Milk-free avocado chocolate ice-cream

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Fancy a healthy home-made ice-cream? Healthy and ice-cream do not have to be mutually exclusive. I’ve made this recipe twice now and I like how I can use overripe avocados to make a dessert. This recipe also uses coconut milk so it’s good for the lactose intolerant. I don’t have an ice-cream maker so I use my blender.

The ingredients are as below to get slightly less than 2 litres of ice-cream. Use half the ingredients if you prefer less ice-cream.

Avocado ice cream

  • 2 ripe¬†avocados
  • 800 ml coconut milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons of maple syrup (more if you prefer a sweeter taste)
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

1. Place the avocados, coconut milk, maple syrup and water in the blender. Blend for 30 seconds or until smooth.

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2. Add the cocoa powder into the mix. Blend for another 20 seconds.

Avocado ice cream

3. Pour the mixture into any container you like

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4. Let the ice-cream freeze for a few hours. Don’t do what I did and take the ice-cream out after one hour. The ice-cream turned out less firm that I would have liked. The subsequent batches were better because they were fully frozen. Leave them to thaw for about five minutes before tucking into the rich goodness.

Chocolate avocado

And voila, a simple and nutritious dessert to feed your tummy and soul.

How a juice fast made me slightly food obsessed

This is a guest post by Barbara, a good friend of mine who signed up for a three-day juice cleanse with a juicery. She spent $240 for 24 bottles over three days. Here is her experience diary-style, showing you her thoughts over the hours and days.

Juice Cleanse Diary Day 1: Rookie Cleanse

a juicery

8am: I’m quite excited to be starting on my cleanse! I set my alarm to go off earlier so that I could prepare my lemon water.

8.15am: I gulp down my cup of warm water with lemon. I thought it would be acidic, but the warm water is very comforting for my stomach and the lemon cleanses my tongue. I am not sure how much lemon to put, so I just throw in two small slices.

dr green tonic

9am: I start on my first bottle of juice Dr Green Tonic. It has bok choy, celery, cucumber, romaine, spinach, apple and lemon, but what I can taste most of the time are celery, cucumber and lemon.

citrus ninja

10.55am: I’m feeling a little peckish now.. Time for bottle no. 2 – Citrus Ninja! This has apple, orange, grapefruit, turmeric, lemon and cayenne pepper. This is really nice and somehow the bitterness of the grapefruit and the hot kick of the cayenne pepper goes¬†well together.

12.37pm: On the advice of my friend who has had experience with a juice cleanse, I have been sipping my juices slowly instead of gulping. Otherwise, I may feel hungry! I finish the last drop in bottle 2. Think I need to get started on bottle 3 soon! I am starting to feel slight hunger pangs after accompanying my colleague for her lunch takeout and was walking along all these food stalls with yummy stuff.

smells like green spirit

12.58pm: I open the third bottle, Smells Like Green Spirit. This has Bok Choy, Sweet Potato Leaves, Romaine, Apple, Pineapple, Ginger and Coconut water. There is a nice green taste and the ginger comes through as well. Another trick I’ve been doing? I pour water into the juice bottle after I’m done and drink the water so as not to waste any of the goodness.. ūüėõ

sweet renegade

 

2.35pm: Time for the 4th bottle! Yay! Sweet Renegade has carrot, sweet potato, ginger, tumeric, apple and lemon. It’s cold in the office so I’m taking out the bottle slightly earlier to “defrost”.

2.43pm: I can taste the sweet potato, carrot, turmeric and lemon. This one is really yummy. So far, I’ve been looking forward to opening each bottle and savoring the contents.

3.33pm: I’m not hungry but I think I’m hungry. I want some food! I’m supposed to get my next juice at 5pm! Trying to drink some ginseng tea now. I assume that’s allowed?

5pm: I stare at my watch and am aware of the gnawing feeling in my tummy. Darn, this meeting is still going on…..

lemon drops

5.40pm: I get back¬†from my meeting and I’m absolutely starving. I’m 40 minutes overdue for my juice! I take a big gulp¬†of¬†Lemon Drops. I think I’m starting to dream of solid food because this tastes like my mum’s soy sauce ginger chicken. There is definitely NO chicken in this and it has lemon, ginger, mint, filtered water and coconut sugar. Now I know a vegan substitute!

