Friday, November 29, 2013

Vegetarian Friendly Places

I've been trying to increase my fruit and vegetable intake after going for a lecture by one of the KTPH dietitians. She asked how many of us ate our 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and the whole auditorium was filled with guilty mumblings.

I can't remember her name, but I loved it when she said that the blue colour Gardenia bread (the high fibre white bread) has the same amount of fibre as the green colour (wholemeal) one (seriously it's so white and soft I've always been a skeptic). How can this soft white bread have the same amount of fibre as the brown wholesome wholemeal bread? The answer is that it's because it's soluble fibre. Which has the additional benefits of delaying gastric emptying, slowing glucose absorption from the small intestines and decreasing LDL cholesterol (aka the bad cholesterol) - and mind you, all these benefits is on top of the benefits of fibre (soluble and insoluble in general).

This post will review some of the vegetarian cafes/health(ier) cafes that I've tried over the year (which is not many, so it's combined into one post). I quite like the taste of vegetarian food and find it really interesting how the dishes are cooked with just vegetables. However, one thing I cannot accept for vegeterain food is all the mock meats - I really dislike them alot. Perhaps it's cos I'm not vegetarian so I can always eat the real thing anytime.

Real Food (Square 2, The Central - Eu Tong Seng Street, Killiney Road, West Coast Plaza)
10 Sinaran Drive Square 2
Singarpoe 307506 Tel 63972289
 The Real Food dumplings are really impressive - it's encased in a silky smooth wanton skin, with lots of chopped veggies to give it a chewy texture. From studying the chopped bits of veggies, I can see mushrooms, carrots and tofu, and according to their website, chestnuts, french beans etc etc and each are hand made so they have limited stocks daily.
I really liked the dumpling soup, and decided to try the dumpling noodles  ($8.80) for lunch one day. I didn't particularly like the noodles and the sauce (tasted very vegetarian and a bit mushroom-ey) but the dumplings, the crisp vegetables and the lone cherry tomato were pretty good.

I think I'll get a dumpling soup and their salad the next time I'm there. Or maybe the banana strawberry pancakes. Apparently their beetroot burger is really good, and so is their signature salad.

Btw, if you takeaway, and you're intending to take away a large portion, please remember to bring a bag. Or some form of carrier. Cos they only give you the boxed food and no carrier as they are very environmentally friendly.

I'm not a fan of their cold pressed juices - and I think that $6-8 is way too much to pay for fruit juice. I usually get my daily fix of ABC juice from the juice store right outside Real food in Square 2 for $2.80.

Service is quite slow, as they make everything fresh, so it might not be the best place to grab your food from if you're in a rush. It's much better to have a slow, sit down meal here. (The place is really nice, wooden tables and chairs, and has a really relaxing vibe).

The Living Cafe (near Sixth Avenue)
779 Bukit Timah Road, Singaproe 269758 
Tel 67628039

Sadly, none of my friends shared the same enthusiasm as me for the Living Cafe's menu. Even my only friend who sort of likes to eat healthily cannot accept the food there. Perhaps we were a bit too hard core and ate the mushroom with 'cheese' and 'taco meat' (which I didn't really mind but my friend did).  Another thing I couldn't accept was the raw foods. The raw soup is really an acquired taste - obviously I don't have the palate for it. It tastes like cold savoury vegetable juice.

They used to have these really awesome salmon sashimi rice rolls with mango, capers and veggies rolled into a smooth rice paper wrap, served with balsamic vinegar and a side salad. If it was cheaper, I'd buy it alot more often. However, they have revamped the menu and this dish has been taken off.

I'm enamoured by the Revive Smoothie, which has golgi berries, dates, banana, coconut, flax seed and bee pollen. I could do without the last 2. It's very tasty, with the sweetness coming from the dates and a subtle banana taste (which makes it creamy too).

We didn't quite like the raw desserts - we tried the raspberry cheesecake which has a mousse like texture and the layers kept sliding off each other.

Novena Square, Various Outlets
I'm extremely happy that I found that one of my friends has the same sentiments as me over an impromptu breakfast at Cedele.
They do a pretty good beetroot burger ($8.50) - I think would be better if they didn't put so many chickpeas in it (I'm not partial to chickpeas). The beetroot patty has a nice intense shade of purple and it looks vaguely like a medium-rare steak. I also like the avocado that comes with it. I think it tastes best with pumpkin bread (cos the bread is round and is about the same size as the beetroot patty). In fact, I like it so much and ate it for my birthday lunch (thankfully - I would have been depressed otherwise).

Cedele also does a really good salad - they have a salad bar where you choose
1. Either romaine lettuce or spinach (+$1)
2. 2 protein - choice of sausage, grilled chicken breast, fritatta, smoked salmon, egg, various forms of pasta etc etc
3. 4 toppings including edamame, beetroot, chickpeas, quinoa, wasabi sprouts etc etc
And top it off with a dressing of your choice. I've only tried the Caesar salad dressing and honey mustard. Go for the honey mustard - it's very chunky and sweet.
They also have combo meals with the salad - $11.50 will get you a salad + hot drink, $12.50 gets you a salad + soup.

I had mine with romaine lettuce, chicken breast and pasta, corn, edamame, beetroot and wasabi sprouts. I really like the wasabi sprouts - it has a mild spicy wasabi smell and taste.

I'd suggest that you don't take the pasta cos Cedele provides free flow bread. I completely forgot about the breads and was dying for some carbs at that time. Their clam chowder is awesome.

Too bad that their service at the Square 2 branch is so excruciatingly slow during lunch time, so I'll usually give this place a miss if I'm pressed for time.

Sunny Choice (The Rail Mall)
434 Upper Bukit Timah Road
Singaproe 678060
Tel 68922383
 I have been a mountain tortoise and even though I live really nearby, and had some vague knowledge that there was a vegetarian restaurant there, I have never ventured in until a few weeks ago (after reading some positive reviews of it online). I've been kicking myself every since, cos the food there is so fresh and good - I should really have gone there sooner!
I'll do a full post on this at a later date (need to trawl out photos from my camera card) but their vege sushi rolls are really good! There's no rice inside, so you won't go into carb coma and yet it's really refreshing. Definitely don't feel like you're missing the rice.
Their noodle salad is also delicious - vibrant mixture of vegetables, nuts, with chewy noodles and crispy rice crackers. 

They also have these really addictive pumpkin cassava chips, which really tastes of pumpkin and have the texture of keropok. I really doubt that these are healthy, but I really like pumpkin so this is currently one of my favourite snacks. It's $3.80 per packet (if I'm not wrong). 

Ok - that's the end to my post. I am still going around happily eating and trying out new food places. I definitely won't be able to give up my foie gras, wanton mee and charsiewpau or bak kwa.
Some more which I'm dying to try - Pidgin (look at their kaya bread and butter pudding! and bak kua macaroni and cheese. I'm a massive fan of bak kua and mac & cheese)


Anonymous said...

thanks for this post! and the many things I learn here. But I cut off all processed food in my diet, which means Gardinia bread is bad. Stick with real food.

Mock meat isn't all bad. I met up with Hungry Angmo recently and he taught me a lot about vegetarian food. Mock meat has 3 types: made from mushrooms, soy or gluten, the last one is the worst. Mushrooms and soy are pretty healthy.

I'd really love to have a meal with you soon. Maybe next year. Happy holidays.

red fir said...

I hate mock meats!

Gardenia bread IS real food. Why not real?