Even the banknotes are crisp and clean in Singapore. No loud and stinky motorbikes, public transport runs like a Swiss watch, green parks everywhere, no smog, no traffic, safe. I even found out that Singapore is also consistently rated one of the least corrupt countries in the world*. I relaxed. My mission here was simple: find a good chef’s knife and two aprons for my upcoming training, buy two iPhones for an Ubud expat friend… and have yummy food on the way.
I stayed in Singapore’s touristy Chinatown in a little hotel with no breakfast (?! probably a good thing if you know my aversion against soggy white toast and pink jam) but a 1-minute walk up Temple street I discovered Nutrihub Organic Fusion Café, a charming little restaurant where Vinitha, a former nurse, serves creative and nourishing local dishes, including delicious desserts like avocado mousse with blackstrap molasses and chia seeds, or mango sorbet with almond crunch and dried blueberries. She offers cooking classes and nutrition counseling, we had a very inspiring talk! Due to 33% of Singaporeans being Buddhist and many of them health-conscious, there is a great choice of organic and vegetarian restaurants, most of them Chinese style which I was familiar with from Beijing and Shanghai.
Singapore is often described as one giant shopping mall. Which isn’t quite fair, the city has more to offer: modern art museums, film festivals, botanical gardens – the city’s green lung – and the Flyer, Singapore’s answer to the London Eye. But I was here on a mission and made my way to Orchard Road where all the malls are lined up for those wanting cheap electronics or in my case knives and iPhones. I found everything, including a very inspiring little café, a book on food photography, some nice new notebooks and pens and fun mall snacks.
Let me share the nice eateries I found with you and please share yours in the comments field, especially if you have been to some of the places on my “No time to try” list.
Real Food Café, Grocer and Books: Just the spacious, urban style I love: Norah Jones and Buddha Bar music, a store area with organic food (not just dreary brown rice and refrigerated greens but raw chocolate, teas, and yummy cosmetics), a long list of vegan soups (pumpkin, dumpling, miso, kombu-shitake, lentil-potato), fresh juices, salads and mains. Cosy book corner. If I had a café, it would look like this.
In The Central Mall, Clarke Quay (MRT). 10am to 9.30pm. www.realfoodgrocer.com
Nutrihub Organic Fusion Café: Perfect for a quick lunch with a chat with health-conscious locals and owner Vinitha who will share all her knowledge, recipes and cooking tips!
46, Temple Street in Chinatown, open from 12 to 9 pm Tue-Sat, 3-9 pm on Mondays, closed on Sundays and public holidays. http://nutrihub.blogspot.com/
Fortune Centre: This little mall is worth a visit! Close to several Buddhist temples in Singapore’s Bugis area, once known for it’s nightly gathering of trans-sexual women, this mini mall has at least six healthy-vegetarian-vegan eateries which open quite early, which is a big plus in Singapore where everything seems to stay closed until noon. I had a fresh and crunchy cold soba noodle salad at the New Green Pasture Café on the 4th level, some veggie sushi rolls at Create Healthy Lifestyle (what a name!) and peeked into the Pine Tree Café which served hot bowls of soup for which you chose the ingredients out of a Chinese style buffet. Herbivore, a Japanese/Western vegetarian, looked very inviting but was still closed as I was there. Tian Yuan on the ground floor had an even bigger choice but didn’t have such a cosy atmosphere as the others. All of these cafés cook MSG-free, with less oil and salt and understand food intolerances, allergies and vegan lifestyles.
190, Middle Street, MRT Bugis or Bras Basah
Open Mon-Sat 10-11-ish am – 8-9-ish pm (I read 11am but I was there at 10:30 and all the restaurants were already open)
Here is the list of places I would have gone to with more time, please share if you try one of them!
- Whole Earth
- Jelina Vegetarian Garden
- The Living Café (Singapore’s raw café)
- Ci Yan Organic Vegetarian, 8 Smith Street in Chinatown
- 7 Sensations on Raffles Boulevard/Millenia Walk
- Eight Treasures on Chinatown’s South Bridge Road
- Original Sin
- Ling Zhi Vegetarian
- Suriya Restaurant (open from 7:30 am!) 140 Serangoon Rd, Little India
- Komala Vilas: 76-78 Serangoon Rd, Little India
- VeganBurg at Golden Shoe (vegan burgers)
- Living Greens vegan restaurant on Beach Road
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