

Much love
VeganAsh

Type of Institution: Non-vegetarian (with vegetarian set menu)

Address: Velocity@Novena Square, #02-11/12, 238 Thomson Road, Singapore 307683
Tel: +65 6358 4466
Website: http://www.laobeijing.com.sg

Opening Hours: Lunch (weekdays) 11.30 am – 3pm (weekends) 11 am – 3pm, Daily High-tea 3 pm – 5pm, Daily Dinner 6 pm – 10 pm

Overall: 6.3/10

Lao Beijing
Yet another non-vegetarian restaurant catering for vegetarians is Lao Beijing, a fairly casual, traditional Chinese restaurant that’s part of the TungLok group (which I’m partial to). Their Vegetarian Set Menu, priced at $28 per person, seemed like a steal considering it featured 6 dishes (without rice). I would recommend getting a bowl of rice to balance the savoury side dishes, even though I would not eat white rice under most circumstances. The review below is based on their spacious outlet at Novena Square, but the same set menu can be found at their Orchard Central and Plaza Singapura outlets. Aside from the soup and dessert, the serving sizes as depicted in the pictures below were based on serving sizes for 3 people.

For my fellow vegans and vegans-to be, note that the vegetarian set menu was definitely egg-free and seemed to be dairy-free when I looked at the menu. But to be on the safe side, just tell the waiter or waitress that you want it to be dairy-free and he / she would notify the chef. Also note my point about the dessert, to follow.

Vegetarian Set Menu

Lao Beijing
The tasting menu began with the Cordyceps Flower and Bamboo Mushroom Soup, which was easily my favourite item on the menu. While it was a simple soup with few ingredients, the orange-golden cordyceps flowers and strips of net-like bamboo mushroom gave the soup a rich mushroom flavour and a pleasant chewy texture.

Lao Beijing
Next up, we had the Crispy-fried Mini Mushroom Coated with Spiced-Salt. These were bite-sized shitakes with a delightfully thin, crispy skin, but unfortunately they were fairly tasteless (even with the spiced salt) and could definitely use with a good marinade before frying.

Lao Beijing
The dishes that followed were much less interesting and seemed like they were inserted as a lacklustre effort to populate the menu. The Braised Beancurd in Claypot, with soft beancurd braised in vegetarian oyster sauce that was served on a bed of steamed Shanghai Green, was acceptable but generic.

Lao Beijing
The same could be said of the Sauteed Black Fungus with Lily Bulbs and Celery. The fungi and vegetables were stir-fried simply with little to no seasoning, but while I love letting the natural flavours of ingredients take centre-stage in a dish, the freshness, types and combination of these ingredients did not lend themselves well to such an approach. Aside from the mildly sweet and crunchy lily bulbs, this was a boring dish that was way too oily.

Lao Beijing
Following that, we had the Steamed Vegetable Dumplings, which had their thin skins stuffed with mixed green vegetables and just a bit of tofu.

Lao Beijing
Finally, the meal was rounded off with Chilled Mango Cream with Pomelo and Sago for dessert. The cold, sweet mango soup went well with the tangy pomelo, chewy sago pearls and mango cubes. I took a few bites of this before I found out the traditional recipe usually isn’t vegan-free and got sceptical about whether this one really was dairy-free as promised, so vegans would want to watch out for that.

($28 for the set menu, without rice)

Conclusion: The individual dishes in Lao Beijing’s Vegetarian Set Menu were largely of acceptable quality but not exceptional in their own right, making it mostly a case of quantity (or variety) over quality.

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