Food

Why peanut butter should be your next favourite superfood

Image: 123rf

Most of us consider peanut butter a delicious indulgence. Whether we spread crunchy varieties thickly on white crusty bread, or tuck into peanut butter-filled chocolate cups, many of us don’t tend to opt for the healthiest ways to eat it.

Peanut butter and other nut butters, which contain protein and healthy fats, can actually be highly nutritious and a smart addition to most diets, but they should be consumed mindfully and with specific foods.

Eating nut butters can be a great idea for people who love sweet snacks: not only can they help with blood sugar spikes and crashes but they’ll help you feel fuller for longer.

Nutritionist Clare Goodwin, who specialises in women's hormonal health, says: ‘If you get sugar cravings in the afternoon, or get hungry two hours after eating, this is a sign that your blood sugar is not in control.

Image: Giphy

‘Simple carbohydrates like sugar, bread and even some fruit just fuel the blood sugar spikes and crashes, but adding a “healthy” fatty food such as peanut butter in your diet helps to stabilise your blood sugar.

‘Peanuts are also great sources of folate, which is vital for reproductive health and many women are deficient in.’

You get even more folate in hazelnut butter – though less protein.

As well as unsaturated fat and protein, most nut butters provide some fibre, a range of B vitamins and Vitamin E as well as zinc, magnesium – which speeds up your metabolism and improves immunity – and copper.  But that doesn’t mean we should be eating them by the jarful. 

We can easily overeat nut butters because of their preferable texture to nuts, minimal crunching requirements and versatility in the kitchen. The key to healthy nut butter consumption is moderation, reading the back of the label and smart food pairings. They should, ideally, contain no added sugar or oils.

Image: 123rf

Jenny Tschiesche, consultant nutritionist for Indigo Herbs, says: ‘When purchasing nut butters you want to be aware of unnecessary added ingredients. Nuts are naturally fatty and when they are ground into nut butter they should provide their own oils as lubricants. They don’t need added oil and neither do they need added sugar.’

It is a good idea to avoid nut butters containing sugar and oils, especially palm oil which can be bad for the environment and over-processed. But if you see a jar with a little coconut oil mixed in – which is a healthy saturated fat – that’s okay (in moderation!).

Jenny continues: ‘Both peanut butter and cashew nut butter – neither of which are technically nuts – tend to be naturally sweeter than other nut butters but lower in nutrients.

‘Peanuts are also one of those crops that get sprayed most with pesticides, generally due to the large scale of production. For that reason it’s best to buy organic peanut butter.

‘Almond butter is one of the highest in protein and fibre as well as providing a varied source of nutrients including calcium, iron, Vitamin E and magnesium. It is delicious in smoothies, in milkshakes, stirred into porridge or added to Asian sauces and soups.’

Swedish nutritionist Frida Harju, who is the in-house nutritionist at the health app Lifesum, prefers almond butter – which has fewer calories than peanut – but recommends peanut butter to those who exercise a lot.

Image: 123rf

She says: ‘Peanuts contain one of the highest amounts of protein per serving among nuts and seeds, making it the ideal post-workout refuel snack (although, they’re technically a legume).  Peanuts also contain magnesium which fortifies your muscles and bones, as well as potassium, which has been found to lower blood pressure.’

Frida says: ‘Almond butter also contains Vitamin E and magnesium, as well as copper and calcium which helps keep your brain sharp and your bones strong, as well as nourish the nervous system. Almond butter is a good alternative for anyone who is allergic to peanuts.’

Almonds have also been linked with reducing heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Frida recommends topping oatmeal with a tablespoon of almond butter, serving it with apple, or spreading it on wholegrain rice cakes.

Regarding cashew butter, Frida says: ‘Cashew butter contains oleic acid, otherwise known as Omega-9, which helps to reduce blood pressure and aid weight loss. Although cashews are lower in fibre than other nuts, they’re packed with vitamins E, K and B6, as well as minerals, antioxidants and protein.’

Image: Tumblr

She suggests eating nut butters in your lunchtime sandwich: ‘Make sure to go for whole grain breads and use fresh fruit like bananas or apples instead of jams which are high in sugar.’

Therapeutic nutritionist Emma Edwards, of newyoubootcamp.com, adds: ‘All nut butters reduce cholesterol by reducing LDL, bad cholesterol. Many people don’t think about this until later in life, thinking it only affects the 40+ age group: but it is never too young to look after your cholesterol levels.

