I arrive at Peck Seah Street and instantly notice Whole Earth, holding a spot at the end of a row of pristine shop-houses. Walking in, I take a step out of the hustle and bustle of the city and into a serene restaurant. Sitting by large windows, I enjoyed the street views and daylight while exploring the variety of food on the menu. Although predominantly Peranakan, the dishes feature an astonishing fusion of Thai and Chinese cuisine as well. While speaking with the owner, Phyllis Ong, she recalls how her staff has been scolded countless of times by vegetarians angered because they believed they had been served meat. It now makes sense why Whole Earth is the vegetarian restaurant for non-vegetarians. Yes, you read that right.
Olive Brown Rice
First I tried the Olive Brown Rice, which Ong tells me took 16 different recipes to perfect. The flavour is robust and satisfying, with a surprisingly non-oily finish. It is evident that this will become the exquisite base with which every dish is sampled with.
One of my favorites must have definitely been the Penang Rendang, made with Shiitake mushrooms. Rendang purists will roll their eyes but the dish was so flavorful, I daresay it’s better than most meat Rendangs I’ve tasted. Every spoonful left me wanting more, and with this it became apparent that Whole Earth had excelled its craft in Peranakan food.
Thai Sweet and Sour Delight
To switch it up, I also tried one of the Thai inspired dishes: the Sweet and Sour Delight. The dish featured pineapple chunks and tofu. The tofu was extremely different from any other I had ever had, and fit perfectly in the dish. One of the main philosophies of Whole Earth is that they are not trying to make ‘mock-meats’, but rather work with the ingredients they have to create powerful dishes. The Sweet and Sour delights definitely embodies this.
Crispy Golden Oats with Monkey Head Mushrooms
Next I had the Crispy Golden Oats with Monkey Head Mushrooms, which can be had with tofu instead as well. Inspired by the traditional version with prawns, this dish is an example of why vegetarians rarely miss meat. The solid texture and strong flavor pair perfectly with the rice. The oats were crunchy and of an excellent quality. It was also a feel-good dish, as Ong tells me that Monkey Head Mushrooms have anti-cancerous properties, and are one of the most prestigious types out there.
As I finish my meal, Ong affords that without me even knowing it, everything I ate was vegan. Everything on the menu except for one dessert happens to be vegan, which really means almost anyone can indulge in the great flavors of Whole Earth.
Being the first and only plant based restaurant to hold the Michelin Bib Gourmand in the Singapore Michelin Food Guide in 2016 and 2017, it was an experience that was definitely worth it. The steep prices are to be taken into consideration. Whether you are someone experimenting with a plant-based diet or simply someone who loves Peranakan or Thai food, Whole Earth is a must try. Please remember though, it is reservation only.
Whole Earth is located at 76 Peck Seah St, Singapore 079331