Initially, Singapore didn't really strike me as a very healthy place. There's deep fried Asian food everywhere, when you are at the local markets it's impossible to know what you are eating and I didn't see a lot of people being very active. That is, if you don't count the shopping marathons that are possible in Singapore (you can literally walk through the entire 4 million-people city via malls underground.
But after a couple of days exploring the city with my other half Vic, I was more and more impressed with the healthy cafés and studios that we discovered. They aren't as easily visible at first sight like I am now used to in Australia, but if you do a bit of research, you will realise that there are actually plenty of great options. It's a place where the health scene is really up and coming, so if you keep your eyes peeled, I'm sure you will discover some new and exciting places.
Below is a list of places that I've hit up and can wholeheartedly recommend. Enjoy!
Afterglow is a farm to table plant-based food concept situated on the up-and-coming Keong Saik Road. The founders and staff take pride in their local, non-processed, fresh, eco-friendly and community-based approach, and this really is reflected in the food suppliers they partner with and the community work and crowd sourcing that they do.
And what about the food? The menu is overseeable with a good mix of healthy choices. Think a variety of soups, a raw cheese platter, guacamole dip for starter, and salads, mixed rice bowls, pizza and lasagne as main. In the end, we went for the potato salad, the Asian salad and the deconstructed sushi bowl with seasonal pickles, shitake mushrooms, avocado and mild wasabi dressing or the Asian salad bowl. While I found the potato salad to be a bit bland, I can very much recommend the other two dishes. The deconstructed sushi dish may look like a small bowl, but it was quite substantial with all the fillings and brown rice! I normally detest wasabi with a vengeance, but to my surprise I really enjoyed it in this particular dish.
If you live in Singapore, you may want to know that Afterglow also offers juice and meal programs with daily delivery!
We recommend: the deconstructed sushi bowl and the Asian coleslaw salad
24 Keong Saik Road Singapore 089131
There's something about sitting outside on the pavement of Telok Ayer Street with a good hearty breakfast as you watch the hustle and bustle of the CBD-life go by. Opened by two Aussie siblings and being slang for sandwich, Sarnies not only offers heart sandwiches but also delicious breakfasts and filling salads appeal to the mass and are healthy. Their menu evolves around quality, and you will find grass fed beef, chicken free from hormones and antibiotics; bacon cured in-house.
For brekky, go for the Breakfast of Champions (Steak/Salmon, Scrambled Eggs, Guacamole, Mixed Greens, Tomatoes) or the Cocowhip Breakfast bowl. And for lunch, well, we'll let you choose your favorite salad combo. Better still, go 50/50 with your bestie and share a salad + sandwich!
We recommend: the Breakfast of Champions + a soy latte
136 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068601
The Living Cafe
Balanced Living serves as a one-stop centre offering a raw café on the ground floor and a range of holistic and natural offers such as health consultations, family planning, health workshops & events, yoga, meditation, and detox and fasting programs etc. on the second floor.
Raw organic food is at the heart of the menu, and they use no no red meat, no cow dairy, no white sugar, no preservatives, no additives, no artificial colorings and include gluten free alternatives on our menu. But that doesn't mean you will be short of your favorites like pizzas, pastas and delicious cakes, don't worry!
It was quite hard to choose given that everything sounded incredible, plus we needed to make a calculated move in order to save stomach space for dessert (we were sitting right next to the cake counter and the temptation was high). We decided to share the veggie nori roll with avocado, beet, cucumber, carrot, leafy greens, red cabbage, wasabi, raw cashew mayo, balsamic orange dressing, bell pepper sauce and the taco boats with guacamole, mango salsa, romaine lettuce, 'meatballs', raw cashew mayo between the two of us. If you are hungry and aren't planning on dessert (which I do recommend), I'd definitely suggest getting a third dish. The nori rolls were so so (nothing out of the ordinary), but the taco boats were unique and incredibly flavourful! Obviously, the meatball wasn't meat, but made out of nuts and with lots of seasoning. Together with the mango salsa, this dish was refreshing as ever.
We recommend: the taco boats followed by a raw vegan cheesecake from their lovely cake counter
779 Bukit Timah Rd, Singapore 269758
Jar'd offers "layered nutrition on the go". Just as the name suggests, everything comes in a jar in this new and trendy salad bar concept. Who doesn’t love a good stuffed mason jar? The packaging might add to the weight of your lunch, but it makes for good photos (#firstworldproblems) plus you get to keep the jar if afterward. The salads are layered in way proven to keep your meal as good as when it was first packed. Dressing and protein first, everything else layered in the middle, and the greens on top. Both veggie and vegan options are available. If you're looking for a quick lunch on the go, Jar'd is your safe bet.
B1-38 Tower 1 One Raffles Place, Singapore 048616
As we were walking along Telok Ayer to have lunch at Sarnies, we noticed a big blue mandala sign in a staircase to our right. Curious as we were, we stepped inside, climbed the stairs, and to our surprise found a beautiful little 1-room yoga studio with white walls and big windows. After chatting to the girl at the reception and having a look at the classes (practice of asana, pranayama, dharana and dhyana), we knew we'd wanted to come back and do a class. We decided on an intermediate/advanced inversion yoga class led by Casey, and boy was it tough. I'd never really done a yoga class focused on inversions and we did a lot of poses that were new to me. But Casey did a wonderful job in helping us navigate through the tougher sequences, especially the ones where Vic and I looked at each other in despair mentally saying "How the f^$*^% am I supposed to do this?!".
It was really satisfying to push myself out of my comfort zone and try new things, and we were definitely in the right hands. But even if you are a beginner, The Yoga Mandala offers some great options. And if you're up for trying acro yoga, there is a class on Wednesday that I've heard great things about.
134 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068600
Bike Rides along the East Coast Park
The sun’s shining, you’re in the mood for some fresh air and fun – head out to the East Coast Park for a bike ride along the water! In all honesty, it's not the most scenic of routes (I went there at a time where there was lots of construction going on), but it still makes for a memorable day trip. Don't have your own bikes? Rent some wheels from one of numerous bike shops along the coast, like Lifestyle Bike where you can get a bike starting from $3 per hour!
Afterward, head to the East Coast Seafood Centre along the water to rehydrate with a fresh coconut or a quick meal. I had heard of the black pepper crab and chili crab being iconic Singaporean meals, and even though I didn't like the idea of eating inorganic fish, I am happy that I didn't miss out on this experience. We ordered lots of green leafy greens, green beans and rice on the side, and all together it was a nutritious and delicious meal.