Spinach noodles and bean curd rolls at Original Taste

Sandwiched between other HK tea restaurants (cha chaan teng) on the busy Hillier Street in Sheung Wan is a humble cafe called Original Taste. The place specialises in simple home cooked meals that lean on the healthy side. I say that because they still serve meat, rice and pastas, but they tend to be lighter than your usual junk food fare.

They also have a menu dedicated to Green Monday (vegetarian options), which includes things like spinach noodle with homemade bean curd veggie rolls, veggie burgers and other spaghettis and pastas.

I tried the beetroot soup with spinach noodles and bean curd rolls, which was off the Green menu. It’s not too bad — the soup is sour enough to give it some taste, and there are about 5 bean curd rolls to fill you up.

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Panfried bean curd roll

At about HK$50-60, it’s not bad for a filling lunch in Sheung Wan. If you don’t want the spinach noodles, you can order the soup and rolls separately for a total of about HK$45ish.

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Tons of veggie chunks in the soup

Other things on the menu include pork chop rice, crispy noodle wrapped prawns, chicken steak pasta, sushi and salad.

Original Taste, 原味煮意, 14 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan, +852 2468 2866

Healthy Singapore: Project Paleo

After my morning yoga class at HOM Yoga, I stumbled across a relatively new stall in one of the local markets around the corner from Market Street!

With a fruit juice stand and local Singaporean food stalls as its neighbours, Project Paleo is a newish stall that serves paleo meals (aka. caveman diet food). The place was opened in July 2014 by a young Singaporean lady whom I met today. She said she had been paleo since about a year and prior to that, she only ate salads…

So what exactly is paleo? Basically: eating unprocessed foods that are mostly protein (meat) and greens. It also bans dairy, legumes, grains, oils, sugars, salt, alcohol and coffee. Crossfitters often stick to a paleo diet, which certainly helps them get ripped.

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Project Paleo’s counterfront

Breakfast is just S$4 and includes salad, nuts, two eggs and a protein of your choice: avocado, shrimp or pork. Lunch is S$8 and includes a main and two sides, and you can always add on more eggs, macadamia nuts, almonds or avocado if you need more substance. Check out the menu here.

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A paleo brekkie

I ordered the breakfast with shrimp and it took about 10 minutes to prepare. The shrimp was very tasty (full of cajun bbq flavour), the eggs perfectly cooked with a gooey yolk, and the lettuce was dressed in a tangy vinaigrette. I paired this with an A B C (apple, beetroot, carrot) juice in the stall across from them and was pretty full. Highly recommended!

Project Paleo, 15 Phillip Street, 01-03, +65 8692 8662, www.projectpaleo.sg 

Status

Cleansing with Mr. Green Juice

Have been traveling quite a bit this year and fell off the wagon unfortunately. Not to mention, I hurt my back during an intense circuit training workout that resulted in a herniated disc! Anyway, I’m trying to get back on track by doing tons of yoga (mostly hot) and kickstarting it with a 5-day juice cleanse with Mr. Green Juice. Review coming soon!

Two more days. Let’s do this. 💪 @mrgreenjuice #coldpressed #juicecleanse #juices #greenjuice #detox #cleanse #hkig

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Healthy Singapore: Beetroot burger at Real Food

Real Food is, as the owners put it, that “little organic cafe” underneath Clarke Quay mall that serves good, ethical and healthy food, so I went over to have dinner during my business trip in Singapore.

The menu has all-day breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, pastas, pizzas, rice, noodles, soups and snacks — plenty to choose from — but I was craving for a burger that day. I ended up ordering the beetroot burger (S$12.80) with a glass of carrot, ginger and pineapple juice (S$6).

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“Bleh.”

The beetroot burger was underwhelming, with a bland bun and sloppy patty made with beetroot, onion, zucchini, carrot and millet. There was also tomato sauce but the final result was quite bland. I think I was craving for a beetroot burger like VeggieSF‘s but this didn’t even come close.

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Got foam?

As for the juice, I was surprised at how small the glass was. Yes it was pressed out of a slow juicer, but still quite expensive for what it is.

All in all, I was not too impressed with Real Food, but might return another time to try their all-day brekkie — apparently the apple wedges with eggy toast is supposed to be good.

Real Food, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, The Central #B1-52/53, Singapore 059817, +65 62244492, www.realfoodgrocer.com

 

Yong Tau Foo
Gallery

Healthy Singapore: Yong Tau Foo

Eating healthy on business is pretty difficult, but I’ve been trying my best during my current epic three-week non-stop business trip through Bangkok, Singapore and (up next), KL.

Here in Singapore, I’ve found a few healthy options, including something called Yong Tau Foo. Meaning ‘stuffed tofu’ in Chinese, it’s basically a pick-your-own toppings set up with lots of tofu products, including fried/fresh tofu stuffed with fish paste, fish balls, bean curd skin, cabbage, vegetables, crab sticks, eggplant, seaweed and the like.