‘Furthermore, nut butters are full of monounsaturated fats which are incredible for heart health, and they contain anti-ageing antioxidants too.’

She’s a fan of all butters including macadamia, walnut and cashew.

‘Walnut butter is the highest of all nut butters in omega-3 fats, which stimulate leptin release. Leptin is the satiety hormone which tells our brains we are full, so more of this will reduce cravings and over eating.’

Clare adds: ‘When you really need to curb a sugar craving, slice up some apple, sprinkle cinnamon on top and spread two teaspoons of nut butter.

‘For main meals, peanut butter is great in a satay sauce on protein and vegetables.’

Image: 123rf

11 11 Food

Go green this week with the most scrumptious salad places in Singapore

Photo: kaboompics / Karolina / pexels.com

As the saying goes: eat well, feel swell.

The trend of eating clean has been growing rapidly over the past few years, leading to a good number of salad shops popping up on our little red dot.

With loads of people hopping onto the health-eating bandwagon, here are seven salad places in Singapore for a satisfyingly delicious and healthy meal!

 

1. The Salad Corner

Photo: thesaladcorner.com

 

Given the relatively higher price point at most salad bars, The Salad Corner is certainly one of the more value-for-money options around. Their basic salads start at just S$4.90, which comes with 5 different basic toppings of your choice and a salad dressing.

Photo: The Salad Corner / Facebook

 

If that does not satiate your hunger, choose to add an extra basic topping at just 50 cents! Alternatively, make your salad more appetising with their premium toppings such as Smoked Salmon or Teriyaki Chicken, priced between S$1 to S$2 per topping.

Address: Amoy Street Food Centre, #01-41, 7 Maxwell Rd, Singapore 069111
Opening hours: Mon - Fri, 9am - 7pm

 

2. Sumo Salad

Photo: Sumo Salad / Instagram

 

This Australian salad bar is set to please both foodies and salad lovers with its hearty salad portions! Offering more than 10 different ready-made salad combinations, Sumo Salad is the ideal salad bar for the indecisive ones.

Photo: Sumo Salad / Instagram

 

Likewise, at just S$6.50, you can also design your own salad bowl from the selection of fresh ingredients. Besides salads, Sumo Salad also serves up an assortment of wraps, rolls and even pastas as well!

Address: 313@Somerset, 313 Orchard Road, #B3-52, Singapore 238895
Opening hours: Daily, 10am - 10pm

 

3. Toss & Turn​

Photo: Toss & Turn Singapore / Facebook

 

A new gourmet Salad, Soup & Sandwich Bar concept by Cedele, Toss & Turn allows you to customise your own salad in all possible ways imaginable! With an extensive assortment of fresh ingredients, including edamame beans and roasted kumara, to choose from, be treated to a generous bowl of hearty greens.

Photo: Toss & Turn Singapore / Facebook

 

Pair your salad bowl with their freshly-made sandwiches or hearty soups as well. Here at Toss & Turn, you will getting the right nutrients from their wholesome meals!

Address: ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, #B4-55, Singapore 238801
Opening hours: Daily, 10am - 10pm

 

READ MORE: RECIPE: Easy quinoa salad with tom yum prawns​ and Poke Recipes: How to make this Hawaiian raw fish salad​.

 

4. Salad Stop!

Photo: Salad Stop! / Facebook

 

Salad Stop! is perhaps one of the pioneer salad bars in Singapore, with over 10 outlets opened island-wide. The wide array of fresh ingredients and sauces available makes it one of the more popular salad bars amongst health-junkies.

Photo: Salad Stop! / Facebook

 

Either choose from one of their hearty signature salads or create your own! On top of bespoke salads, Salad Stop! also offers nutritional wraps and quinoa bowls as well. Healthy eating is taken very much seriously here at Salad Stop!

Address: Velocity@Novena, 238 Thomson Road, #02-24, Singapore 307683
Opening hours: Mon - Fri 9am - 9pm; Sat & Sun 11am - 9pm

 

5. Munch Saladsmith​

Photo: Munch Saladsmith / Facebook 

 

Munch Saladsmith doubles up as a salad bar and rotisserie, which makes their salads even more flavourful without comprising on the nutrition! Offering more than 60 different flavours of freshly tossed and hand cut salads, you will certainly be spoiled for choice here.

