Back in the 2013 when I first started this blog, there was no such thing as a paleo restaurant or takeaway or cafe in Singapore. You either had to cook at home to get a good paleo meal or just close an eye and brave it outside. First, Cavemen Food opened up at Novena Square Two. And now for people at Raffles Place, we have Project Paleo.
Here is the owner Joyce with her stall at 15 Phillip Street. Her food contain no refined sugar, no harmful additives, no diary and no gluten. Olive oil is used for cooking.
All sets go for $8, which include one main and two sides. The mains range from chicken to fish to beef to pork. The sides include sweet potatoes, mushrooms and vegetables. And fear not if you are vegetarian because you can choose three sides as well.
I chose the salmon with cauliflower rice and mushrooms. Here’s my verdict:
Salmon: tender but quite plain and less tasty than I expected.
Mushrooms: yummy! The best part of my dish.
Cauliflower rice: this tastes very interesting indeed – like coleslaw but a super healthy version. Some people in the paleo world eat this to simulate the mouth feel of real rice.
Kiku is a new high-end Japanese restaurant located at Duxton. My friends and I stumbled upon this place completely by accident. We were planning to eat Mexican food at Lucha Loco but it was closed on a Monday evening.
The restaurant was nearly empty when we entered. We were shown upstairs to a cosy tatami room and proceeded to order umeshu. I chose the ryokucha umeshu, which was made from green tea and Nankou plum. My friends ordered the yuzu lemon umeshu.
This was my first time tasting green tea and plum umeshu and I was so impressed by the flavours. I have a sour and salty tooth (as opposed to having a sweet tooth!) so I really enjoy the tartness of the plum in my drink. One small glass, however, set me back by $14. If only I can get my hands on a whole bottle somewhere in Singapore…
Japanese food is great for paleo eating and healthy meals in general. You can get fresh raw fish and raw beef untouched by any strange sugary sauce. You can get miso soup and green tea. The food in general is light, provided you don’t go straight for the tempura!
Last Friday, I was craving for something light so I made a dinner reservation at Sangokai Japanese Restaurant on Beach Road. The restaurant was cosy, looked very authentic and was pretty much a hole-in-the-wall along the main road.
I went crazy ordering the appetisers. There was such a wide range and I wanted to try them all. We started with seared maguro in miso sauce ($16).
You don’t tend to find organic food sold at coffee shops. I’m so used to poor quality ingredients at hawkers that I took a double take when I stumbled upon Wang Yuan Fish Soup at Tampines.
Derrick Ng (pictured above) has several news article at the front of his stall written about his organic home-grown vegetables. He runs a series of urban gardening projects called Generation Green and he grows everything from chye sim to kai lan. He started eating organic vegetables personally before realising that it would complement his family’s fish soup business.
I ordered a bowl of mixed fish soup without milk. Mixed fish soup consists of both fried and non-fried fish, along with the organic vegetables and some tomatoes. This cost me $4.20.
Overseas holidays are normally associated with lots of eating. We want to sample all kinds of delicious foreign food and we take a break from our usual workout routine. It’s not uncommon to come back with our bellies bloated and skin blotchy from poor eating! Even if the trip involved physical activities like hiking for two days, it’s still possible to eat unwisely when we are not prepared with healthy snacks. Or we may pig out after our strenuous activity thinking that we have burnt enough calories!
How do we stay healthy on overseas holidays then? I just returned from my friend’s bachelorette party in the Maldives and indeed, we feasted non-stop! Actually, I thought we ate a lot less than our usual holidays simply because the food and drinks were prohibitively expensive. Here are a few tips:
Do a fast before your holiday
If you know that your holiday will involve a lot of eating and sitting around, it may be prudent to do a one-day fast before the trip to compensate for the extra intake. There are several ways to fast. My favourite is the Fast Diet method, in which you only eat 500 calories for women, and 600 calories for men, for one day. The next day you go back to eating normally. It’s not as difficult as water fasts and not as sugary as juice fasts. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend juice fasts at all given the amount of sugar consumed. The good thing about fasting is that you do it just for one day but studies have shown that even temporary caloric restriction can have many benefits for the body, including improvements in blood pressure and insulin sensitivity.