When you are done choosing your toppings, they cut everything up into bite size pieces for you, scald it in some broth and then pour it all back into another bowl with your choice of soup (plain/laksa/gravy) and noodle (rice/egg noodles of various widths).

For the healthy option, simply choose lots of vegetables with the unfried tofu choices and skip the noodles (and gravy/laksa). I was surprised by how smooth the fish balls and fish pastes were, so definitely give those a go.

A bowl of yong tau foo costs around S$6 (~HK$40) and it’s pretty easy to find one of these stalls in most Singaporean food centres around town.

Yong Tau Foo Singapore

Eat your veggies

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Avoid the fried stuff

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Most things are stuffed

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Tofu galore

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Clear broth, no noodles

 

These yong tau foo pics were taken at 109 Teo Chew Yong Tau Foo at 90 Circular Road near Clarke Quay. Enjoy!

Tasty tomato soup with veggies

Chunky veggie soup at Red Moment Coffee Express

For a quick, cheap and filling lunch in Wanchai, my go-to place is Red Moment Coffee Express — a hole-in-the-wall shop right underneath the bridge going to the Immigration Building close to Gloucester Road.

They serve coffee, tea, sandwiches and pasta, as well as my default desk lunch — a Borsch-like chunky vegetable soup during lunch hours that’s made daily with cabbage, celery, carrots, and tomato. For HK$35 you can get a big tub of that soup with fusilli pasta and two toppings of your choice (including mushrooms, corn, tuna, egg, imitation crab, turkey slices, ham, etc), PLUS a coffee or tea.

Since I like to keep things light (and I don’t eat meat now), I usually go with two eggs (1 + 1 minus the yolk), no pasta, and extra veg (they are more than happy to oblige). Without the coffee/tea, the soup is just HK$28 and quite filling already.

Try it out if you’re in the area! Their coffee’s not half bad either, and many people say it’s even better than Starbucks, Habitu and Pacific Coffee which is just around the corner.

 Red Moment Coffee Express, Shop 13, Kin Lee Building, 130-146 Jaffe Rd., Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2139 1268
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Sea coconut almond tea at Chinese Urban Healing Tea

If you’re ever rushing through Hong Kong’s Central MTR station and thirsty for a drink, it’s worth paying a visit to Chinese Urban Healing Tea, a chain of healthy TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) drinks, soups and snacks.

In the chilled section they have a large assortment of healthy drinks like Chinese medicinal teas, jellies, sweet soups, fruit-based drinks and milk too, like this “Sea coconut, Sichuan fritillary and almond tea” that I absolutely love. It’s smooth, silky and tastes great — the only thing is that it’s pretty calorie dense (about 600 calories a bottle) so drink in moderation!

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Other things to try at Chinese Urban Healing Tea are their nourishing Chinese soups and a mushroom vegetarian steamed bun that’s pretty tasty!

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Chinese Urban Healing Tea is part of the Healthworks chain, which also have a shop in Admiralty Station MTR (branded Oneness World) and over 20 shops Hong Kong-wide.

Also, many of the labels on the drinks have nutritional info on the backside, so you can see how many calories it has. Obviously, the milky drinks have more calories than the clear drinks, so choose wisely. Another great thing is that the shop has a little tupperware where you can drop the labels in for recycling, so don’t forget to do so before leaving the shop!

Healthworks: www.health-wks.com

 

Daily goodness bowl - tofu chili - HK$85

Healthy lunch at Prune Organic Deli

Prune is to healthy foodies what a steakhouse is to carnivores — HEAVEN! I’ve been there 3x already — once when it first opened, once for a press lunch and most recently with a friend on a lazy Saturday afternoon for lunch — and that number would be much higher if it wasn’t so damn far.

Every time, I’ve been totally satisfied with the food, service and cosy ambience of the place. Yes, it’s a little on the pricey side, but so worth it when you know that you’re getting quality ingredients and a healthy meal.

What we ordered:

Chocolate Dream smoothie, made with “Banana. Blueberries. Strawberries. In-Season Leafy Greens. Flax Seed. Dates. Organic Soy Milk. Raw Cocoa Powder.” This was so delicious, especially the little chunks of sweet dates that I could chew on between sips.

Salad medley (choice of three): I got the curly kale salad, kelp noodles and beetroot salad. All of them were seasoned perfectly, with lots of flavour. The beetroot was the most ‘plain’ of the three but since I love beetroot, I didn’t mind. It also includes the beetroot stalk, which gave it a nice crunch.

My friend got the daily goodness bowl, which was tofu chili that day, and loved it. She couldn’t believe it wasn’t meat (being a non-vegetarian herself) and found it extremely filling.