6pm: I meet my husband for dinner but I’m really just watching him eat while I sip my Lemon Drops. He offers me his food, which looks really tempting. Maybe just one spoon? That little voice in my head says. I politely decline and sip more of my Lemon Drops and wish they were really soya sauce ginger chicken.

the real cool aid

7pm: Still feeling like I need to eat something and my tummy is growling just ever so slightly. Bottle 6 is my absolutely favorite. The Real Cool Aid has pear, lotus root, water chestnut, lemongrass and coconut water. But it tastes like lychees which I love! This was the juice that won me over to A Juicery. Ok, off to the tennis court to distract my mind from food.

8.28pm: Done with tennis and some stretching. Tummy is growling again!

Super G

8.51pm: 7th bottle of juice! At this rate, I need 10 of ’em. Super G has kai lan, cucumber, Napa cabbage, watercress, lemon and coconut water. I find the lemon taste a little too strong and wish for more taste of the greens. But anyhow, I can taste the napa cabbage and watercress in this. I shall do some¬†stretching to take my mind off being hungry.

coco cloud

10pm: I am finally not hungry!! And it’s time for the last bottle! Coco Cloud has cashew, coconut meat, cinnamon, coconut sugar, vanilla and filtered water. Tastes like a snickerdoodle cookie which is basically a cinnamon sugar cookie. The coconut meat makes the drink taste like a smoothie. Maybe this should be a mid-day drink instead!

10.20pm: I have been sipping my coco cloud happily but I don’t really like eating too near to bed time so I gulp down the remaining half bottle. Time for bed!

Juice Cleanse Diary Day 2: Fanatic Cleanse

I decided on two days of the Rookie Cleanse and one day of the Fanatic Cleanse so I can switch things up with different bottles of juice. The Fanatic Cleanse also has eight juices, but several bottles are slightly different.

8.40am: I’m late!! I forgot to set my alarm! No time for lemon water.

9am: I’m on a cab to work and I realise I don’t feel hungry! The Coco Cloud yesterday must have worked wonders. Then, I notice a picture of a mackerel, then an otak. That orangey slab of fish meat looks delish and I could do with one now. But it’s day 2! Holding on!

9:45am: I take my first sip of the first bottle of the day –¬†Dr Green Tonic. This is the same starting juice as the Rookie Cleanse.

marmalade skies

11am: Bottle number 2 is Marmalade Skies and this has carrot, lime, mint, orange and pineapple. This tastes like a cocktail and is super yummy because I love all the ingredients. Also, I’m still not hungry! Yay!

12.52pm: Ok, those hunger pangs are starting to set in… Time for bottle 3, Smells like Green Spirit. Starting to think of food again…

1pm: I sit down with my colleague while she has a nice steaming hot bowl of Korean kimchi soup. They give her banchan (complimentary sides) meant for two but I obviously can’t eat them… Boo! I sip my juice and stare longingly at the leftover kimchi.

never miss a beet

2.45pm: Still kind of hungry, but maybe it’s more in my mind than in my body. Bottle 4 is a different one, Never Miss a Beet. There’s beetroot, carrot, kai lan, ginger, pear, pineapple and lemon.

evergreen potion

4.57pm: Definitely hungry now, but I’m getting busy at work so I don’t have as much time to think about it. Bottle number 5 is also different, and it’s Evergreen Potion. This has celery, chyesim, wheatgrass, aloe and orange. The celery taste is pretty strong!

5.20pm: I meet Paleorina for a cuppa tea and I debate between an earl grey lavender and a green rooibos. Since I’m advised not to have caffeine, I go with the green rooibos. I sip my Evergreen Potion in between the tea.

6pm: I’m still feeling hungry. I debate whether I should go to the gym. I decide I will to¬†take my mind off eating.

6.30pm: I go to the gym and bring bottle number 6 Lemon Drops with me. I power through my Fitness Blender lower strength workout and I am not tired! It still amazes me how I’m still able to workout whilst subsisting on juices. So we really don’t need that many calories after all.