Photo: Munch Saladsmith / Instagram

 

Complement your salad with one of their unique sauces such as Jellied Cranberry or BBQ Manila. Alternatively, top your salad with their variety of meats such as roast chicken, salmon or dory fish.

Address: Paya Lebar Square, 60 Paya Lebar Road, #01-85/86, Singapore 409051
Opening hours: Mon - Fri 9.30am - 8.30pm; Sat & Sun 9.30am - 6pm

 

6. Shinkansen

Photo: Shinkansen / Instagram (@ttc_happyfoods)

 

Bringing the concept of eating clean and zen all the way from Japan is Shinkansen. This Japanese salad bar brings Japanese-styled protein meals catering to nearby office workers who usually have “lunch on the fast track”.

Photo: Shinkansen / Instagram

 

Choose from their artfully created signature bowls, which is generously portioned and will certainly leave you feeling full and satisfied. Similar to other salad bars, you have the option of designing your own salad as well, albeit rather pricey with a regular bowl starting at S$13.90.

Address: Ocean Financial Centre, 10 Collyer Quay, #B1-08, Singapore 049315
Opening hours: Mon - Fri 8am - 7pm

 

via GIPHY

The healthy fad is definitely here to stay and these salad places in Singapore are certainly worth your visit with their delectable and healthy salad bowls! Just go easy on those salad dressing and we are pretty sure you can keep to your #eatclean resolution!

 

This story was originally published in Shopback.sg, April 21, 2017.

READ MORE: Make this easy Thai tanghoon salad in 20 minutes and Light and refreshing pomelo salad recipe.

Experience copious stalls of delicious food at Siloso's GrillFest (and it's open now!)

Image: Sentosa

It all kicked off yesterday evening and not even the rain could splash down our high spirits as we were welcomed to Siloso GrillFest.

Home to almost 1km of pop-up food stalls, Siloso GrillFest offers a spread of classic and contemporary BBQ creations, as well as international cuisine from various F&B operators from within and beyond Sentosa along the hip Siloso Beach. There are a whopping 120 food and beverage outlets on Sentosa island, and GrillFest has gathered 18 mobile stalls to offer we Singaporeans two weekends of epic food.

With live music performances to boot, the BBQ festival is set to delight guests from 13 – 16 April 2017 and 21 – 23 April 2017.  Having attended last night, we say it's a must-visit.

Cornering off the road that runs along Siloso beach, a variety of bars and restaurants have pop up stalls that you can peruse and then purchase whatever takes your fancy - complete with outdoor seating area along the way.  With quirky umbrella lights leading you along the path, the 'mini' food festival has such an awesome buzz to it. 

Plus, the live music and beer towers (no, we most certainly did not have a tower, no we didn't) means you can quite literally eat, drink and be merry.  The atmosphere is so relaxed, perfect for families to get together, couples to dine out with a difference or just friends being huge foodies and wanting to sample the best of Singapore.

The food...it is JUST WOW.

Everything that was served to us was beyond delicious...everything.  From oysters to burgers to tender lamb to BBQ meats...we were even served a 'Chocolate Dog' to try. Nope, it wasn't a dessert but an actual hotdog baked in chocolate then topped with whipped cream and in a hot dog bun! If you do fancy desserts...they have some delightful coconut ice-cream served in an authentic coconut bowl.

We will say no more, but let the dishes do the talking...well, images of them at least. 

Open now and next weekend only, head down to Sentosa and get eating!

 

 

 

 

Allow your food to change your mood...for the better

Image: 123rf

If moods were merely psychological and if they were truly “all in your head,” they wouldn’t make us so miserable. We don’t choose to stay in the depths of depression, and we don’t always have control over how our feelings affect our lives, because for many of us, mood is as physical as a broken bone.

Scientists believe that mood is caused by changes in the production or availability of brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), which are responsible for feelings of anger, anxiety, happiness, motivation and depression, which can affect overall energy levels. The three main neurotransmitters – norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin – work in concert to balance mood. The reason you feel a particular way on a particular day is usually a combination of genetic susceptibility, life’s events, and your body’s physical state. And all of us can be pushed over the emotional cliff by food–related issues, including what we eat, when we eat, and why we eat.

