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Healthy Eats

Healthy Eats

When guilt sets in after I've indulged in too many rich meals consecutively, I try to balance things out with lighter, healthier food. It's no coincidence that vegetarian dishes become my top choice at these times.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua
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M E D I A T A S T I N G
This month (September) is the restaurant’s 3rd anniversary and I am embarrassed to admit today’s visit was a first for me. But I now see why it’s beloved by many.
Group Executive Chef Seumas Smith who is below thirty years of age, has an impressive resume from having started work in kitchens at the age of sixteen. He hails from Scotland’s Isle of Mey, and has cleverly tapped into his roots, working with small producers there to incorporate unique elements in his food.
Speaking of which, for me, the show-stealers at the tasting I attended, were the vegetable-centred dishes. They‘re part of “Maggie Joan’s” new menu and were all gorgeous to behold and fabulously delicious.
Even if you’re not by nature a greens-lover, you ought not to skip the following:
1) The beetroot done two ways - barbecued in the INKA charcoal oven and pickled in a mix of red wine, red wine vinegar, sugar for 2 days. They were plated with smoked creme fraiche over hickory wood chips, candied walnuts and upland cress.
2) The refreshing gazpacho of green French tomatoes finished with deep-fried artichokes and goat’s curd from Neal’s Yard Dairy in London.
3) The unbelievably beautiful carrots that were first confit in butter before being grilled in the INKA charcoal oven then tossed in brown butter, black sesame seeds, parsley and honey.
4) The salad of Japanese cucumber and English sugar snap peas dressed in a white miso sesame.

With such strong non-meat dishes, it’s great to see “Maggie Joan’s” offers a vegetarian Chef’s Selection Menu. It can also be tweaked to suit vegans.

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I have been under the weather for the last couple of days and it has affected my appetite. So I made up my mind to start today off on a healthy note with a quick stop at “Brawn & Brains” for breakfast.
Instead of my usual order of their spicy Curried Chicken Wrap (which would have have made my throat worse), I very sensibly chose the avocado on whole wheat toast and half-boiled egg.
As you can always expect with #brawnandbrains, the avocado was at its perfect point of ripeness and immaculately sliced. The toast, which was cut quite thin, was nice and soft too. Complementing these, a half-boiled egg served separately so nothing gets soggy by accident.

Stupendous hummus alert.
With smoked jalapeños and plenty of garlic amping it up, this housemade beauty is a real diva amongst wallflowers. Unabashed and fabulous, she will stomp your tastebuds in her heels. And you’ll be begging for more.
The price is inclusive of two pieces of woodfired sourdough baked fresh daily on the premises and trust me, they’re very good.
If you want extra bread to mop up the hummus, you have a choice of more sourdough, or opt for pita bread or Turkish bread instead. They each cost $4+.

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H O S T E D
Dee, the lady boss of PR agency, Bless Inc. Asia, had mentioned the "Black Bean Strozzapreti" was her favourite item here and I knew exactly why once I had a taste of it.
In accordance with their mission to close the distance between farm and table, and support producers located in the region while creating wholesome, tasty dishes, Head Chef Oliver Truesdale-Jutras and Sous Chef Phoebe Oviedo made the pasta from scratch using black beans from Zenxin Organics in Malaysia. Not only did this add colour to the twirls of carb, but a fermented edge to its flavour too.
Representing producers in Singapore were mushrooms from Kin Yan, fresh sorrel from Edible Garden City and organic tofu from Unicurd. I was particularly struck by how delicious the tofu was as it had been smoked in-house at the restaurant. Silky soft in texture, the white blobs had a smokiness that was pretty aggressive yet strangely seductively. I loved it.

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H O S T E D
The new leads of Open Farm Community’s culinary team are Head Chef Oliver Truesdale-Jutras and Sous Chef Phoebe Oviedo, and this couple are truly passionate about “locavore”, a term to describe “a movement of people who prefer to eat foods which are grown or farmed relatively close to the places of sale and preparation” (thanks google!). Therefore, you can expect their contemporary casual style of cooking to feature mostly locally-sourced produce as well as vegetables and herbs grown right in the grounds at Open Farm Community (OFC).
There were two such dishes from last Thursday’s dinner that left a strong impression on me. One of them was this Barramundi which tasted exceptionally fresh. I learned the reason for this is because the fish they use takes less than 6 hours to travel from the source to the restaurant. Supplied by Tiberias, a marine farm just off Pulau Ubin, the barramundi was steamed with dashi butter and topped with housemade furikake using local seaweed and pulut hitam. The sweetness of the sautéed snow peas and baby pea shoots also had me smittened. How lovely to know that the latter as well as the blue pea flowers crowning the dish, were both harvested from OFC’s own garden.
Such effort from the chefs to stay true to their beliefs and to champion the brand’s direction is admirable, and inspires even greater appreciation from me for the dish.

