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

Staying healthy on holidays abroad

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.

  • Start with a salad

maldives holiday inn Continue reading Staying healthy on holidays abroad

Review: Zafferano Restaurant, Italian fine-dining, small portions

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.

The interior was quite lovely.

Zafferano Continue reading Review: Zafferano Restaurant, Italian fine-dining, small portions

Where to eat at Raffles Place

Eating paleo can be treacherous if you are dining out. The best way is to cook your own food at home and bring it to work. However, if you find yourself around Raffles Place without home-cooked food, here are some places that are good for paleo eating. Most of them still require careful thought on your part in choosing the correct ingredients. In order of decreasing cost, they are:

1. Urban Bites Mediterranean Cuisine $$$

532633_415895891779234_1179339792_nSource: Urban Bites

Address: 161 Telok Ayer Street

Urban Bites serves Lebanese food, which includes lots of meat, cheese, yoghurt and fresh salad. I visited their restaurant last week for dinner and was blown away by the food. I wanted to try everything on the menu! Even before the meal was finished, I was planning my next visit. Just remember to pass on the rice and flat bread.

2. Sushi Tei $$$

3869635453_52bf18231c_oSource: Camemberu

Address: 20 Cross Street, China Square Central, #01-28/30

I love Sushi Tei’s sashimi salad. The sashimi is always fresh and portions are generous. Very strict Paleos may have issue with the salad dressing, which contain soy sauce. The problem with soy is that it contains phytoestrogens, which can contribute to breast cancer.¬†I also can’t tell if the dressing contains sugar.

3. The Rotisserie $$

20130527_174050

Address: 51 Telok Ayer Street #01-01, China Square Food Centre

I go to The Rotisserie for both breakfast and lunch. For breakfast, they serve something called the Aussie Breakfast, which is essentially a “full breakfast” or “English breakfast” that allows you to choose from a variety of fried dishes, including eggs, bacon, mushrooms and grilled tomatoes. It’s not cheap at $12 but it can be an occasional treat. The meal comes with two slices of sourdough bread that you can request to be left out. For lunch, you can order their roasted chicken, which comes with a choice of vegetables or salad.

4. Salad Stop $$

20130527_173203

Address: 1 George Street, #01-01

Salad Stop sells quality salad. The variety is really good, which means that it should be quite easy to pack your salad with hearty, clean ingredients. You can choose your own ingredients or take one of the pre-designed salads. It’s better to make it yourself so you have full control over what you’re eating. The dressing will be the issue here as I can’t tell what goes into them. If in doubt, choose the oil and vinegar dressing.

5. Platypus Gourmet2Go $$

platypus

platypus gourmet2go

Address: 50 Market Street, Goldenshoe carppark, #01-14A

Platypus Gourmet2Go deserves kudos for their twist on the burgeoning salad trend. Instead of having a huge variety of ingredients, they focused on a few well made dishes and is cheaper than Salad Stop. You can stuff a small lunch box for just $6.50 with a maximum of two meat dishes. The salmon is the best and the most popular. Alas, by the time I headed to Platypus, there were none left and I had to go with two chicken dishes. Buried underneath the meat are olives and almonds – yummy!

There are no seats. Everything is take away.

6. Munch Salad Smith $$

20140107_162125

munch china square

Address: 112 Robinson Rd

Munch is located at China Square food court. They are similar to Platypus in that the salad is warm and cooked rather than cold and raw. One meat and two side dishes (as above) cost $13.90. They also sell breakfast including bacon and eggs, as well as mushroom omelettes – those go for $5.

7. Sarnies $$

Sarnies paleo

Address: 136 Telok Ayer Street

Sarnies is a nice little cafe tucked way at Telok Ayer Street. Two items on the menu caught my eye when I last visited:

  1. Paleo steak salad with mixed lettuce, tomato and guacamole $16.50
  2. Grass fed steak with mushrooms, caramelised onions and mix greens. $16.50

This is paleo heaven. Plus the coffee was really yummy. Pricey but then good quality food is always pricey.

8. Yong Tau Foo $

yong_tau_foo_550Source: Travelfish

Address: Mei Hua Foodcourt, 9 Raffles Place, #01-01 Republic Plaza

Yong Tau Foo can be found in most hawker centres and foodcourts. These are all the ingredients you can put into your bowl of soup, including vegetables, tofu, fish balls and squid. I usually take a glance at the type of ingredients the stall has before deciding to eat there. If everything is stuffed with tofu, I will not eat at the stall. Fishballs are not to be eaten too. Contrary to the name, the balls contain flour and sugar as well. But if the stall is selling lots of vegetables and meat, yong tau foo dishes are a good and cheap choice for healthy eating.

My favourite is the yong tau foo at Mei Hua Foodcourt. The portions are generous and they have a good balance of leafy and starchy vegetables. I always go for the pumpkin, tempeh and brinjal. Beware though, it gets extremely crowded during lunch time.

9. Chicken rice $

6098121673_f4f213fea4_zSource: Camemberu

Similarly to yong tau foo, chicken rice can also be found in most hawker centres in Singapore. Order chicken rice (without rice) and you’re all set to go. Yummy yummy.

10. Economy rice $

The final option is economy rice, also known as cai fan in Chinese. I love cai fan. I practically grew up on it. I love that you get to choose your dishes so every meal is different and interesting. Technically, you can order meat, vegetable and egg dishes without the rice but I find that most stalls drench their dishes in questionable sauce. The sauce tends to be thick and contain thickeners like corn starch. There are very few dishes cooked simply in just garlic and oil. So I would avoid those dishes that are covered in sauce.

What do you think of these paleo options around Raffles Place? Do you have your own favourite restaurants and eateries?