Image: Giphy

Nutrition related mood problems have both long-and short -term roots. Poor eating habits, can over time, lead to deficiencies in some of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that contribute to a good mood. For example, the amino acid tryptophan can be converted in the brain to serotonin – a mood-calming neurotransmitter – only when adequate carbohydrate is present. Eating patterns can also affect your moods from hour to hour – the proverbial “midmorning slump” – and many cases of flaring irritability can be caused by a dip in blood sugar, resulting from eating the wrong foods at the wrong time of day or from not eating enough, or not eating often enough.

Image: Tumblr

No matter where your moods come from or how long they last, eating the right foods can help you feel more energetic and less like you’re riding an emotional roller coaster.

Here are the main guideposts on your mood- food road map.

 

1. High quality carbohydrates and proteins

Image: 123rf

Like all foods, carbohydrates affect body chemistry, and the type of carbs you eat will make all the difference in determining metabolism, energy, and overall well-being. When blood sugar is up, we feel good; when it goes down, our moods plunge. Ideally you want to eat foods that give you a steady level of energy from start to finish.

Protein doesn’t add to blood sugar but instead helps slow absorption of carbohydrates from the blood, making it critical in moderating mood because it’s a great stabiliser. To stay on an even keel all day, the majority of your meals and snacks should combine high-quality carbohydrates and protein.

• Best feel good high-quality carbs:

Non-starchy vegetables such as artichokes, bok choy, broccoli, dark leafy greens, eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, pumpkin, snow peas, sugar snap peas, tomatoes and water chestnuts.

Lentils and beans (black-eyed peas, garbanzo and kidney beans, lentils and soy beans).

All fresh and frozen fruits – Whole grains such as amaranth, barley, oats, quinoa, brown rice, etc.


 

2. Omega-3 fatty acids

Image: 123rf

The relationship between depression and omega-3 fats is complex and not fully understood. Studies have shown improvement in mood when omega-3 foods and supplements are a part of your daily diet. Omega-3s are most abundant in fatty fish, so I recommend eating one or two servings per week.

• Best feel good omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods:

Wild salmon (fresh, tinned), herring, mackerel (not king), sardines, anchovies, rainbow trout, Pacific oysters, chia seeds, ground flaxseeds, walnuts, butternuts (white walnuts), seaweed, walnut oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil and soybeans (edamame).
 

3. Vitamin D

Image: 123rf


In recent years research suggests that vitamin D may help relieve mood disorders (anxiety, depression) because it increases levels of serotonin, one of the neurotransmitters responsible for mood. If you suffer from minor depression and anxiety issues, aim to eat more vitamin D-rich foods to improve your mood profile.

• Best feel good vitamin D-rich foods:

Wild salmon (fresh, tinned), herring, mackerel (not king), sardines, milk (fat free, 1%), soy milk, fortified yoghurt (fat-free, low fat), egg yolks, vitamin D-enhanced mushrooms.

 

4. Vitamins: Folate & B12

Image: 123rf

Folate and vitamin B12 are involved in the production and metabolism of neurotransmitters that help normalise mood. Low levels have been linked to a higher risk of depression, especially in older adults. Even if you are not clinically depressed, you should also go out of your way to eat foods rich in both folate and vitamin B12.

• Best feel good folate-rich foods:

Lentils, black-eyed peas, soybeans, oats, spinach, artichokes, parsnips, broccoli, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, oranges and orange juice, brussel sprouts, papayas, seaweed, berries (boysenberries, blackberries, strawberries), starchy beans (black, pinto, navy, kidney), cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, corn, whole grain bread and whole grain pasta

• Best feel good vitamin B12-rich foods:

Shellfish (clams, oysters, crab), wild salmon, soy milk, trout (rainbow, wild), tuna (tinned, light), lean beef, veggie burgers, cottage cheese (fat-free, 1%), yoghurt (fat-free, low fat), eggs and cheese (fat-free, reduced fat)


 

Bonus tips:
 

Eat consistently throughout the day

Image: Pinterest

• If your blood sugar flags, your energy will fade and your mood can take a nasty turn. You need to eat at least once every four to five hours to keep your brain fuelled and happy. Make sure each meal and snack contains a combination of high-quality carbohydrates and protein.

Exercise

• Too many people underestimate the benefits of exercise. Most studies that have looked at the effects of exercise on mood find that nearly any kind of exercise reduces anxiety, tension, stress and feelings of depression. Not only that, but it can also make you feel stronger, more confident and self-assured.

