Onaka stands for ‘stomach’ in Jap and is short for Optimum Nutrition And Kitchen Arts.
It’s not often I say this but Onaka is a restaurant after my own heart.
Why do I love this place so much? Because it’s exactly how I think eating should be. They have a ‘No White Bread, No White Rice, No White Sugar’ policy and
every plate presented to you is about the texture, the color, the taste,
the presentation backed by a clear understanding of the nutritional
value of the food. The restaurant’s philosophy is all about Conscious Living- a sensible, pragmatic approach to eating. No counting calories, no weighing, nothing. Just beautifully tasty nutritious food, totally nourishing- just how food should be!
Other plus point would be the extremely great service and friendly staff! This is one of the very few restaurants in Singapore that I’d be happy to dine here everyday, all day! Thumbs up for Onaka! I’m in love with the place!
and drinks using all natural ingredients without chemicals, MSG,
transfat, flavouring and artificial additives. (score!) About half of
the menu is also vegetarian and are helpfully marked out for the
customer if they are looking for Gluten Free or vegan options. A quick
scan through the menu made my heart all aflutter- absolutely everything
here was something I would be happy to try. Everything seemed a well
thought out, balanced and nutrient- rich combination!
Totally doesn’t look like watermelon right? It actually tasted fishy as well (though when you bit into it, it still tasted of watermelon) I was so intrigued I had to ask the waiter how it was done. He described the steps and said slow cooking a watermelon makes it look like maguro! It was unique and really novel and worth a try but I’ll likely not reorder this again the next time I go. Nothing against the food, I generally don’t like strong fishy tastes.
Sat & Sun (10am-9:30pm)
Brunch till 5. Dinner from 6pm
Nearest Mrt: Labrador Park
Parking available at PSA building
I LOVE SINGAPORE HAWKER CENTRES and I always lament to my dad I’m very afraid when I grow older, there would be no more hawker centres! The horror!
Most days when I don’t know what to eat for lunch, I secretly scan and see which stall has the oldest person frying up something and order from that stall instead. Guaranteed yumminess! 🙂
But while hawkers sell really tasty food, I personally think hawker food is really
terrible for daily consumption especially if you are an office worker
and you eat out for breakfast, lunch and dinner then go back to your
desk for the rest of the day with minimal activity. I think we would all
agree that hawker centre food in general is too high in fat salt and
refined carbs lacking in vitamins, minerals and fibre.
It’s not wonder then if you are an average Singaporean looking to eat better in Singapore’s
Hawker Centres, you might find the task a strangely difficult and uphill
one. You start off the day all determined to Eat Right! and Eat Better and
you troop down to the nearest hawker centre for lunch and you are faced
with all these options that sound kindaaaa healthy but make you feel bloated and full and greasy and lethargic post meal.
I’m still dreaming of the day where EVERY hawker uses less salt, fat and sugar in their meals and offer a choice between brown and white rice (why don’t they, really?) instead of a couple of little red triangles on their menus.
Anyway, this list is a
couple of suggestions on how you can cut the fat and salt and try to
get in a little more fibre and balance the composition of fat, protein
and carbs a little more evenly.
#1: Thunder Tea Rice
If you are lucky enough, the hawker centre you are at has a Thunder Tea Rice store. This is possibly the only thing sold in Singapore hawker centres that gives you the most fibre for your buck without all the unnecessary oils and fats. The portion of rice is sometimes still a little too much (especially for an office worker) but you can always half it and up the cabbage.
|Thunder Tea Rice, Changi City Point’s Koufu.|
Personally, I usually order it with less brown rice, no ikan bilis (too hard, I don’t like!) and fill up all the remaining space with veg please! For extra protein, you can also ask for more beancurd. The combination is really flavourful. The egg and tau gwa side is usually overfried and really oily too but I would eat it if I felt like it or omit it entirely depending on how I felt that day. I’m not a fan of the tea too though I love green tea usually. But there’s just something about that herbally-ness of the Thunder Tea one that just makes it bleargh.
A better option would be to order half a bowl of veg of different colours like (more!) baby bok choy, eggplant, carrot, yam etc and things like egg or mushroom and non fried beancurd. Tang hoon is a pretty great low GI, non starchy option for noodles. Best however, would be to find a vegetarian store in the hawker centre. They usually sell a serving of brown rice for 50cents- $1.00. Limit yourself to a fist sized portion if you are easily affected by blood sugar fluctuations.
If you are having the dry version, ask for the noodles plain and add the sauce yourself.
