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Intro To Different Types of Vegetarian in Singapore

Read time: 5 min.

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Do you have any vegetarian or vegan friends in Singapore? I guess at some point in time you have met them before. Are you puzzled about why some vegetarians could consume egg, but some don’t? Personally, I am also a lacto-vegetarian by choice. Thus I will discuss the common types of vegetarians you will meet in Singapore:

 Types of Vegetarian In SG
TypesDairyEggsOnion, Garlic, Scallion, Leek, Chive, or ShallotUse Animal ProductsHoney / Bird Nest
Lacto / Lacto-Ovo
Lacto / Lacto-Ovo
(Majority Does Not Consume)

Why are there different categorisations & restrictions?

To answer your question, it all depends on the group/religion they follow, what they believe and the reason(s) for being a vegetarian. For example, some Vegans consume honey as they went into the harvesting farm of those honey manufacturers to check if ethical methods were used to harvest the honey. While most Vegans would reject the idea of consuming honey as it is derived from an animal’s body part/by-product.

FAQs about Vegetarians

Q: How did they become vegetarian in the first place?

There are a couple of reasons:

  • By Birth; their family are all vegetarians
  • By Beliefs; some follow their religion while the others are purely for ethical reasons
  • By Choice / Diet; they have difficulties eating meat products

Q: What are some labels Vegetarians and Vegans use to determine the products they can consume?

Often, we do not consume products if their ingredients indicate unknown sources as it could come from animal sources. We also have to specifically look out for ingredients with additives (E numbers) as they may come from animal sources. E.g. E542

Some products might claim to be suitable for vegans but are not in fact vegans. For example, the product might contain D3, which is cholecalciferol and sourced from lanolin (i.e. from wool grease).

Usually, we will look out for recognisable vegetarian/vegan logos on packaging products or source them from reputable companies that manufacture or supplies it.

Q: Why Buddhist Vegetarian doesn’t consume onion, garlic, scallion, leek, chive, or shallot?

They are aphrodisiacs food which increases lust, passion, and sexual senses. Also, consuming garlic and onion will leave a bad smell in your mouth.

Q: Do they lack some of the necessary proteins and vitamins?

We cannot conclude that being a vegetarian/vegan will not be able to get all necessary proteins and vitamins. They just need to have certain types of vegetables, nuts and fruits more often into their meals. This article will not cover in detail on what are certain things that vegetarians/vegans should take note of, but to give an example: Vitamin B12.

Key functions of B12 is to keep red blood cells at good levels and maintain healthy nerves and production of DNA. One of the signs that indicate lack of Vitamin B12 is fatigue. Soy milk and Nutritional Yeast are good sources of Vitamin B12 that can be added into your diet, if it is not enough, you can bring in supplements to your daily routine.

Q: How did you become a vegetarian?

I have become a Lacto Vegetarian since 2008. Back then in 2008, the only meat dish that I ever ate was fish soup. Still, I always struggle with it whenever I start to chew the meat. I felt like throwing up and naturally tears would also flow out from my eyes. The same thing happened when I attempt to eat chicken and steak.

However, there are no such “side effects” when I eat fish balls, gelatine sweets, prawn crackers, etc…

Q: Why did you become a vegetarian?

Two main reasons why I became a vegetarian: Ethical & difficulties to consume meat. Ever since then, I gave up eating some of my favourite gelatine sweets and prawn crackers.

Q: What do I usually eat?

You must think that I lead a very healthy lifestyle. Ironically, I must admit that I am unhealthy when it comes to putting food on my plate. There must be at least 2 – 3 fried or soya processed dishes (e.g. Vegetarian mock goose, Hashbrown, Curry puff, Spring roll, French fries, Nuggets, Drumsticks, etc.) on my plate.

Furthermore, I do not like to eat a lot of vegetables, and I dislike tomato, eggplants and bitter gourd. It is indeed weird for a vegetarian like me to be so picky.

Q: Any challenges faced being a vegetarian?

There are of course challenges that I had faced. My parents initially object the idea of me becoming a vegetarian. Their concerns were that my body is weak thus it would be hard for me to get nutritious value out of a vegetarian diet.

It’s not easy being a vegetarian for 10 years. Especially when not every Food Court or Kopitiam have at least one vegetarian store, and vegetarian options are very limited in a restaurant.

It is tough to make a decision when going with friends, as they could have already decided what they all should eat, but that particular place does not have any vegetarian options. While not far away, there is another food court that has a vegetarian store. In this scenario, it is hard to make a decision.

Although most of them are fine with eating out at a more vegetarian-friendly area to have lunch, I do feel being a burden when it comes to having a meal with my friends. I do hope that in the near future, more F & B Franchises can incorporate more vegetarian options in their menu.

So far, I have not been to many countries due to dietary concerns and personal reasons except going to Malaysia, Penang once. Furthermore, I think going overseas would be quite restrictive to the places that I can visit as it is not like in Singapore whereby you can walk a slightly longer distance to get Vegetarian Food. Also, different countries do have their interpretation of vegetarians; some consider seafood as vegetarian.

VEGAN FUN FACT: The sugar that you used in the kitchen might not be Vegan-Friendly as bone char could be used in the cane sugar refinery process for bleaching and filtering.
(Source: Kate Bratskeir | HuffPost, 2015)

If you are a vegetarian or vegan reading this article, you may provide additional information or share your experiences and journey with us by leaving down in the comment section. For non-vegetarians, feel free to comment and discuss in the comment section if you have any questions.

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