7.44pm: As I leave the gym sipping my Lemon Drops, I pass by some bars and I smell PIZZA!!!! Too bad girl. Drink up your ginger soya sauce chicken, says the voice in my head.

7.55pm: I’m really just greedy. I’m not hungry now but someone in the train mentions “..Prata shop…” and my mind starts racing. “Prata?? Prata!!! Where?? I want one now!!” And to make things worse, a lovely Indian lady has a nice smelling box of Indian takeaway that I swear smells more and more like prata to me.

8.45pm: I think the Devil is out to tempt me. I’m in a cab and it smells heavenly. I tell the driver there’s a nice smell and he seems to think I am being¬†sarcastic. I convince him that I can smell some nice food and he says “I packed some Hokkien mee.” It’s time for my 7th bottle, Super G. I taste cucumber and the coconut water. It’s no Hokkien mee, but it’ll do for now.

9.10pm: I work on my assignments for my upcoming yoga teacher training as a way to distract my mind and sip more Super G.

10.10pm: Time for my last bottle Coco Cloud. I put in a request earlier to swap out one of my Coco Clouds to a Choco Sutra but I guess they forgot. I have also been looking at pictures of Japanese food in Hokkaido on a food blog but I think I should stop. No more mind games! Day 2 is almost done!

I seem to be permanently cold from all the cold juices so I make myself a “Healthy Fasting” yogi tea, which consists of herbs like licorice, burdock and fennel.¬†Unfortunately, I don’t feel any fuller from the tea.

Juice Cleanse Diary Day 3: Rookie Cleanse

8.00am: I try to get out of bed but am feeling super lethargic and tired and cold. I decide to continue sleeping.

9am: Oops, I overslept and jump out of bed. No time for warm lemon water.

10:20am: I’m not hungry, which is surprising again, but food is definitely still on my mind. Back to the rookie cleanse and it’s Dr Green Tonic. It’s a great juice for the morning as it wakes me up with the celery and slight hint of lemon but in a gentle way. I’m also kinda happy that I get to drink my next bottle soon!

10.57am: Starting on bottle 2, Citrus Ninja! Loving the mix here and I can taste the orange, grapefruit, turmeric and cayenne pepper.

12.31pm: I got busy at work and that took my mind off food. I’ve taken my third bottle Smells like Green Spirit out of the fridge so that it’s less cold and it’s also looking less green than the previous days. I think it’s starting to oxidise! Someone is eating food on my floor and the smell is coming through the aircon vents… Food food food….

12.47pm: I’m going to start sipping the juice!

2.30pm: Now its time for Sweet Renegade. I share some with my colleague who thinks it tastes pretty nice too! I take a walk to the fruit shop and buy a canteloupe for Sunday. Can’t wait to eat it!

4.08pm: And now for my all time favourite, The Real Cool Aid. Lychee in a bottle! Yummmmm

5pm: And I’m gonna drink bottle number 7 before 6 because I’ve decided to eat dinner tonight! So this is Super G. My husband wants to do dinner with me and it will really suck to just watch him eat. Life is too short to miss out on food. ūüėõ

I shall keep Lemon Drops and Coco Cloud for breakfast tomorrow as I feel they can last longer since there are no veggies in them.

Barbara’s conclusion: Would I do this again? Maybe just a one-day or two-day cleanse. Three days were really hard since I would still like to be able to exercise. I didn’t feel lighter or clearer in the mind like other people have experienced but my stomach was definitely not bloated. (I have irritable bowel syndrome.) In fact, my stomach was mostly feeling slightly hollow. My portion control has been getting out of hand and the cleanse has been really useful in resetting that as I feel full pretty quickly when eating regular meals. Hopefully this will last! All in all, I really enjoyed the juices and there wasn’t single one I didn’t like. Really yummy!

Paleorina’s thoughts: I’m so glad that my friend shared her experience with me on this blog! I would never do a juice fast myself because I know that restricting food would make me slightly deranged. I am okay with having smoothies for meals as the fibre helps to fill the tummy but I imagine that a juice fast is too much for me. If you have tried a juice or smoothie fast, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

How to pan fry pumpkin seeds

Guest post by Paleozilla

Pumpkins are great for roasting, making soup and carving for Halloween. But the often overlooked seeds tend to get thrown away in the process. Here is how you can pan fry pumpkin seeds and eat them for a tasty and healthy snack.

