Japan and cherry blossoms; Japan and the art of Zen living; Japan and politeness; and last but not the least, Japan and food. These are a few things that pop to your mind every time you think Japan. Vegetarian and vegan Japanese restaurants are not aplenty in Singapore but there are a few that stand out and even though they may not all be vegetarian-only, they have enough to make the vegetarians and vegans return. Read on to find out about our recommendations for the Best Japanese Restaurants for Vegetarians and Vegans in Singapore (in no particular order).
Teng Bespoke (Highly Vegan-Friendly)
A Zen style Japanese restaurant, Teng Bespoke serves only vegetarian food, with 90% of their menu being vegan or customizable as such. Bespoke’s philosophy is simple – healthy and authentic Japanese dining the vegetarian way. The pocket friendly prices and the wide array of dishes make it an affordable favourite of many. The Radish Salad is quite refreshing while the Shitake Mushroom is a complete winner. The Unagi Maki (S$11) is flavoured delicately and is a good representation of what the real stuff may taste like. They also serve 5 kinds of Sashimi (mock prawn, mock salmon, mock squid, mock scallop, mock tuna). Here are 5 vegetarian and vegan dishes at Teng Bespoke that we recommend.
Teng Bespoke: 91 Bencoolen Street, #01-50 Sunshine Plaza, 189652. P: +65 6337 7050 | Website
Although not a pure vegetarian Japanese restaurant, Shimbashi Soba offers a vegetarian menu, that is devoid of any dairy or eggs, and would be suitable for vegans who can consume refined sugar and rice wine. Start with Vegetarian Yasai Tempura (S$11.80) & Avocado Salad. For mains, go for the Chikara Soba or the Vegetarian Tofu Soba & Yasai Tempura (S$20.80). Vegetarian desserts include Matcha Mochi (green tea flavoured jelly served with soya bean powder and brown sugar syrup) or the Mizu Manju (Japanese jelly). The experience of eating here is worth spending just a wee bit more. Read here, A Vegetarian Japanese Treat at Shimbashi Soba.
Shimbashi Soba: 1 Kim Seng Promenade, #B1-01 Great World City, Singapore 237994. P: +65 6835 9052 | #B1-41, Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238859. P: +65 6735 9882 | Website
A pure vegetarian restaurant that dishes up Japanese cuisine (apart from Western style cuisine). The dishes named after popular non-vegetarian counterparts are just as good, if not better, and some claim to be able turn carnivores into die-hard fans. Try their Unagi Maki & Avocado Maki, Tempura Udon (hot udon soup with Japanese aburaage, nameko mushroom, spinach, vegetables tempura and Japanese tsukemono) and the Vege Grill Chick’n Gyoza Bento. The entire menu uses the finest, freshest and organic ingredients.
Herbivore: Fortune Centre, 190 Middle Road, #01-13/14, Singapore 188979. P: +65 63331612 | Website
A Zen styled vegetarian restaurant, Elemen serves Japanese, Western and fusion food. They serve indulgent 5-Course and 8-Course Sets for S$26.80++ & S$32.80++ respectively. There are vegan options available for both sets, though they may not be Japanese dishes. The 8-Course Set includes a Starter, Bread and choice of Salad, Soup, Main, Dessert and Drink – so basically you get to choose from the entire menu, plus Apple Cider as a palette cleaner. The 5-Course Set doesn’t include Bread and Apple Cider and includes only one out of Soup and Salad, but you can still choose your Main, Drink and Dessert. Each course has vegan options too. Read our complete dining review of Elemen here.
Elemen: Branches at Millenia Walk, Thompson Plaza and Harbourfront Centre | Website
Shaking up the dining scene with an ambiance that defies tradition, modern Japanese dishes peppered with Chef Kinki’s own touch, and a drink list that features muddles of intoxicating liquids from the East and West, Kinki is a posh Japanese restaurant with excellent views. With the urbane decor and a DJ console covered in ANTZ (local artist) graffiti, Kinki is the place to head to if you are looking for an upscale Japanese restaurant. It helps that their menu is quite veg-friendly too. The Tofu Steak (S$18, Pan fried tofu sautéed mixed vegetables, garlic teriyaki sauce) makes for a good start to the meal. Sashimi lovers can try the vegetarian Inari or if you’re in the mood for Maki/ Temaki, they serve Spicy Avocado Maki, Kappa and Shiitake.
Kinki Restaurant + Bar: 70 Collyer Quay #02-02, Customs House, Singapore 049323. P: +65 6533 3471 | Website
Got that deadline coming up and no time for lunch? Lean Bento has you covered! Not a restaurant per se, Lean Bento delivers healthy, low calorie and high protein bento boxes with Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free and Low-Carb options. They have a few vegan/vegetarian Bento options on their menu. They also offer halal certified, Vegetarian Bentos without onion or garlic. The Classic Sambal Tofu Rice (S$12.90) offers you multigrain high-fibre sushi rice paired with flavourful firm tofu, sauteed shiitake mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, edamame, corn kernels and freshly sliced sweet cabbage. You can also get this combo in Petite (S$9.90) and in a couple of different flavours, either with rice and tofu, with noodles and tofu or vegetables and tofu. Just make sure that you order at least a day in advance, preferably 2 days in advance.
And if you’re in it for the long haul, they also offer Meal Plans for 5 days and 10 days.
Lean Bento: Order at https://order.leanbento.com/collections/vegan-vegetarian-bento?page=1
All these places afford a true Japanese dining experience with a bit of twist here and there. Get your appetite worked up and hit the Japanese food circuit right here in Singapore.