The pioneer of city foraging pushing Singaporean produce to the fore
With the opening of Native in Singapore at the end of 2016, Vijay Mudaliar started the revolution that brought the locavore movement to the international bar scene, pushing Singaporean produce into the spotlight. This year, Native is recognised with the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award as the bar that demonstrated the highest commitment to sustainability in The World’s 50 Best Bars 2019 list.
At Native, the focus is on everything local. It doesn’t just extend to Singaporean ingredients, but also furniture, music and barware – even the aprons are sourced or commissioned from local farmers and artisans. A significant amount of the bar’s produce comes from a local rooftop farm 10 minutes’ walk from Native, which provides pandan and laksa leaves, wood sorrel and plenty more, while 100% per cent of the ingredients are sourced within 100km of Singapore.
The bar team distils and infuses Native’s ingredients in its attic and focuses on using spirits produced within the confines of Asia Pacific. Among the often-underrated serves used at Native are Chalong Bay Rum, Sichuan Pepper Gin and Amrut Whisky. For Native’s signature drinks Mango Lassi and Antz, Mudaliar sources the milk from a local farm and later makes yogurt and whey. The whey is used for the lassi, while Antz incorporates the yogurt as well as freeze-dried ants from South-East Asia.
The sustainable approach doesn’t stop at sourcing. Native also operates fair hiring practices and an apprenticeship scheme that offers a competitive salary to interns. The bar has recently switched to using solar energy and proves its commitment to the environment in many other ways, from re-using water and reduce wastage, to re-purposing sanitised and beeswax-coated cleaning cloths as food wrappers and using dried lotus leaves as coasters. All these initiatives go a long way to show the bar’s complete dedication to enacting a more sustainable world.
The Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award was introduced to The World's 50 Best Bars and Asia’s 50 Best Bars for the first time in 2018. The sustainability rating of each bar is assessed by Food Made Good Global through a system specially adapted from their restaurant rating, which has been used to assess sustainability for 10 years. All bars on The World's 50 Best Bars and 51-100 lists were invited to enter the award via self-nomination.