What actually makes a restaurant sustainable? From providing meat-free options to purchasing meat from sustainable sources, many eateries in Singapore’s F&B industry have begun implementing more eco-friendly initiatives in its establishments.
Aiming to pave the way in Asia as a progressively eco-friendly nation, Singapore ranks high in sustainable living and sustainable dining compared to its neighbours. Environmentally friendly dining options can be seen almost everywhere on this island, especially with the recent rise in healthy eating options and sustainable menus.
Advocates for sustainable living would be aware the amount of waste we consume can have a detrimental impact on the environment. While many of us have begun reducing our usage of single-use plastic straws, truly going green will take more action than that. Fortunately, many dining establishments around Singapore are becoming increasingly aware of the hefty carbon footprint that results from every step of the supply chain, from farm to fork.
A Nielsen report found 73% of Millennials were willing to pay more for sustainable goods in 2015, while 62% of Generation Z (Gen Z) prefer to opt for sustainable brands. In contrast, only 34% of Generation X and 23% of Baby Boomers were willing to pay for sustainable products. This shows how younger generations value sustainability in their lifestyles much more than the older generations, which is promising data.
As more diners strive to eat more consciously, restaurants have found themselves having to adopt more sustainable and eco-friendly practices.
Sustainable dining isn’t new on our island — many restaurants in Singapore have started to adopt this way of dining. This loosely defined term refers to restaurants which operate in a way that can protect the environment through ethical practices, and to help reduce overall carbon footprint.
It’s also important to note restaurants see many benefits from adopting sustainable practices. As part of the sustainability initiative growing amongst local restaurants, many have begun using all parts of the produce it buys—from turning vegetable trimmings to broths and turning shells to bisques. Establishments such as Salted & Hung have started taking steps towards this green practice, aiming to showcase the beauty and functionality of forgotten food parts.
When it comes to food preparation, Salted & Hung embraces a nose-to-tail philosophy, making a point to use ingredients to its fullest potential. From using fish bones as garnish to dehydrating vegetables to create chips, Salted & Hung takes advantage of sustainable practices and uses them as a foundation to create unique and innovative dishes.
Other well-known establishments such as The Summerhouse and Restaurant Labyrinth have shifted its focus on local farming. These restaurants focus on locally-sourced ingredients to create seasonal and innovative dishes.
From kelongs to regional farms, ingredients you find on your plate at The Summerhouse are sourced fresh—some even plucked from its in-house edible garden. Using locally-sourced ingredients provides freshness and provenance to its dishes, too. Here, you will also get to dine in geodesic domes, among its lush edible garden—a truly magical dining experience.
At Restaurant Labyrinth, chef-owner Han Li Guang works exclusively with farmers who adopt natural farming methods and sustainable practices. Some of its eco-friendly tactics include removing single-use plastic packaging, and purchasing ingredients from local producers. Restaurant Labyrinth is the epitome of sustainable dining — not to mention, it won the 2021 Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021 this year.
Ultimately, adapting a sustainable lifestyle takes time, effort, commitment, and a shift in mindset. Sustainable living and dining need to be consistently nurtured, as it’s not as easy as one would think. As restaurants begin shifting towards a more sustainable approach, we too have to do our part to be conscious of how we treat this planet. A small step is understanding how we approach and enjoy food, which is also a delicious way to start.