Make time for you

• As impossible as it may seem, when you’re feeling frazzled, overextended, angry, anxious or depressed, your family and friends may be your best “vaccine”. Make daily time for “me time”, take a step back (even if just ten minutes), reframe your way of thinking and learn how to balance work life with personal life.

Image: Giphy

 

Article first published on Asia Spa

 

Could the 'Caveman' diet work for you?

Image: 123rf

The Paleo diet is a way of eating reminiscent of what our caveman ancestors would have likely gorged on: lots of meat, seafood, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds – and pretty much nothing else.

That means no sugar, grains, legumes or dairy and, depending on which camp you sit in, no alcohol either. Gone are the cheeky chocolates, bakery treats, Mexican fiestas and sparkling champagne.

In short, fun food is out.

 

Why Paleo?

Such austerity is for good reason, argue Paleo supporters. Our modern eating habits are killing us. Containing more processed, packaged and commercially produced foods than ever before, our diets are causing a raft of disorders and diseases at an alarming rate, from autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes to rampant obesity. Something is certainly up, and Paleo proponents believe our diet is to blame.

While humans were adapted to a hunter-gatherer diet during the Paleolithic era (which lasted around 2.5 million years), Paleo purists argue our bodies have not properly adapted to eating modern foods like wheat, sugar, chemically processed vegetable and seed oils. They’ve only been in our diets for the last 10,000 years since the advent of agriculture – a mere blip on the radar of evolutionary history.

It makes sense, if you think about it. And the benefits – from fat loss, improved moods to more energy – certainly appeal.

Image: 123rf

Yet Paleo is not without its critics. The jury is still out on saturated fat, which the Paleo diet encourages in high order, and high meat consumption has been linked to an increased risk of bowel cancer. A reduction in fibre in the diet has also been associated with constipation.

Another concern is the elimination of entire food groups that form part of a healthy diet. Dairy products, for example, are packed full of nutritional goodies like calcium, vitamin D and protein, while legumes, such as beans and chickpeas are affordable and nutrient-dense plant-based sources of protein.

Despite the naysayers, and putting aside my fears, I decided to embark on an adventure with Paleo for an entire month.

I lived to tell the tale. And here’s my major takeaway: it’s not as bad, or as hard, as you might think.

 

Eating Paleo

Image: 123rf

I love breakfast, it’s my favourite meal of the day and pre-Paleo I couldn’t imagine a grain-free brekkie that would satisfy my morning hunger. But with a bit of preparation and research (there’s an abundance of Paleospiration websites), I surprised myself.

Instead of muesli and toast, I regularly breakfasted on an omelette with spinach, mushrooms and chicken breast. If I’d worked out that morning, I would add sweet potato or pumpkin – baking batches in advance each week saved time. To satisfy my ‘bread-like’ cravings, I alternated with yummy grain-free Paleo breads like coconut bread, almond bread or sweet potato bread – they’re as yummy as they sound.

Lunch was typically a salad, making sure I had enough protein from meats, seafood, nuts or eggs (although I tried not to eat more than two to three eggs in a day) to fill me up for the rest of the day. Dinner followed the ‘meat and three veg’ pattern which, depending on where you grew up, may sound familiar. Snacks stayed simple: nuts, veggies, mouthfuls of coconut oil and ‘accepted’ treats like Paleo brownies – dates, cacao and nuts blitzed with coconut oil.

 

Paleo is not no-carb

Image: 123rf

Although Paleo is low-carb, it’s not no-carb, and there are plenty of ways to eat enough carbs while eating Paleo. As an endurance runner I made sure I supplemented my diet with plenty of carbohydrate from starchy vegetables (although potato is strictly out on Paleo) and fruits.

Did you know that one cup of sweet potato has almost the same amount of carbohydrates as two slices of white bread (27 grams versus 30 grams)? One medium potato has 37 grams of carbohydrates; and the trusty banana has 27 grams? Depending on your exercise levels, ensure you pack enough ‘good’ carbohydrates in the form of fruit and vegetables while you’re experimenting with Paleo and you won’t feel hungry or like you’re missing out.

