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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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H O S T E D
OK, I have to be honest. I am not into healthy food especially those that are "hard core" if you know what I mean. But because August was my birthday month, I'd spoiled myself with far too many rich meals. Inevitably, guilt set in. So I wanted to "eat clean" to balance out those indulgences but had trouble locating a place to go. As fate would have it, I was invited by Word Of Mouth P.R. to a tasting at Wholesome Savour - a vegan and gluten-free eatery in Palais Renaissance. It seemed like the universe was trying to tell me something 😆
Admittedly, I was a tad worried because I generally like my food unhealthily delicious ("more pork lard please"). Hence, my secret fear was their food would bore me. However, the dishes I had, turned out to be actually much tastier than I'd anticipated. What a pleasant shocker!
It helped that while waiting, I learned from the friendly owner Jason Fong, so much about the company's approach and philosophy to food, as well as their on-site high-tech preparation methods.
Only ingredients with the highest amount of nuitrients make the cut and they use alkaline water in everything too. What's more, nothing, and I mean nothing, is "cooked" at temperatures above 46 degrees celsius. So the benefits of everything, from vegetable to nut, and spice to grain, are retained at their maximum.
You would think that prices would be exorbitant with all that effort but nope. The Smoothie Bowls pictured above were listed as $10++ each (I especially loved the one with housemade almond milk, bananas, berries and crunchy "green-ola"), while "The Savour BLT" with avocado, an ingenious "bacon" made from coconut, fresh vegetables and lemon cream sandwiched between onion and sunflower seed "bread", cost only $15++.
The strawberries-covered Hangover "Bread" (also $15++) reminded me of a dense alcohol-free fruitcake. Accompanying it were the most amazing cinnamon coconut almond butter, fermented cashew macadamia yogurt and berry-chia jelly - all made in-house naturally.
I also realised how filling these ultra healthy dishes were as the hungry pangs didn't strike till many hours later.

There are many reasons why I always return to Spago at MBS. Leading the list is because every dish that leaves the kitchen helmed by Chef Greg Bess, is impeccably executed. Here is a glowing example, coupled with a healthy dose of creativity after his 2-week break of inspired brainstorming.
Lush and colourful, this salad is not only a sight to behold, but also a lyrical medley of many things Japanese on the tastebuds. The harmonious arrangement of the different kinds of tomatoes with Japanese sea lettuce sautéed in yuzu and soy, and crisp cucumber blossoms in an umeboshi vinaigrette dressing is both umami and refreshing. Lifting the vegetables with its light-as-air texture is the surprising miso "soil".
If you are at Spago for dinner, I highly recommend giving this appetiser a try. All of us who had it yesterday, haven't stopped singing praises about it.

The combination of burrata and tomatoes is nothing new but I feel this vibrant coloured rendition at Fat Lulu's deserves some attention.
Firstly, they use San Mazarno tomatoes which are imported from Italy. Sweet and firm of flesh, the tomatoes are halved, then plated not just with burrata cheese but also an interesting gula melaka balsamic vinaigrette, bits of olives and a basil oil.
This simple but really good dish should not be missed for its interesting local touch on an Italian classic.

The hardy, fibrous kale can sometimes make me feel like a cow chewing its cuds but this rendition at Dempsey Cookhouse and Bar blew that notion out of the water.
Chopped into small pieces, the frilly vegetable was dressed in a perky dressing of mustard vinaigrette. The garnishes of brioche croutons, pickled green chillies and mint gave the salad a vibrant liveliness.
Whatever else you order, be it the pasta, pizza or burger, I think this makes a refreshing complement. You can always get it as a light meal to have on its own too.

After seeing Burppler @blueskiescottonclouds post about O'bean Organic Soya Vegetarian Place, I decided to take my parents there for dinner after convincing them it's a healthier alternative to our usual "zi char".
Here are the dishes shared among the three of us:
1) Sambal Four Heavenly Bean Claypot ($13.80+) - My dad and I liked this the most because it's just like what you'd get at typical "zi char" places except that the sambal is not as umami as it doesn't have dried shrimp.
2) Seaweed Century Egg Fried Egg ($15.80+) - The taste of the century egg was subtle as there wasn't a lot of it but overall, it's still decent especially if you dip it in the chilli sauce.
3) Dumpling Soya Soup ($11.80+) - My dad wasn't into this at all but mum was. Basically, it tastes like a slightly diluted soya bean milk with a subtle savoury slant. There are about half a dozen large, silky-skin dumplings, corn on cob and vegetables in there so it's suitable as a light meal for one person too.
4) Muttonless Curry Vegetable Claypot ($16.80+) - I enjoyed the chunky pieces of mock mutton (there's a succulent crunchiness in the stringy texture) and generous amount of cabbage and long beans. The curry itself is very thick - not exactly slurp-able in my opinion.

Verdict: I doubt vegetarian meals will ever be a regular event for us but this detour was a pleasant change. We did leave with takeaway cups of their warm organic soya milk with pearls which were very good.