If you are having the soup version, ask for the soup in a separate bowl and ask the server to pour HOT PLAIN Boiled water into your ingredients bowl. It sounds strange but they will do it and you can vary the levels of saltiness in your food accordingly when you eat it.
|Image taken from The Traveling Hungry Boy|
#4 Bak Kut Teh is another one of my favourites!
Buy your brown rice from a vegetarian store (are you starting to see a trend here?) for your fibre needs and go easy on the soup. The rest of the side dishes are way too oily though.
#5 Fish Soup
Once again, if you can, buy your brown rice from a vegetarian store. If not, white rice is okay too. White by itself is not bad/ good for you. It’s just that there are other options out there for your fibre/vitamin A needs etc. But if there is not other option, why not right? Go easy on the soup, I usually ask the stall owner to dilute the soup half-half. Half plain boiled water, half soup base and and add the chilli padi in the soup for some added kick without the sodium from the soya sauce.
#6 Kway Chap
I LOVE KWAY CHAP!!!! But it’s a definite no no if you are going to eat it everyday. TO make it more everyday-safe, I cut the sodium levels by asking that my ‘kway’ comes in plain boiled water/ soup.
|Image taken from The Real Singapore|
Hello everyone! Wow! I’ve just been really overwhelmed by all your support and love! I’ve been getting lots of encouragement from everyone around and it’s just been incredible! So thank you thank you all of you 🙂
I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently about health and nutrition in general. Most predominantly, everyone definitely wants to eat ‘healthier’ but are confused about what healthier means. Most of the questions centered around “can we ever eat… (ice cream/ milo/ cakes) ever again?”. “Just fruit and veg? Omg, that is such a sad existence! Are you serious?!”, ” THEN WHAT TO EAT?!” coupled with resigned sighs and a lot of frustration and and the eventual ” I rather die early but happy than live life like that.”
I’ll be doing up posts soon to answer your questions so hold your horses!
But first, let me reiterate that I’m not saying you can NEVER have a cookie or cake, or Char Kway Teow, or Fried Carrot Cake or anything ever again and that you must eat only fruit and veg. In fact, there is absolutely nothing you cannot eat.
It’s not about never having cake again during a birthday or having a mid week blow out meal with the pals, I am more concerned about the day to day. Every day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner- what will you be having and how good would that be for your body? I’m worried about people like my parents who grew up eating rice and dishes and noodles and all these cheap, yummy hawker centre food and who suddenly face confusing information that suddenly it’s all not good for them. I’m worried about young children whom I come into contact with each day whose parents are so busy working that it’s much easier to buy back dinner from the hawker centre (cheap and tasty!) than to slough it out at the stove after a hard day’s work only to have your lovingly prepared food rejected and abandoned in favour of chicken nuggets and potato chips.
Healthy food does not mean bland. It may be a little rough in the beginning because your tastebuds are so used to factory made, chemical laden foods and are so desensitized that it takes a lot of fat, sugar and sodium to consider a dish flavourful but if you just scale down and try cutting back on these three, you’ll find your tastebuds sharpen, along with all your other senses. I used to drench my meals in different sauces last time but since eating healthier, my tastebuds are so sensitive that food that is lightly spiced tastes amazing and hawker centre food in Singapore just throws me off whack. I’ve really come to appreciate food in it’s natural form- the sweetness of a crisp apple, the slight saltiness of eggs, mhhhm 🙂
Also, there is not one-size-fits all approach to health and nutrition. I am 25 and lead a largely sedentary life. I’m out of the house from 8:30am in the morning till 11 at night. I work 7 days a week. I drive to most places instead of walking. My work largely involves me sitting/ standing and talking. I’m trying to fit exercise in in the form of stair climbing and walks but I don’t exactly move that much in general. I am also extremely sensitive to carb products and sugar and I don’t move around that much so I don’t eat grains that often. Eating a hot fudgy cake or even rice out of proportion to the rest of my meal would send me craving for more food. I’ve experimented different combinations, high carb, low carb, high protein etc and found that what works best for me is tasty, hot food that spans the entire spectrum of food available. I omit nothing from my diet but my daily diet consists largely of carbs in the form of vegetables, light protein and a lot of plant based fat like coconut and nuts. My meal ratios are usually a large percentage of fat, followed by protein and carb. Experiment and find out what works for you. We could all do with less animal fat, sugar and salt but how much of carb, protein, fat, minerals and vitamins you eat is really specific to your daily life.
