Whole Earth serves authentic Thai and Peranakan* flavors with a twist—the entire menu of this unique Singapore sustainable eatery is plant-based. The restaurant opened its doors in 2003, with a mission to promote cooking without animal products at the same time targeting a wider clientele beyond only vegetarians and vegans. Whole Earth is the country’s only plant-based restaurant to receive the Michelin Bib Gourmand that acknowledges venues for their excellent value for money, for four years in a row.
The restaurant is set in a heritage shophouse in the vicinity of Guoco Tower, the tallest building in Singapore, a central location that attracts many corporate diners. The restaurant features cozy seating and an interesting collection of colorful abstract paintings to create a relaxed and inviting atmosphere. To reduce echo in this spacious restaurant, the ceiling is fitted with acoustic panels and the walls are draped with noise-absorbing curtains.
The culinary team at Whole Earth meets a unique challenge: recreating classic, meat-heavy Peranakan and Thai dishes in the form of tasty vegetarian-friendly alternatives. Whole Earth doesn’t rely on using soy-meat, which sets them apart from many other vegetarian restaurants. Instead, in order to obtain the right taste, texture, and flavor the chefs use ingredients such as legumes, vegetables, grains, shiitake, as well as monkey head mushrooms. The latter are known for their aroma and medicinal properties, and are frequently used as a meat substitute in Chinese vegetarian cuisine due to their remarkably meaty texture.
Don’t miss the restaurant’s signature olive brown rice packed with flavor and a perfect accompaniment to any dish. It took more than a dozen different versions to perfect the recipe. Another favorite, XO rice, is a result of more than 18 months of experimenting to recreate the original seafood-based recipe and find the perfect substitute for the shrimp paste.
One of the stars of the Whole Earth menu, the vegetarian version of Penang Rendang—a traditional Malaysian meat-based dish—is made using shiitake mushrooms, deep-fried tofu with crispy oats, monkey head mushrooms, and broccoli. It is served with a delectable angelica root and wolfberry sauce. The Nyonya (or Peranakan) curry, consisting of shiitake mushrooms and potatoes instead of chicken, painstakingly prepared over several hours to attain the desired taste, is another must-try. The perfect way to end the meal is tucking into the sweet Nyonya dessert made of pureed golden pumpkin and glutinous rice with coconut milk.
Whole Earth is dedicated to using exclusively the freshest sustainably sourced plant-based ingredients and creative techniques in order to stay true to the original local flavors. The restaurant successfully creates a dining experience reminiscent of authentic culinary traditions, with a touch of modernity. It has become a must-try not only for vegetarians and health-conscious diners but also for everyone who appreciates traditional Thai and Peranakan food.
* Peranakan, a Malay term meaning “local born”, refers to a culture created after Chinese traders settled in the region in the 15th century and assimilated local Malay traditions.