For dessert, we shared the zucchini chocolate loaf (which I recommend not heated up as it gets a bit dry) and the apple cinnamon muffin (which must be heated up or else it’ll be too heavy and dense). I believe both are gluten free and vegan. The apple muffin was so good I even got one to go!

Overall, I love Prune! I can’t wait till they open up more locations (please do, Peggy!) hopefully closer to Central/Wanchai or CWB even.

Unlike other healthy eateries that seem like they’re doing it just to jump on the health food trend, or to make big bucks, it really feels like Prune (and Grassroots Pantry, its sister and neighbouring restaurant) is creating delicious and healthy meals from the heart. It definitely doesn’t feel mass produced like some other places in Hong Kong do and I really hope it stays that way.

Anyway, highly recommended!

Prune, 14 Fuk Sau Lane, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, www.prunedeliworkshop.com

portobello mushroom burger cheese

Homemade: Carb-free portobello burgers with spinach and cheese

One of my favourite healthy food blogs is This Rawsome Vegan Life, and I recently stumbled upon Emily’s amazing portobello cashew cheese burgers. To be honest, I didn’t even realise that it was a raw food recipe (even though her entire blog is dedicated to raw foods, duh) as all I could think about was recreating it in my oven.

So I did! The portobello mushrooms were HK$18 for two in a random Sheung Wan street market, and the tomatoes and spinach under HK$30 for both. It was also incredibly easy to make:

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1. Wash the portobello mushrooms and de-stem. Marinate with salt, pepper and some liquid aminos (or soy sauce).

2. Place in oven and grill for 5 minutes. In the meantime, slice the tomato and sauté the spinach until wilted.

3. Assemble on top of the mushrooms and top with cheese. Grill for another few minutes (watch the cheese).

4. Take it out and DEVOUR!

TIP: You can either stack two together like a real burger or have them one by one like an open-faced sandwich. Enjoy!

New Moves Bangkok

Review: HIIT class at New Moves, Bangkok

On my last business trip to Bangkok, my hotel didn’t have a gym so I was planning to explore the city’s yoga scene with a few drop-in classes. That is, until my colleague asked me whether I’d like to try a functional workout just across our office at New Moves.

She’d tried the gym when it had first opened, and told me that I probably wouldn’t be able to walk the next day. She was wrong — I was already stiffening up that same day! So what was the workout like?

HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training

The HIIT class at New Moves is usually on Wednesday mornings at 7:30am. On the day of my trial, no one else showed up, so I ended up getting a 1-on-1 session with the trainer, Mike Lamb.

We started with a 3-minute warm-up of a few dynamic stretches, like alternating side lunges, and some high-knees to get the heart rate up. Then it was onto the first of three circuits, with every exercise done for 40 seconds and 20 seconds rest.

Circuit 1 involved three exercises — the first was to hold a TRX-like suspension from the gym’s monkey bars and hop up and down in a squat position, then do side-to-side skate moves whilst pushing out a sandbag, and then pull the sandbag up to the chin with elbows out to the side with squats.

Circuit 2 was to go into plank position and hop out and in with the feet, followed by doing burpees with a VIPR push-up and twist, alternating sides.

Circuit 3 was mountain climbers, then going in push-up position and alternating grabbing a sandbag with one hand and reaching in towards the body and then out to open up the shoulders.

I was given a longer break in between circuits but by the end of it, I was pretty beat. Mike did a great job in cheering me on, telling me to give it my all during each of those 40 seconds (instead of doing a half-assed job, which I was very tempted to). After all, this class is all about high intensity so you’d better bring it!

Verdict

Overall, I enjoyed the workout at New Moves as it was fun, interesting and most importantly, challenging. What I did notice was that every exercise we did used more than one muscle group, and involved quite a bit of coordination and focus. In this way, I got a much more efficient workout than if I went and lifted a weight for each body part, which is not at all how we normally use our muscles in real life.

I also liked the naturally-lit atmosphere and large windows of the gym, as well as its central location right at Chit Lom station. The trainers are also really fun and friendly, and they seem to have a good community vibe.

Other than the HIIT class, they also have 30-minute “lunch break blaster” classes, women-only classes and fusion boxing class among many others, so you probably won’t be getting bored of them anytime soon.

Tip: Bring your own toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, towels, etc.). On my visit there was nothing available in the shower to use, and no hair dryers. They do have towels though, I believe for a price.

Price: First class is a trial, after which 10 classes are priced at THB 5,000 and drop-in’s are THB 650 (approx. HK$156)

New Moves Bangkok, 2nd Floor, Maneeya Center (North Building), Ploenchit Road, Lumpinee, Pathumwan, Bangkok, 10300, www.newmovesbkk.com