Secondly, I honestly do not care about body size. You can be ultra skinny but malnourished and you can be really big and malnourished. You could eat really healthily and still be malnourished, one would never know right? My acid test for health is strength and vitality. It doesn’t matter how you look but how you feel going about life. Is waking up hard to do? Do you often feel lethargic and uninspired? Do you feel breathless after walking up a couple flights of stairs? Do you eat really ‘healthily’ and exercise frequently but hate what you see in the mirror and secretly pinch your tummy rolls. Do you cry in bed at night? Wish life was different or you were somebody else? Does the weighing scale indicate how you would feel for the rest of the day? Do you need a 3pm afternoon nap after lunch? Do you need coffee to keep you going? Are your children lethargic, always looking for sugary products and unable to concentrate in school? Does life just feel too hard and too stressful for you? If your loved one was hanging at the edge of a pit would you be strong enough to save him/her?
I have a long way to go to build up strength but it pains me to see girls around me shying away from exercise and proper nutrition because they are afraid to bulk up. I know the look they are going for, I’ve seen their thinspiration photos.
The collarbone, ribs, the thigh gap, the legs. I know girls who are obsessed with every part, believing that they will never be perfect till then whittle themselves down to bone.
Strength and health > body size, absolutely. You may still have bits sticking out here and there and you may not be a size 00, but really, who cares? (Then again, if you are a size 00 or a size 24 and can pull yourself out of a burning pit and don’t do the junk, whoohoo, that’s great too)
I really dislike putting up pictures of female bodies because I think that just makes us objectify them even more. I don’t want you to swing the other way and look at the previous pic (shown above) and compare it with the bottom pic shown here and think ‘Oh the first pic is so gross! She’s too thin!’ Your reaction to anybody’s body shouldn’t be she/ he’s too – something. If you feel compelled to say anything about the person’s health, get to know that person a little more, talk to that person, learn that person’s mental state and see what you can work out from there.
Please don’t look at these kinds of pictures and say things like ‘fit in the new skinny’. NOTHING is the new skinny, okay? Exercising is for your heart, the lovely blush colour in your cheeks- never solely for calorie burning ‘to get a certain body’. There is nothing worse than over exercising and putting your body under such terrible strain.
To be honest, wating right and exercising
wouldn’t make you super skinny, if that’s the look you are after. But it
will give you greater energy, make you happier, live life fuller. It’s
hard to live life and be excited about things when you are afraid to
meet up with people because you have so many food items on your
restricted list or it clashes with your gym time. Go out and live! Try new things!Blend up a smoothie today! Be adventurous! Be the amazing person you were born to be. Go out and love somebody today 🙂
I can’t wait to hear about the person you would soon become 😀
This MCT Veg Smoothie is the smoothie I always drink for
breakfast when I’m in a rush and just need a grab-and-go breakfast for
the busy day ahead! Medium Chain Triglycerides are found mostly in
coconuts and butter etc. While MCTs are a type of fat, they are handled
very differently in the body from normal fat. They are lower in calorie
content than the usual Long Chain Triglycerides and are not stored as
fat deposits in the body as much as LCTs. Scientific studies have shown
the MCTs enhance thermogenesis (i.e. fat burning) So MCTs seem to offer a
triple approach to weight loss –
1. they have a
lower calorie count than other fats
2. they are minimally stored as fat
3. they contribute to enhanced metabolism to burn even more calories.
MCTs act like a carbohydrate rather than a fat store. Other than
weight loss and fat burning, they offer a host of other benefits such as
improving nutrient absorption of calcium and magnesium, mitigating the
effects of Alzheimers in the elderly and epileptic seizures in young
Personally I don’t really take it for weight
loss or anything but I find that it makes a perfect breakfast because
it’s such a power packed, high energy drink. Because it’s a fat and not a
carb, it doesn’t spike my blood sugar levels leaving me hungry and
craving by mid morning. It makes me feel really good and gives me loads
of energy whether or not it’s to hit the gym or tackle a full day’s work
I’ll probably do another post on the benefits
of FATS in a person’s diet (yes, you read that right! I’m a huge
proponent of a high fat diet 🙂 ) But for now, let’s move on to…
I try to get organic produce for my smoothies because i eat them raw and I’m trying to cut down on added chemicals and stuff but organic produce is really hard to get in Singapore! (or heart- stoppingly expensive) Zenxin Organic is one of my favourite organic veg suppliers to buy from because they can be easily found in Cold Storage all across the island. Although their New Zealand Spinach tastes rather waxy :/ However, I’m willing to overlook that because so far, it’s the only supplier that supplies organic kale in Singapore at convenient locations. (Available at selected Cold Storage outlets in Singapore like the Compass Point branch!) NTUC does a couple of organic produce as well but mostly fruit and only a few varieties of the green leafy types.
SO there you have it! Let me know what you think! For bodybuilders and gym bunnies, you can add in a scoop of your usual protein powder or for an au natural protein fix, some coarsely milled almonds etc!
