From Monday to Friday this week, the Go Away team will be revealing the 50 foods we believe will define your dining experience in Singapore. A mix of international and local flavours, these lists comprise of old-time favourites, well-known populars, as well as little-known gems. Part 4 of our 5-part series explores healthy, wholesome AND delicious foods from around our island.
After a week of hearty eating, we slow things down a notch with some body-loving grub. If your idea of healthy eating conjures up images of boring salads or bland tofu, you just might be pleasantly surprised with our list. Not only are these foods nutritious, they’re also incredibly tasty. Don’t believe me? Read on!
1. Build Your Own Bowl, from $13.90
#B1-08 Ocean Financial Centre
What we like about Shinkansen’s Japanese-inspired protein bowl is the variety on offer. For bases, you have three choices: Romaine and butterhead lettuce, buckwheat soba, or mixed grain sushi rice, depending on how famished you feel. Next, add a protein like miso braised pork, maple and genmaicha cured salmon, yakiniku rib steak, and more. Vegetarians have the option of adding a spicy miso tofu. Add toppings like quinoa, avocado or an onsen egg before choosing a dressing. Personally, we love the umami-rich wholegrain miso honey mustard. Its generous portions will keep even the most active of people full until their next meal. Best part? Takeaways are available from 11.30am all the way till 7pm.
2. Lean Green Pasta, $22
8D Dempsey Road (Tel: 6475 7787)
When we were told this pasta dish is gluten-free, our first reaction was, “Hmmm …” How can a carb dish be gluten-free? But this turned out to be a 100% vegetarian dish meat-loving Deborah could eat. Gluten free fusilli pasta is tossed in an Asian herb pesto made with pumpkin seeds and walnuts. Served with sugar snaps, asparagus, French beans, and broccoli, this pasta dish is full of textures and, definitely a good source of fibre.
3. Thunder Tea Rice, from $3.80
Lin Da Ma
Blk 44 Holland Drive Market & Food Centre (Tel: 9630 8110)
If you’ve always avoided thunder tea rice because you think it’s too “green”, we strongly recommend you give this one a shot. Each bowl comes with a medley of vegetables like long beans, cabbage, and “money veggies” that have been lightly fried to lend the rice a delicious fragrance. Beancurd, peanuts, and preserved radish provide an added layer of crunch and texture to the meal. Even the soup here is unlike the typical thunder tea soups, which have a strong aroma of basil. This fiercely-guarded recipe is light and refreshing on the palate, and will have you wanting seconds.
4. TLC “Cheese Burger”, $20
Living Cafe & Deli
779 Bukit Timah Road (Tel: 6762 8029)
This is a dish that even a self-professed carnivore like Deborah has given her stamp of approval, so you’ll know it’s legit. The patty is an impressive blend of portobello mushrooms, almonds, sunflower seeds, and assorted spices; the “bun” is made up of two large lettuce leaves. Wedged between your bun and patty are tomatoes, sprouts, onions, and beetroot. With so much texture and colour going on on your plate, it’s impossible for this to taste anything less than full-flavoured and robust. Proof? We decimated the dish in less than 10 minutes.
5. Vegetarian Nasi Lemak, $8.50
Rail Mall, 434 Upper Bukit Timah Road (Tel: 6892 2383)
We would normally associate nasi lemak as a sinful meal that’s oily and full of deep-fried stuff. But this vegetarian nasi lemak is as tasty as it is sin-free. Fragrant brown rice cooked in coconut milk is served with vegetarian substitutes of the usual suspects. Instead of fish cake, you get a pan-fried tofu, and instead of ikan bilis, you get battered mushroom stalks sliced finely to resemble the fish. The cafe also serves up healthy alternatives (no mock meat!) to favourites like Bak Kut Teh, Thunder Tea Rice, and Hakka Abacus.
6. Acai Bowls, from $6.80
Holland Village, 27 Lorong Liput
At first glance, you may be thinking, “WHAT is this mush?” But one scoop in, and your eyes will probably widen in amazement. The “slush” is actually frozen acai mashed up; acai is a type of berry native to the Amazon rainforest and is known for being densely packed with antioxidants, omegas 3, 6, and 9. It is also high in fibre and low in sugar, making this your healthful alternative to ice cream or fro-yo. Each acai bowl comes topped with a colourful assortment of fresh fruit and your choice of other superfoods like chia seeds, goji berries or coconut shavings. Flavourful and refreshing, this is a must-try, especially on hot days.
7. Raw Lasagne, $20
24 Keong Saik Rd (Tel: 6224 8921)
Don’t worry, there’s no raw dough involved here. Instead, layers of fresh zucchini sheets are used to replace the texture of heavy pasta sheets. Mayonnaise and heavy cream have also been eschewed for Afterglow’s secret concoction of raw cashew nut cheese and homemade tomato sauce. As for the “meat”, this is created by marinating and soaking walnuts before mixing them with herbs such as cumin and tamarind. The result? A light yet oh-so-satisfying lasagne that has a unique “crunch” to each bite.
8. “Chicken” Rice, $7.90
1 Lorong Telok (Tel: 6438 7118)
Forget mock meats. The chefs at vegan restaurant Genesis have a knack for using veg-friendly ingredients to re-create some of our favourite local dishes. For example, the “chicken” in this dish is made using beancurd sheets, which gives it a similar bite to chicken meat. Also, although the rice isn’t the greasy chicken rice that we are used to, it still has a satisfying aroma to it. This is a healthful meal that leaves you feeling clean and nourished.
9. Hainanese “Beef” Noodles, $5.50
North South East West Vegetarian Restaurant
200 Tanjong Katong Road (Tel: 8100 0049)
There’s a reason why this dish is the restaurant’s signature dish. It’s super delicious! The broth is hearty and full of flavour, and it comes with generous chunks of radish, carrots, and beansprouts to accompany the “beef”, which are actually mushroom stalks. It also comes with a serving of salted vegetables, which tempers the sweetness of the broth.
10. Chicken “Rice” Salad
Meat and Green
84 Circular Road (Tel: 6557 0457)
Seriously tender poached chicken, an authentic tasty chilli and ginger combo that can rival some of the best chicken rice chilli we’ve had … yep, we’re absolutely in love with this healthy take on a local favourite that replaces rice with quinoa atop a generous serving of fresh greens. It’s also available as a wrap if you’re on the lookout for something more filling.
Fellow foodies in Singapore, we know this list is by no means exhaustive. Let us know your personal recommendation too!