1. First, remove the seeds from other pumpkin. Try to remove all the pumpkin flesh. Although I fry the seeds together with the pumpkin flesh on occasion, the moisture means that the seeds can go soggy rather than crispy.

pumpkin

2. Place the seeds in a separate dish or kitchen paper. These little kernels are packed with vitamins and minerals and are a great source of fibre.

pumpkin seeds

3. Scoop about a tablespoon of oil in a pan. Wait until the oil becomes hot and starts to evaporate. Add the pumpkin seeds and shallow fry until they are brown and crispy on the outside. Continue reading How to pan fry pumpkin seeds

How to cook chicken soup from scratch

Hi everyone, this is a guest post from Paleozilla, who will teach us how to cook a simple chicken soup. Be sure to get the best chicken you can get to make this a truly nutritious dish. Try to get free-range chicken or as a compromise, Sakura chicken, which is hormone free, live in a temperature-controlled, clean environment with enough space for them to roam about while listening to Mozart. Yes, Mozart…!

Simple Chicken Soup From Scratch for 3-4 People.
Preparation time 5-10 mins.
Cooking time 1.5 ‚Äď 2.0 hours on a low heat.
Difficulty ‚Äď very easy! Little preparation, just top up the water as you go along.

“As it says in the title, this is a simple way to make chicken soup from scratch and feeds 3-4 people. The recipe is a simple version of an English chicken soup that I grew up with. Chicken soup is a great recipe as it is easy to prepare and most of all because you get the very most out of your chicken with no waste at all. Furthermore, all the chicken innards, which have a lot of goodness but not everyone likes to eat separately, help to make the soup. Additionally this recipe is great because if you need to feed more people it is easy, follow the same steps with a bigger chicken and add more veggies. In fact, the recipe below is very simple and you can easily add more vegetables as you like; potato, leek, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, parsnip (for those in Europe), daikon radish (for those in Asia), beans, peas and so on. Stick to the harder type veggies such as root vegies as they will be cooked for a long time. To make sure it is chicken soup it is better not to use veggies that will disintegrate into the soup and flavor it too much such as squash or pumpkin.” – Tom

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2-3 large carrots
  • 1-2 onions
  • 2-3 sticks of celery
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves, handful of thyme
  • 4 pinches each of salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. Start with an entire chicken. Just be certain it is clean inside; rinse any excess blood out. I did not use the head but the neck, innards and claws all went in ‚Äď all tasty goodness!

Chicken soup 1

Preparation is dead simple ‚Äď the chicken needs little prep, only to be washed and the head to be cut off. The veggies want each end cut off. The onion and garlic need peeling, of course, but the carrot does not. Cut the veggies roughly into large pieces. Do not cut them too small as they will be cooked for 1.5 hours.

2. Pour the olive oil into the bottom of a large pan. Put the whole chicken into the pan and brown it on both sides. This should take a matter of a few minutes each side.

3. Remove the chicken and set it aside for now.

4. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the same oil and sweat the vegetables for 5-6 minutes.

5. Now put the chicken back into the pot on top of the vegetables and add enough cold water to cover the chicken entirely. Now season the soup with the bay leaves, a handful of thyme and 4 pinches each of salt and black pepper.

Chicken soup 2
The chicken is browned to give it more flavour

6. Close the lid and cook slowly on a medium-low heat for as long as it takes for the chicken meat to start to fall off the bone, approximately 1.5 ‚Äď 2.0 hours on a low heat. The pot must be closed to retain the water. Continue reading How to cook chicken soup from scratch

Review: Spinacas – salads delivered right to your doorstep

Some days I’m so busy at work that I don’t even have time to step out from my office to buy food. When I’m ready to buy lunch at 1230pm, I can’t go to my favourite salad places because of the long queues. Queuing up for 20 minutes to get a bowl of spinach is not what I want to do at lunch!

You can beat the queue and have a nutritious meal delivered right to your doorstep with Spinacas. Not only do they have a physical stall at Chinatown, they also deliver your food for free for orders above $30.