Singapore finally has a permanent farmer’s market! I love farmer’s markets! I love that everything looks so fresh and brilliant- the colours! wow! The variety! The smells! Mhmm! I love it that it’s a place that treats food with the respect that it deserves and the atmosphere is always so fun and carnival like 🙂
Best of all, I love the almost-tangible passion in the air. The people behind the stalls are what attract me the most. I was a little skeptical about PasarBella because I was pretty sure all the veg and everything would actually be imported rather than lovingly grown by the stall owners themselves and horrors! they might turn out to be no different from people trying to hawk their wares solely for profit and whatnot but what I found at PasarBella was heartwarmingly different. Like at any farmer’s market across the world, the people behind their stalls at PasarBella were passionate about what they sold. You could tell that if they chose to sell bread or meat or oil or flowers that they truly believed in the highest quality of their product. From the girl at the crafts booth selling fabric to the lady selling cheese, I loved the way their eyes all lit up at the mention of their products. The genuine warmth and the vast knowledge- they were all specialists in their field and were truly inspiring!
I would really love to go back on a slow day at the market and just wander around talking to the stall owners!
I was SO TEMPTED to buy dried lavender stalks for $35 a bunch. Told myself I’d walk around the place first before returning and forgot all about them! 🙁 Would definitely be going back to get them. They were so lovely and smelled incredible!
Not a fan of coffee but the coffee smell was still really enticing.
I LOVE OILS pressed from fruit and nuts. MHMMM!
The best part of any farmer’s markets! The produce section!
Hello Barry the broccoli!
Does anybody know what fruits are these? I think the bottom left hand ones are.. pomegranate?
We couldn’t resist and stopped to buy a beef/cheddar (?) pie. It was okay. Flavourful I guess but as it wasn’t hot it wasn’t really irresistible. I felt there was too much meat and too little pastry. The balance was off somehow. I managed to snuck the middle part (with the extra pastry deco) so had a nice balanced mouthful of both pastry and filling. THAT part was yummy. haha
Really unique sounding drinks. Lemongrass and Ginger Milk, Lemon grass and Ginger tea and Cinnamon Spice!
It’s tucked away through a narrow corridor next to Bella Bakery.
I love the place! It’s just such a cosy nook filled with all sort of cheese and I really like cheese! The staff (as all the PasarBella staff are) were really friendly as well. Places that sell food AND offer free samples always get my vote 🙂
We asked for Brie but since they only served ‘rare cheese’ they offered an equally creamy substitute- raw cow’s milk cheese! I really liked it! I’ve long heard about the benefits of raw cow’s milk as opposed to pasteurised versions and I guess eating the cheese form is as good as any!
We also heard that they have a sort of ‘cheese degustation/ sampling’ session going on at night at 7:30pm where people can just gather round and sample the cheese. You can also bring your own wine, fruit and nuts etc– sounds like fun! Will totally want to try it out someday!
Most importantly, The Cheese Ark imports cheese from places and makers who still take the time to lovingly prepare their cheese through traditional methods- in line with The Slow Food Foundation‘s philosophy of protecting the environment, defending biodiversity, promoting sustainable agriculture, promoting small-scale food producers and valuing their traditional knowledge etc.
I fully suport any of these sort of ventures and efforts to treat the earth and food right so yay for The Cheese Ark!
Wouldn’t it be lovely if every child in future would be able to appreciate cheese (or any other type of food for that matter) for all the time and passion that went into it rather than a strangely coloured square blob in a package that came from a factory?
Anyway! Moving on!
Huber’s Butchery is also at PasarBella! I’m definitely not a fan of sausages or processed meats in general but we decided to try a Swiss Veal hotdog! I have a weakness for caramelised onions. Haha.
Not too bad I guess. Not something I would hanker for but much better than your run-of-the-mill hotdogs, definitely!
The last part of PasarBella is also a Tsukiji- inspired fish market. Live lobsters were going for 3 for $100. I found out that the founder of PasarBella is actually TWENTY FOUR year old Clovis Lim who is also behind gorgeous eateries like Antoinette and Pique Nique.
He is one of the anchor tenants at PasarBella and runs the fishmarket!
Just as we were heading out, I spied Pantry Magic!!!
Look at the array of gorgeous kitchen ware. SIGH *heart all aflutter*
Unfortunately it was closed for the day but! Gives me a great reason to go back again soon.
Go go go check out PasarBella for yourself! 🙂
Opens 9:30am- 7:30pm
Mondays to Sundays
PasarBella @ The Grandstand Bukit Timah Singapore
200 Turf Club Road Singapore 287994
Phone: +65 6887 0077