 

Paleo Benefits

Image: 123rf

Although the initial transition left me a little light-headed at times, once I adjusted I felt better than ever. Because my blood sugar levels were not spiking and crashing after carbo-heavy, grain-ladened foods, I felt a constant source of energy. Gone was the brain fog, the mid-afternoon dips and irritability. My bloated, sensitive stomach even started to show some definition. And, the best part, I lost weight too (although the experts say this is no surprise, given the diet’s restrictive nature).

 

Paleo Pains

But Paleo is not easy, and sticking to the rules can be tough. It requires hours of preparation and forethought; for some people this may not be possible. Sourcing some of the quality meats and other produce in Hong Kong where I live proved difficult.

Dining out presents a difficult, though not insurmountable, challenge. Opt for salads (hold the dressing and ask for plain olive oil instead) or fresh fish or meat. Meals on the go are tricky, but Paleo-friendly snack options are becoming increasingly available.

 

Paleo: worth the pay off?

After my fling, I can say without pause that I’m a fan of Paleo. But I’m not about to sign up to the regimented regime completely.

Many of the principles are simple and easy to incorporate without making drastic changes. Eat more fresh food. Snack on veggies and nuts, rather than muesli bars. Eat more protein. Cut out the processed junk. Reduce excess carbs. Drink alcohol sparingly and purposefully. We are, after all, what we eat, and eating well can have a profound impact on our health.

Ultimately it’s a choice. And personally, I will make it as often as I can, while letting a little fun creep in occasionally.

Image: 123rf

Quick Guide to Eating Paleo

In

Meat, Seafood and Eggs,preferably grass-fed, pasture-raised, organic-fed animals or wild caught and sustainable seafood

Fats and oils (coconut, avocado, ghee, limit use of other vegetable oils)

Nuts and seeds (except peanut)

Vegetables (except potato, corn and beans)

Fruit (but not juice), one to two servings a day

 

Out

Sugar or artificial sugar (including stevia, agave nectar, molasses or honey)

Junk Food like cookies, ice-cream and cakes, even gluten-free ones!

Grains(including wheat products, corn products, rice, pasta, bread, oatmeal, cereals)

Legumes or beans

Dairy including yoghurt and milk

Alcohol

 

Article first published on AsiaSpa

Hidden halal food gems you can find in Whampoa

I am going halal today.

This is my makan birthright in Singapore - I can eat anything I want anytime and no one will bother me.

This food democracy, unfortunately, is not reflected in the recent Michelin Singapore guide book.

In frustration, I decided to track down a couple of halal Malay dishes.

I also stumbled upon a refreshing gem: an orange peel sour plum drink at the Whampoa Food Centre.

 

Image: Hawker Food

Mat Noh & Rose Ginger Fried Chicken Rice

Block 91, Whampoa Drive, #01-27 (10am to 4.30pm, closed on Sundays)

It is the light ginger-flavoured marinade and batter that brought me back for a second meal.

And the sight of a potful of marinated chicken parts sitting next to a wokful of golden brown, fried chicken was so comforting.

The piping hot and uber crispy (I detected a lot of rice flour batter) chicken with moist flesh was irresistible. The big scoop of crispy bits they piled on top of the fried drumstick did me in.

I love that the chicken rice was lightly flavoured and not oily. And they still offer fried chicken skin, gizzards, liver, bishop's nose and neck - something aficionados will adore.

The only letdown was the sweetish chilli sauce but I liked the dark soy-chilli padi dip they offered.

 

Image: i eat i shoot i post

Rabiah Muslim Food

Block 90, Whampoa Drive, #01-34, Whampoa Drive Food Centre (Noon to 7pm, closed on Sundays)

One can tell this is not a true nasi padang stall. It offers a nasi melayu, and a decadent one indeed.

The one item you must not skip, if they have it in stock, is the sambal sotong. It is top-flight restaurant stuff just judging by the freshness and texture of it.

A chef has to go to the market and select the seafood personally to get such results. Thick, soft, fresh and blessed with a good sambal.

The fried chicken is also a must try, as is the curry chicken. Many opt for the appetising and fresh assam fish.

This stall, which has been in business for more than 30 years, caught my eye because of the boldness of each dish.

Nothing looks insipid and you feel like ordering all - which can tear a hole in your wallet.

An average platter goes for about $7 but you get what you pay for.