Phyllis, who is the owner of Spinacas, kindly dropped by my office with two bowls of fresh salad on her cute red Vespa. I love her ride. I was expecting her to show up in a van but the bike was way cooler.

Spinacas_1
Yes, I can get used to a daily lunch delivery service

I ordered two different salads. One was the vegetarian ratatouille salad and the other was the BBQ pulled pork salad. The salad came in a plastic container, with the salad base separate from the “wet” ingredients i.e. the roasted vegetables and the pulled pork. The dressing was also placed in a separate round container.

I started with the lighter vegetarian salad. The wet ingredients, consisting of aubergine, zucchini and mushrooms cooked ratatouille-style and layered with a savory tomato sauce, came wrapped in a aluminum foil. I unwrapped the packet, which was quite a messy process, and placed the vegetables in the salad base.

Spinacas_3
Vegetarian Ratatouille

I followed up with some good tossing. Here, you can see the base ingredients of spinach, pickled red babbage, broccoli, hard boiled egg, cheddar cheese and nuts. The dressing was a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Continue reading Review: Spinacas – salads delivered right to your doorstep

My haul from Pasarbella

PasarBella is a covered market selling an eclectic mix of organic vegetables, fresh seafood, soy candles and shabby chic furniture. The first time I went there, I didn’t buy anything because I went in the evening. This time, I made a trip in the day, which is the best time to go because all the stalls are open. I wanted to get my hands on good meat and cheese and I wasn’t disappointed.

Pasar Bella 1

My first stop was to James’ Butchery & Co.

“They have free-range meat!” I squealed in delight. There was also pasture-fed meat, which means that grass and other forage make up most of the animals’ diet.

PasarBella 2 free range
Free-range beef
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Free-range veal

We bought free-range beef and oxtail meat to make broth.

Our next stop was to The Providore, which specialised in artisanal cheese and charcuterie, as well as dips and olives. We bought some salami (not pictured here).

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Cheese at The Providore

Apart from a deli, The Providore also has a dry goods section selling herbs and coconut-based products.

Herbs and spices at The Providore
Herbs and spices at The Providore

And for all the paleo people out there looking for coconut products but don’t want to order online from CocoNuture you can get your oil, flour and sugar from PasarBella.

CocoNuture products at The Providore
CocoNuture products at The Providore

Next up was The Cheese Ark, which was located in a temperature controlled room in an obscure part of PasarBella. The moment you step in, the smell of pungent cheese assaults your senses. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

Mostly raw milk cheese
Mostly raw milk cheese
Cheese Ark Singapore
Cheese sampling is very welcome

Apart from cheese, The Cheese Ark also sells goat’s milk from local goat farm Hay Dairies. Goat’s milk may be better for people who have trouble digesting cow’s milk because it contains less lactose (milk sugar). In any case, your milk cannot get any fresher than this because Hay Dairies is located in Lim Chu Kang.

Fresh local goat's milk
Fresh local goat’s milk

We bought 100 grams of buffalo cheese for about $15.

Apart from meat and cheese, there were also stalls selling organic vegetables. I always feel that the healthiest and most environmentally conscious way to eat vegetables is to eat local most of the time. So I was happy to skip the vegetable sections that imported Australian or American greens.

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This is my haul from PasarBella consisting of free-range beef and oxtail meat, buffalo cheese, salami and (not so healthy) Cornish ginger ale.

Pasarbella haul

That very evening, we made a stew using the free-range beef. The meat was so good it melted in my mouth.

Beef stew with carrots, celery and tomatoes
Beef stew with carrots, celery and tomatoes

 

Address
PasarBella @ The Grandstand Bukit Timah
200 Turf Club Road Singapore 287994

Opening Hours
Stalls : 9.30am to 7pm
Restaurants: 10am to 10pm

What people eat around the world

In 2007, photographer Peter Menzel and writer Faith D’Aluisio visited 30 families in 24 countries to document what they ate. The results were incredible photographs showing Indian, Japanese, Mexican families with their weekly meals.

what-the-world-eats-peter-menzel-India
The Patkar family spends around $45 per week
what-the-world-eats-peter-menzel-Japan
The Ukita family spends around $361 per week

I have always been curious about what other people eat. When I’m at supermarkets, I would peer into the baskets of other shoppers. Did that man just buy 10 bags of Coke and 8 bags of potato chips? And, oh wow, that salmon looks amazing – where did she get that?