Economic rice, also known as cai fan, is one of the cheapest and most filling meals you can have in Singapore. It’s essentially a plate of rice with three to four dishes of vegetables and meat that you can select from 10-15 troughs of cooked food.
Economic rice is almost never paleo. You can ask for economic rice with “no rice” but the food is most likely cooked with corn or soybean oil. According to the Health Promotion Board, their view of “healthier oils” are:
“Saturated fat found mainly in butter, ghee, coconut milk, cream and blended oils can raise blood cholesterol levels, increasing risk of heart disease and stroke. Whereas monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in soybean, sunflower, safflower, olive, peanut and canola oils both help to reduce blood cholesterol when they replace saturated fat in the diet.”
They will award hawkers with a “I cook with healthier oil” sticker if they use vegetable oils such as the above, despite evidence to the contrary that these oils are not good for our health.
That being said, I still eat economic rice occasionally because it’s cheap and convenient. It’s definitely not a perfect paleo meal; to get anything perfectly healthy, we just have to cook at home. But we don’t have to be perfect everyday. For days where we eat out, we can minimise the damage to our health by selecting the right food items.
Singapore Restaurant Week 2013 concludes for me with lunch at Zafferano! This Italian restaurant is located on the 43rd floor of Ocean Financial Centre so dining here gives you a great view of the financial district’s skyline.
Fine dining is usually not my thing. For one, I like to relax in a more casual setting. And secondly, being a typical Singaporean, shorts and slippers are my requisite weekend wear. The good thing about the Singapore Restaurant Week is that it gave me a chance to try something new. It also gave me a chance to take my parents out to a nice restaurant.
So the Singapore Restaurant Week madness continues at Blue Bali on Cluny. This is the second restaurant I booked and it I must say that I prefer it to Absinthe. With generous portions of food and an amazing ambiance that made me feel like I was transported back to my beloved Bali, I can say that I will be returning to this restaurant quite often. There were adequate paleo options on the menu as well and I was able to adhere quite well to clean eating with the starter and the main course.
Blue Bali on Cluny, located at Bukit Timah, is an outdoor Balinese restaurant. As you can see, they have done an excellent job in making the place look amazing, complete with Balinese statues scattered around the restaurant and a river stream on the edges of the place.
I am a very boring person. I can eat the same thing everyday and do not really need variety. But thanks to a close colleague of mine, I have become more adventurous of late. In her own words, she has “decadent interests.” It was through her that I found out about Singapore Restaurant Week. In this one week, top restaurants around Singapore offer a three-course meal for $35-$40.
We picked Absinthe Restaurant, which is located at Boat Quay, for a three-course lunch. This is French fine dining so I knew the portions would be small. The good thing about French food is that you can be assured of the quality of the food. When I was in France a few years ago, every meal I had there was top notch and made with the freshest of all ingredients. I had cheese and red wine with almost every meal. I had mussels for lunch and grilled pork for dinner. It was heavenly. I don’t believe I touched anything processed.
Mark Sisson calls bone marrow “the first reliable source of large, fatty animal products our scrappy ancestors were able to procure… It’s made of osteoblasts (which form bone cells using minerals), adipocytes (fat cells), fibroblasts (which form connective tissue), and osteoclasts (which are responsible for bone resorption).”
It is about as caveman a food as you can get. It’s messy and requires gnawing and sucking on a bone.
My Malay friend Hussein brought me to Lavender for bone marrow recently. In Singapore, this is known as soup tulang. It’s a Tamil Muslim dish that was invented in Singapore and consists of mutton bones with the marrow intact.
We arrived at M A Deen Biasa on a weekday night and the restaurant was largely empty. They claim to be the King of Soup Tulang, which is quite a bold statement considering that the most famous stall is supposed to be Haji Kadir & M Baharudeen at Golden Mile.