 

Image: i eat i shoot i post

Bee Guan Orange Peel and Sour Plum Drink

Block 91, Whampoa Drive, #01-23 (7am to 3pm, daily)

It is hard to tell that this gem of a thirst quencher comes from this messy little friendly "drinks uncle" stall.

A pile of dried orange and kumquat peel sits atop an iced glass of kumquat drink and it comes with an extra cup of iced water.

"You have to drink half the kumquat drink, then fill it with water, stir and drink up again" was the instruction from the drinks uncle, Mr Jeffery Thia.

It was literally two cups for the price of one ($1.50).

Don't miss this one if you are there.

KF Seetoh, the founder of Makansutra, dabbles in street food businesses like food markets, his own TV shows on cable, publishing food guides, consultancy and online content. He is also the creator of the World Street Food Congress. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Want to read more on hidden food gems you can find in Singapore? Check out our stories on 10 restaurants in Singapore you didn't know you could get delivered from and the best places to find hot chocolate in Singapore!

This story was originally published in The New Paper. For more stories like this, head to www.tnp.sg.

Japanese soft-serve icecream and other fun new foods to try in Singapore

POPSICLES IN BOOZE

Nestled in the heart of Orchard Road is a rather unpretentious, laidback and low-key alfresco bar called Bar Canary.

Kick off your shoes as you relax on bean bags on artificial turf.

Located on the fifth floor of Grand Park Orchard hotel, the bar serves a range of cocktails including fruity popsicles in glasses of booze ($6 a pop, and $18 with a glass of alcohol).

The popsicles are made by local artisan pop-maker Popaganda.

Try the refreshing Passionfruit Mint pop in a glass of riesling or the Mango Cayenne pop in sparkling wine. The invigorating Mixed Berries Shiso pop comes in a glass of sake.

Other good cocktails here include the Coco Chanel - a blend of rum, coconut liqueur, wheatgrass, coconut water, mint and lime ($20); and Sugar 'N Spice And All Things Nice ($20), a sweet and energising cocktail with salted caramel vodka, kaffir lime and gula melaka.

WHERE: Bar Canary, Grand Park Orchard, 270 Orchard Road MRT: Orchard OPEN: Noon to 1am (Sunday to Thursday), noon to 2am (Friday, Saturday and eve of public holiday) TEL:6603-8855 INFO: Go to www.parkhotelgroup.com/orchard or e-mailfnb.gpor@parkhotelgroup.com

 

GOOD FOOD TO GO WITH DRINKS

Employees Only in Amoy Street opened to much fanfare last month. It is an offshoot of the one in New York's West Village that has been named one of the best bars in the world.

The vibe is buzzy and inviting, no matter which night of the week. But do not come just for the drinks.

The bar-restaurant makes a mean and addictive hot sauce, which is served with steak tatare ($27) that is mixed table-side.

The scrumptious and moist bacon-wrapped lamp chops with salsa verde ($32, photo) are not over-seasoned and go well with drinks; while the fried skate ($31), deliciously smoked rainbow trout ($38) and cavatelli pasta with pork sausage ($23) are good choices.

WHERE: Employees Only, 112 Amoy Street MRT: Telok Ayer OPEN: 5pm to 2am (Sunday to Thursday), 5pm to 3am (Friday to Saturday) TEL: 6221-7357 INFO: Go towww.facebook.com/employeesonlysingapore

 

GREEK FARE AT DEMPSEY

Greek Restaurant Blu Kouzina moved to Dempsey Hill about three months ago, from its former shophouse location along Bukit Timah Road, off Old Holland Road.

Not only is its new premises much more spacious, but the restaurant's ventilation has also improved tremendously - I am glad it is no longer stuffy and I do not leave smelling like food.

The restaurant is in the same block as Portico Prime and ChopSuey.

Things I like to eat here include the fresh and light Greek salad with cucumber, olives and onions, served with a block of feta ($21.80); imam baildi ($18.80), baked eggplant topped with a rich tomato sauce; and dips such as tzatziki ($14.80), a yogurt mixed with cucumber and garlic; fava ($13.80), a mellow yellow lentil dip; and melitzanosalata ($15.80), a smoky eggplant and herb dip balanced out with lemon juice.

Main courses to order include a meat platter (from $94.80, photo) that comes with succulent lamb chops, juicy beef patties, beef kalamaki (grilled cubed marinated beef on skewers) and meatballs. Be sure to order some grilled octopus ($29.80) too. 