In their 2010 book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets, Peter and Faith focused on the diets of individuals instead.

On one extreme, we have this lady in the UK showing us what she eats on a bingeing day. Her bags of chips, chocolate bars, bread and sausages amounted to more than 12,000 calories.

Continue reading What people eat around the world

Coconut water – the real deal vs the packaged drinks

Coconut water has become the latest health craze in the US over the last few years, spurred by celebrity endorsement from Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. The latter did a three-week cleanse in which she survived on coconut water, pumpkin seeds, miso soup and fruit smoothies, among other food. In 2010, Madonna invested US$1.5 m in Vita Coco, which as you can see from this graph below, is the market leader in the US for coconut water.

coconut water trend

I regard this with some amusement. I grew up drinking coconut water (and eat coconut flesh) straight from the husk. If you live in South-east Asia, coconuts are plentiful and cheap. You can go to any hawker centre and buy a fresh coconut for S$2. You can choose between young and small coconuts to the larger, less sweet varieties. Heck, I’ve even went camping in Pulau Hantu, which is a small island off Singapore, and my friends climbed a coconut tree to pluck the fruit fresh off the branch.

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Continue reading Coconut water – the real deal vs the packaged drinks

Shirataki “no calorie” noodles

What would you say if there was a food that would fill you up and contain practically no calories? What if there was a food that was not just good for weight management was also good for diabetes control and lower cholesterol levels?

I first found out about shirataki noodles from someone who was using it for weight loss. These are traditional thin and chewy Japanese noodles made from a dietary fibre called glucomannan, derived from the konjac root. Although they may look unfamiliar in this form, I found out that it’s essentially the same thing as konnyaku jelly, minus the sugar, which was very popular in Singapore in my schooling days. The shirataki noodles pass through your colon unchanged and unabsorbed, which makes them perfect for helping you feel full.

I got hold of two packets thanks to my cousin who was shopping in Liang Court. They came to me packed in liquid and I stored them in the fridge for a few days because I didn’t know if I could leave them out in the open.

Shirataki noodles

The most common ways to eat them are to fry them or eat them in a stew. They absorb flavours very well and my cousin recommended that I put them in a beef stew or miso soup. With limited ingredients on hand, I decided to go for fried noodles instead. I cut up some vegetables I had on hand, included lettuce, mushrooms and tomatoes. For the sauce, I chose to mix together garlic, spicy bean paste and coconut aminos, which I used as a replacement for soy sauce.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to prepare them for frying.

Step 1: Get rid of the smell

The noodles smell a bit funny when you first open the packet and the first way to get rid of the fishy smell is to rinse them quickly in hot water. Don’t cook them for too long as they will become rubbery. One or two minutes in hot water should be enough.

IMG_0306 Continue reading Shirataki “no calorie” noodles

Free-range eggs in Singapore

Edit (13/10/2015): I have updated this post with new information.

No, there are none. Well, that’s a bummer way to start a blog post I know. But I found out some time ago that our local chickens are not allowed to roam freely outside because of restrictions by the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA). Free-range eggs are as essential to the paleo diet as grass-fed beef. Not only is it more humane to allow chickens to roam outside and live like chickens, free range eggs are also more nutritious. Chickens allowed to roam around get to feed on worms, grub and other creatures they dig out from the soil. Commercial chickens that are caged up eat only corn, soya or whatever commercial feed that is given to them.

Indeed, because there are no free range chickens in Singapore, we have to be wary of mislabeling. In Singapore and Malaysia, the word “kampong” conjures up images of happy chooks running around in the dirt surrounded by children scampering around barefoot playing with fighting spiders. However, “kampong eggs” are not the same as eggs laid by free-range chickens.

I have been buying this brand called Coral eggs (from Malaysia Kampong). The packaging also claims that the eggs are anti-drug residue and anti-colouring. They sell for $2.40 for 10 eggs and are available at NTUC Fairprice.

free range eggs singapore Continue reading Free-range eggs in Singapore