Keep an eye out for this sign.
Fried Rice for Breakfast
This was our breakfast at Naj Restaurant in Singapore. When we informed our server that we were vegetarians, he said they could make fried rice for us. He even asked if eggs were okay; this was a question we got quite a few times on our trip.
490 North Bridge Road, Singapore
Dan Mein Noodles
Any vegetarian visiting Singapore should be sure to seek out Divine Realm, a restaurant that's pretty far outside the tourist area of the city. Situated on the ground floor of an apartment building, Divine Realm is completely vegetarian. You'll find sweet and sour mushrooms, curry noodles, crispy vegetarian duck, and these wonderful handmade dan mein noodles in a spicy, savory broth. Our server cut the noodles with a pair of scissors at our table so we could share.
501 Hougang Avenue 8, Singapore
Fried Noodles with a Bean Curd Roll
The Chinatown Complex in Singapore is another must-visit. In the basement of the building is a sprawling market featuring fresh fruits and vegetables. Grab some fresh fruit for dessert then head to the upper level where there's a huge food court; a few of the stalls are vegetarian. Here is a plate of fried noodles with a bean curd roll from the Hao Xiang vegetarian stall, topped with some crispy bean curd skin and pickled chiles.
335 Smith Street, Singapore
Another vegetarian stall in the food court in the Chinatown Complex is Travelers Palm. You can get a plate of rice and then select food from warming trays. Particularly good on the day we visited was the stir-fried melon in a sweet garlic-infused sauce.
In the neighborhood of Little India there are plenty of vegetarian restaurants. We ate at Ananda Bhavan, and the papdi chaat was a real standout. Crispy bits of wheat crackers covered a cold chutney doused plate of warm, spicy potatoes. In the heat and humidity of Singapore, the spicy, sour, crispy chaat was quite refreshing.
58 Serangoon road, Singapore
Singapore has a Smith Street, just like Brooklyn does. Singapore's Smith Street is also known as "Chinatown Food Street". At night it comes alive, lined with restaurants and food stalls and with public communal tables down the middle of the street.
On Smith Street there is an all vegetarian restaurant, Ci Yan Organic Vegetarian, where not all of the food was that great, but this nonya dumpling was fantastic. The dense package of sticky, sweet, organic brown rice had a center of fermented black bean paste.
8 Smith Street, Singapore
The best bite of the entire trip? It may have been from Ah Balling, a tiny stall on Smith Street where the peanut soup is made up of nothing more than peanuts boiled until soft with water and a bit of coconut milk. You can get up to five little, mochi-like dumplings in the bowl, each filled with a different paste: yam, red bean, green tea, sesame, and peanut.
Smith St, Singapore
Tong Seng Coffeeshop
This coffeeshop caters to a mostly Muslim clientele, so there is no lard used in the frying. These fried noodles were some of the best we had on the trip (and we had a lot of fried noodles), mainly because they were a mix of firm thin noodles and soft wide noodles. Warning, though: the vegetarian fish balls served alongside are extremely fishy.
496 North bridge Road, Singapore
After arriving in Kuala Lumpur around 10 p.m., we were immediately drawn to Jalan Alor, perhaps the busiest and most vibrant street in all of KL. It's lined with restaurants and vendors selling fresh fruit. Cars snake their way through the throngs of tourists, singers, and hawkers of all varieties.
Chinese Broccoli, Two Ways
Grab a couple of seats at the outdoor tables of Restoran Sai Woo and order this double variety kai lan. The Chinese broccoli is prepared two ways: the steamed stalks are coated in a garlic sauce, and the leaves are deep-fried until crispy and piled on top of the stems. A great combination of flavors and textures.
Jalan Alor, KL
The Best Vegetarian Buffet
If I lived in Kuala Lumpur I would eat at Blue Boy Vegetarian Centre every day. It looks like any other food court in the city, except that everything is vegetarian. One of the stalls offers food buffet style. We filled two plates with a mix of fake meat and fresh vegetables, as well as tofu and veggie-filled fritters.
6001 Blue Boy Mansion, Jalan Tong Shin, KL
At Blue Boy you can also get vegetarian versions of classic Malay dishes like spicy fried noodles, kueh teou, but the one dish we didn't see anywhere else on the trip was this vegetarian laksa. The mild curry broth is full of ropes of soft noodles, tofu, and lots of vegetarian meat substitutes for things like sausage and fish balls.
For a late-night vegetarian meal in KL, stop into the brightly lit Indian restaurant Estana Curry House where the naan might be sub-par but the dhal fry is fantastic. Both buttery and smoky, these lentils swim in a highly spiced broth.
23 D Jalan Sultan Ismail, KL
KL has its own Little India where you'll find the vegetarian restaurant Sangeetha. For a couple of dollars get the mini tiffin lunch, which includes a sampling of many different foods. The best part was the orange pile at the back of the plate: an Indian semolina dish called kesari, in this case sweetened (and colored) by carrots. I could have eaten an entire bowl of it and asked for seconds.
65 Lebuh Ampang, KL
Taste of Asia Food Court
On the lower level of the mega-mall Berjaya Times Square is the Taste of Asia Food Court. The vegetarian corner features plates of rice with a help-yourself selection of great food. The crispy little nuggets of fake meat are quite good, as are the bitter greens sauced with garlic and ginger.
1 Jalan Imbi, KL
Curried Cabbage and String Beans
Another busy shopping mall, Sungei Wang Plaza, has a food court on its upper level. There is only one vegetarian stall there but it's well worth the visit. Again it featured a plate of rice and a selection of foods, but the freshest stall food you'll try. Curried cabbage and string beans were great, as was the ground "meat" in chile sauce.
74 Jalan Bukit Bintang, KL
Better than a Salad
We took a day trip out to neighboring state Kuala Selangor to visit the monkey sanctuary and see the firefly displays. Our guide took us to riverside restaurant Restoran Kuan Hwa, which specializes in fresh seafood but they'll also make a huge vegetarian feast for you. Best of the bunch: these unassuming looking greens. Although it resembles a salad at first, these crunchy cabbage-like leaves are quickly blanched and then stir-fried with copious amounts of garlic.
No 1A, Jalan Bagan Sungai Yu, Kuala Selangor
Even the airport food in Singapore is great. Changi Airport has several restaurants including Chutney Mary. This samosa chaat was the perfect final meal for our trip: a wild mix of temperatures, flavors, and textures.
Changi Airport, Singapore