WHERE: Blu Kouzina, 10 Dempsey Road, 01-21 MRT: Holland Village OPEN: Noon to 2.30pm (Friday to Sunday), 6 to 10pm (daily). First seating 6 to 8pm; second seating 8.15 to 10pm TEL: 6875-0872 INFO: Go to blukouzina.com or e-mail blukouzina@singnet.com.sg

 

SWEET JAPANESE SWIRL

To me, a name like Small Potatoes Ice Creamery has its pitfalls. I am not sure I would want the name of my business to be synonymous with being small potatoes in Singapore's competitive ice cream industry.

However, this new ice creamery in Novena Square 2 is pretty good and can hold its own.

It does its two soft-serve flavours - Japanese sea salt and Japanese purple yam - very well. Prices start at $5 a serving.

I would recommend getting a twist, which is a combination of both flavours. Milky sea salt ice cream and sweet-savoury Japanese yam make a winning combination.

Or opt for one of its parfaits, such as the Small Potato Party ($9.50, photo), which comes with a small Japanese yam, yam paste, warabi green tea mochi, azuki beans and crispy rice.

WHERE: Small Potatoes Ice Creamery, Novena Square 2, 10 Sinaran Drive, B1-131 MRT:Novena OPEN: 11am to 10pm daily TEL: 6352-2661 INFO: Go towww.facebook.com/smallpotatoesicecreamery

 

A version of this story was originally published in The Straits Times on July 15, 2016. For more stories like this, head to www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle.

Images: Bar Canary, Employees Only, Blu Kouzina, Small Potatoes Ice Creamery

Buns that deserve a square on your Instagram feed

 

Instagram: @chiakpabuay_

The purple sweet potato bun has skin that is green and black from green tea and bamboo charcoal.

Some food items are just made for Instagram.

It sounds unlikely that Chinese steamed buns would fall into this category, but the ones from Just Dough at Suntec City fit the bill: Bright and colourful, they will help pop any dull Instagram feed, no matter what angle you use to take the photos.

These, as you may have gathered, are not your average buns.

Besides their multi-coloured skins, they come in a wide range of innovative flavours - such as cheesy chicken mushroom and banana chocolate - that you would not find in traditional bao shops.

 

 

Instagram: @aprilyap

The buns here taste as good as they look too, which is saying a lot, when so many Instagram food fads compromise heavily on flavour with gimmicky designs and unnecessary add-ons.

According to Mr Vincent Koh, 39, who founded Just Dough, the colouring comes from natural ingredients, such as fruit and vegetable juices.

  • JUST DOUGH

  • B1-169 Suntec City, 3 Temasek Boulevard; open: 7.30am to 10pm on weekdays, 8.30am to 10pm on weekends

  • Rating: 3.5/5 stars

On the racks, each type of bun comes with clear labels of what the skin colouring is made of. The cheesy chicken mushroom bun ($2.60), for example, is encased in a bright yellow skin infused with carrot juice. One of the most popular items at the store is the purple sweet potato bun ($1.90), with skin that is green and black from green tea and bamboo charcoal. Almost everyone in the queue has one on his tray.

You can enjoy one on the spot - a staff member will bring you a hot bun from the on-site steamer. Or you can pack it in a bag to eat at home, as long as you steam it for 10 minutes first. I choose to have mine at home and the plump shape of the palm-sized bun is still intact hours after I buy it. As soon as I slice it open, I cannot help but marvel at the three distinct layers of green, black and deep purple.

The bread is soft and fluffy, but as it tends to get chewy when it cools, it should be eaten as soon as it is out of the steamer. The generous filling is not overly sweet either, which I like.

Later, I have a taste of the curry chicken potato bun ($2.60), which has a red skin from chillies. The bun is bursting with so much potato that I feel stuffed just halfway through eating it.

Other buns offered at the store include shredded coconut bun, durian bun and wolfberry mantou ($1.90 each) - all of which I am eager to try on my next visit.

Patrons who choose to dine in at the eatery can opt to have hot soup (chilli crab, $7.90; or pumpkin, $5.90) paired with a plain steamed bun or have a bun toasted and served with kaya.

So it looks like I have a number of quick lunch options rolled out for me in the weeks to come - and plenty of potential Instagram "likes".

This story first appeared on The Sunday Times on 26th February 2017

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