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I didn’t expect to enjoy the Popiah from “J & A Snacks Delight” as much as I did. It’s more savoury than sweet thanks to no overloading of the sweet black sauce, and is stuffed with a tasty simmered turnip filling. However, if you like your freshly assembled spring rolls to have a lot of fried batter for crunch and lettuce, you will be disappointed because this isn’t their style. But I do think their more traditional Popiah is really delicious. Even my mum thought so when I bought it for my parents to try.
“J & A Snacks Delight” is a little eatery located in a ground floor shop unit at Blk. 7 Jalan Batu, close to the corner coffeeshop selling the popular “Tanjong Rhu Pau”. Their menu is small but has the kind of food that I would order at the drop of a hat - think Mee Siam (theirs is also very good!), Mee Rebus and Rojak.
Seating is rather awkward with a few mismatched tables and chairs placed along the walkway outside. And due to the slightly slanted ground, not the most comfortable. But since their food is tasty, it really doesn’t matter. #willdoanythingforgoodfood
#veronicaphuaeats #popiah #springrolls #burpproved #burpple #burpplesg #foreverhungry #whati8today #freshspringrolls #jalanbatu #hawkerfood #hawkerfoodsg #hawkersg #sghawker #igfoodie #sgfoodies #instafood_sg #sgfood #foodspotting #foodporn #foodie #foodlover #foodstagram #igfood #onthetable #feedfeed #singaporefood #traditionalfood

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H O S T E D
Açaí bowls - I can’t say I love them the way many do but once in a blue moon, I don’t mind having one. Just to help alleviate the guilt of my far-too-many indulgent meals.
The latest one I tucked into is the “Pura Vida” ($12.50) from Coocaça at Liat Towers, and it’s surprisingly filling. Housemade granola, coconut flakes, sliced bananas, kiwi fruit, strawberry and mango were neatly arranged on the top of the cold açaí. As I sat in the heat of the midday sun, I realised this was possibly the healthiest lunch I had eaten in ages!

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Most people only think of “Long Phuong” when it comes to Vietnamese eateries in Joo Chiat. However, I feel their standard of food and service isn’t the same as before.
On a recent visit during off-peak hours, I found that it paled in comparison to “Lâp Vietnamese”, a place located alongside, separated by the small road leading into a public carpark.
Pictured above is the green papaya salad I had at this lesser well-known venue. I can vouch that it tasted a lot better in terms of freshness and seasoning than Long Phuong’s. Service was also a lot more prompt, warm and welcoming.

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In this day and age where it’s a norm for menus to undergo revamps on a regular basis, I can’t help but feel a sense of awe when I encounter a dish that‘s existed since the restaurant opened its doors nearly 18 years ago.
Meet the “Buko Nero Tau Kwa Tower” ($22.50+), an Italian-Asian creation that has stood the test of time and in my opinion, the fickleness of food trends. Sure, it may not be that groundbreaking compared to the fancier stuff presented by many younger chefs nowadays but this was revolutionary for its time and still tastes damn good when I had it for dinner tonight.
Like the mixed race couple who owns and runs this establishment, it is a lovely intermarriage. The tall stack is formed by two large pieces of local “tau kwa” (firm soya beancurd) layered with a sautéed mix of vegetables and enoki mushrooms, crowned with fresh salad leaves and finished with a drizzle of sweetish, non-spicy Asian style dressing.
What I loved about it then and now is how the humble “tau kwa”, tasked with a key role to play in this east-meets-west production, performs above and beyond expectations. The strength of its “international supporting cast” cannot be discounted either of course.

Recently, the Business Development team from Burpple introduced me to this air-conditioned vegetarian eatery near the office. I had been there once before, about two years ago at least, but it was during my visit with the team that had me really open my eyes to the tasty vegetarian options here.
There are two ways to purchase food at this venue. For items listed in their menu (the “Mee Hoon Kueh” is a fave of my colleagues), you order from the counter, but they also have a little set-up within the premises that operates like a “chap chye png” hawker stall. This is where you get to pick and choose a carb (fried beehoon, white or brown rice) and the dishes to go on top.
Based on my last couple of drop-ins for lunch, I found the fried beehoon flavourful and the dishes I tried, well-cooked. My recommendation would be to order a mix of the stewed and the crispy.
During lunchtime, it can get packed here with the working crowd but fortunately, there is ample seating. I would suggest arriving earlier if you like to have a wider choice of dishes from the stall because the food moves quickly.

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I am a hardcore meat-lover but the vegetarian courses from the omakase dinner I had last Friday at “Cheek By Jowl” were magnificent.
Original, beautifully nuanced and extremely fulfilling, I could be persuaded to be a vegetarian or even vegan but only if every dish I eat promises to be as superb as the one above.
The artichoke was presented here in two forms: a purée and with its skin crisped. Poured only upon serving, the light onion consommé completed the harmonious medley with a sweetness that seemed to me, had a hint of smokiness. I think I didn’t miss meat because the cluster of succulent Shimeji mushrooms played a great placebo.

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H O S T E D
Mornings just got more marvelous at Firebake with their new breakfast set and all-day items, like this Grilled Vegetable Sandwich. They are served bright and early from 8.30am onwards every day, including weekends.
If you are looking for a substantial meatless option, you should totally get this. Between the lightly-toasted slices of the Wave bread (Firebake’s signature white sourdough) are thick slices of grilled courgette, chunks of portobello mushroom and creamy pieces of brie. The “icing-on-the-cake” in this case is the housemade Kasundi, an Indian-style relish concocted from mustard, tomatoes and chickpeas. It adds an exotic punch of flavour to the mix, thereby teleporting this sandwich from the West to the East in one swipe.
The good news for you late-risers is that it’s available all day till 5.30pm. So don’t worry about having to crawl out of bed before midday for this.

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Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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