H O S T E D
Not sure which rock I was hiding under for the longest time but I only found out today Open Door Policy has a menu that is completely gluten-free and dairy-free. Head Chef Freddy has taken many, many months to experiment and fine-tune to make this possible while not compromising on flavours. Check out the above four dishes (clockwise from top left) which are new additions in the Mains section of their menu.
The Vegetable Tempura Risotto ($25++) is a clever contrast of crunchy-battered vegetables with the smooth yet chewy grains. I liked the subtle zing brought by the pickled pink ginger too.
If you prefer pasta, the Spaghetti Alle Vongole ($28++) which has a luscious creamy sauce made with white miso, should satisfy. I found the plentiful clams to be fresh and sweet as well.
The Roasted Pork Rack ($38++) was beautifully tender and juicy, with accompaniments of purple sweet potato and baby kailan that almost stole the limelight. I thought it's good that the spicy pineapple sauce was served on the side, so I could pour on the amount of hot and fruity sauce to my liking.
The Sou-Vide Salmon ($32++) was incredibly moist. And like the pork, had a sauce that's served in a jug. Having been simmered in a light, mild chilli and white miso soup, the daikon was one delicious chunk of yumminess. And I was a happy camper to see this comes with a profusion of green Chinese cabbage too.
After today's tasting, my conclusion is Open Door Policy is an ideal destination for those who are health-conscious, yet are unwilling to forego tastiness in their food.

Guaranteed to keep you full for hours, this features two poached eggs on a large sesame seed pretzel (known in Greek as "Koulouri") and loads of thick, creamy, cool Greek yogurt. Lashings of extra virgin olive oil, a splash of spicy oil and masses of chopped chives oomphs up the dish wonderfully.
You have to appreciate the chewiness of a good pretzel to enjoy this. And that, I definitely do.

It's never happened but last week, I picked the healthiest item in Artistry's menu for breakfast 😂 Which was this.
As the acai was served in a soft frozen state, it was more than ideal for the crazy hot weather. Also included was a bunch of other so-good-for-you stuff, like Greek yogurt, assorted berries, toasted sunflower seeds and coconut flakes (I really liked this!), making it quite the perfect healthy, refreshing and filling treat.
So, although Artistry launches a NEW MENU filled with loads of exciting items today, I'm glad that this, along with a few of their popular signatures like the Chilli Crab Burger and BRB Hotcake, are still available. Whew! 😄

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to where to eat along Tanjong Katong Road. It is why I've never stepped into this popular vegetarian place even though I have walked past it many times. Well, until tonight that is.
With Punggol Nasi Lemak closed, I decided to take the plunge and try something meatless. Shocking, I know 😜 So a bowl of "Monkey Head Mushroom Mee Sua" ($7.80) and "Burdock Mushroom Rolls" ($6.80) were what I ended up having for my late dinner.
The soup was the herbal sort and the fine strands of soft noodles came with an abundance of soya beancurd in various forms, as well as juicy mushrooms of the Monkey Head and shiitake variety.
As for the rolls, I liked how crispy the sheets of beancurd skin wrapping them were, and thought the minced up burdock and mushroom filling was tasty too.
Overall, both items were really decent; and trust me, that's high praise coming from an ardent meat-lover. I'd say they're good enough for me to consider returning to try the other vegetarian items from the extensive menu. Speaking of which, my mind was pretty boggled as I flipped through pages listing everything from tom yum noodles to mutton curry, laksa to "ma la" stews, and luncheon meat to pizzas.

Pumpkin isn't necessarily something I automatically go gaga for. I have to be in the mood and of course, the way it's prepared has to resonate with me. This Woodfired Pumpkin Salad at Firebake hit the jackpot.
Roasted to the point of mushy softness, the large wedges of pumpkin came with crumbly chunks of feta and a heap of fresh mixed greens. The dressing used for the salad and the salty cheese complemented the sweetness of the pumpkin better than I imagined.

When the guilt of over-indulgence comes crashing down on me, I look for simpler, meat-free dishes to alleviate it.
Which is why I gravitated towards the "Vegetable Rice Bowl" when I was last at Wheeler's Yard.
On top of the Japanese rice was a neat arrangement of braised daikon, fine French beans, bok choy, corn, silken tofu and braised mushrooms. These were finished with a splash of a light, savoury and sweet sauce for a little flavour boost. Yums!

Nasi Ulam is such a rarity these days. I am sure it being terribly labourious to prepare is the main reason for that. And its limited availability leads to less awareness of this Peranakan rice salad, which equals to less demand. Sigh....
Anyway, if you miss eating this classic, or want to give it a try (in case one day it goes the way of the dinosaurs), you can get a good rendition from "Chendol Melaka", a little stall inside the coffeeshop at the corner of Upper East Coast Road and Jalan Tua Kong. Besides selling their namesake, they also have Nasi Ulam made the traditional way. Which means the rice packs an incredible amount of fragrance and flavours, thanks to the copious amounts of finely sliced and chopped up herbs and spices. This list includes laksa leaf, torch ginger flower, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf and many more. The vegetables, such as the four-cornered bean and long bean, are also cut into fine pieces before being tossed with the flakes of cooked fish, fish stock and fluffy rice grains.
Served at room temperature, the Nasi Ulam is wonderful eaten on its own. You can however, add on some of their home-made sambal belachan if you like your food spicier. I think it's shiok either way.
As previously mentioned, this is not easy to make. Hence, quantity is limited. I recommend going to the stall early to avoid disappointment.

About Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

Veronica Phua

4920 Reviews  89750 Followers

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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