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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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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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H O S T E D P R E V I E W
Probably the simplest in appearance of all the courses I had by the new American Chef de Cuisine Aisha Ibrahim but oh, how it surprised!
This bowl of Sprouted Grains with Wagyu Beef bowled me over (#punintended) with its multi-textural composition of the grain’s bright crunch and the silkiness of the barely-cooked beef.
In terms of flavour, it was perky with newborn freshness from the growing grains and yet, it purred with sensuousness from the red-blooded meat.
To fully luxuriate in such fabulousness, I actually had my eyes closed for a few moments while eating. And I ate with a deliberate slowness. All the better to truly savour.

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H O S T E D P R E V I E W
What a wondrous meal befitting the breathtaking surroundings the restaurant is set in.
[email protected], with its glass walls facing nothing but lush greenery and calm waters, transports you in an instant to tranquility.
Hailing from California, the new Chef de Cuisine Aisha Ibrahim and her Sous Chef Samantha Beaird have created a menu that represents the essence of this space. Various ingredients grown in the grounds, appear in the dishes.
To me, Chef Aisha’s cooking is distinctively female and I mean that in the best possible way. It is lyrical, it is nuanced. It is poetry in edible form. Always exuding confidence, her creations are complex with layers and subtlety. More details about a few of the dishes will be posted in the coming days.
Come January 2018, I highly recommend an escape to Tangerine to experience this culinary breath of fresh air for yourself.

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A study of tasty contrasts in the mouth came from the slightly soft, smoky sweet potato and the chewy quinoa. Crumbly feta cheese gave this its salty edge while sundried tomatoes lent a deep note of sweetness. Completing the party were pinenuts and piparra, a type of mild, tangy green peppers from Northern Spain.
Good choice whether you’re a vegetarian or not.

Introduced by Burpple Tastemaker @Blueskiescottonclouds, one-month-old Avorush in Asia Square’s Food Garden specialises in avocado toasts from 7.30am onwards, and expand their offerings to avocado bowls for lunch from about 11am.
The food here is prepared fresh daily which makes it even more value-for-money. I ordered a regular Avocado Bowl for $9 nett (a large costs $13) but because I picked the rosemary beef for my protein, an extra $1 was needed. There wasn’t a huge serving of the meat but it’s really tender from being sous-vided before being grilled.
Everything else that I chose to make up my plate - the summer pasta, balsamic roasted beetroot and carrots, grilled zucchini, sliced avocado and basil aioli, actually tasted very good too. The food here seems to possess just the right amount of seasoning, so I didn’t feel like I had to compromise on flavour because I felt like having something healthy.
Avorush also serves super açaí bowls, avocado smoothies, a watermelon and mint coconut water slushie, organic coffee from Melbourne and for cheat days, a decadent looking Martinucci Tiramisu.

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Ordered the Lemon & Garlic Hummus and the Roasted Sweet Potato with Chilli ($7++ each) because they were recommended to me by Burpplers - Blueskiescottonclouds and Jayne Tan. Both dips were excellent - smooth, light and packed with flavour dimensions beyond your average one.
The accompanying flatbread is worth a mention as they're warm, light and puffy. Ratio-wise, I felt it wasn't quite right but that's why the menu includes the option of extra flatbread or country bread for $3++ more. Clever.

What a cheery sight. Salmon, roe, pineapples, tomato - some of the most vividly coloured food in the universe, collided in a bowl. I just need to remember to tick the "Large Nalu Poke Bowl" next time. The "Little Swell" was too Brazilian bikini (read: skimpy) on fish to satisfy me. I need a maillot, with the emphasis on "lot" 😁

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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.

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

What To Read Next

Burpple Guides, Vegetarian, Healthy Best Places for Vegetarian in Singapore 2017 Keep this guide in your back pocket if you're a vegetarian, and if you're not, for times when you're dining with a vegetarian, or when you simply feel like going meat-free — it's great for the environment AND your tummy! We've put together the best spots in Singapore to inspire you to get your green on, from well-loved vegan burgers to super affordable vegetarian hawker fare and hearty Korean plates. We've even scoured the island for vegan treats, including dairy-free ice cream and scrumptious vegan cakes!
Interesting Snacks // Mid Day Treat 🍡🍢

What To Read Next

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Burpple Guides, Vegetarian, Healthy Best Places for Vegetarian in Singapore 2017 Keep this guide in your back pocket if you're a vegetarian, and if you're not, for times when you're dining with a vegetarian, or when you simply feel like going meat-free — it's great for the environment AND your tummy! We've put together the best spots in Singapore to inspire you to get your green on, from well-loved vegan burgers to super affordable vegetarian hawker fare and hearty Korean plates. We've even scoured the island for vegan treats, including dairy-free ice cream and scrumptious vegan cakes!
Interesting Snacks // Mid Day Treat 🍡🍢