The festive season is a time for feasting and indulging in an array of traditional pastries and other goodies, but they could be a strain on your waistline and heart.
But don't despair. There are healthier options for everything these days. And here are some you might like to try:
325 Beach Road
Tel: 6396-5523, www.livingreens.com.sg
Hours: 11am to 8.30pm, Mondays to Saturdays Closed Feb 6 to 12 for the Chinese New Year period
Chef and co-owner Barbara Chin has weaved her culinary magic into her Chinese New Year fare.
She offers four varieties of vegan cookies made from organic wholemeal flour and organic raw sugar or organic molasses, with no eggs or butter.
The nori seaweed almond cookies are a hit with patrons. The chocolate mint almond cranberry cookies have a more distinctive taste and are no less healthy. The remaining two varieties are almond and walnut. All the cookies are priced at $20 a canister.
The restaurant will also serve the traditional Chinese New Year salad, yusheng, with purely organic vegetables and a sauce based on Ms Chin's own recipe, using ingredients such as umeboshi (pickled Japanese plum) paste, balsamic vinegar and organic molasses. Almonds are used in place of peanuts.
The yusheng is available from Feb 4 to 21 in three sizes, with prices ranging from $18.80 (for two persons) to $38.80 (for six).
Groups of between six and 10 diners can opt for a special Chinese New Year set menu from Feb 13 to 21. Call ahead to place orders.
|Genesis' Reunion Claypot
1 Lorong Telok (off Circular Road)
Hours: 8am to 8pm, Mondays to Thursdays; 8am to 3pm, Fridays and Sundays. Closed on Saturdays and public holidays
This health-food restaurant near Boat Quay also sells vegan cookies.
There's a choice of almond, lemon pumpkin flaxseed or cashew oat cookies, made with 100 per cent wholemeal flour ($15 a jar), and pineapple tarts ($22, advance orders only).
The cookies are sweetened with brown sugar and leavened with aluminium-free baking powder. No butter, margarine, eggs or milk is used.
Seasoned seaweed strips - baked, not fried - cost $12 a jar.
On the menu for the festive season is the Reunion Claypot, priced at $28 (for two persons). Ingredients include beancurd knots, stuffed bamboo pith, monkey head mushrooms, dumplings, broccoli and Chinese cabbage. It is served with fried organic brown rice accompanied by wild yam with dou miao (pea shoots) and tahini miso sauce, golden beancurd rolls, as well as a cold salad made of konnyaku (a low-calorie tuber).
There's also nian gao (the traditional sticky rice cake) in a savoury form, fried with vegetables and mushrooms ($4.90).
Order the yusheng in advance (this version uses organic cold-pressed flaxseed oil in the sauce). It's priced at $18 (for four persons) and $38 (for 10). Takeaways are available. Cookies are on sale until Feb 6 and the Chinese New Year dishes, until Feb 22.
Holistic Lifestyle Centre, Blk 106, Aljunied Crescent, #01-205
Tel: 6749-8509, www.kg-senang.org.sg
Hours: 11:30am to 2:30pm (lunch), 5pm to 7pm (dinner) for the steamboat reunion buffett. On till Feb 2
You can have a nourishing feast and contribute to a good cause at Kampung Senang Charity and Education Foundation.
The organisation has lined up a steamboat reunion buffet prepared at its eco-friendly kitchen. It's vegetarian and most of the ingredients used are organic.
For $20 per head ($10 for children under eight), you enjoy a steamboat with a choice of a spicy or a herbal soup stock, as well as a buffet spread of nine dishes.
The steamboat reunion buffet, which is served during lunch and dinner, is available until Feb 3. Bookings should be made three days in advance.
Kampung Senang also has takeaway yusheng comprising raw ingredients that are organic ($38), as well as cashew nuts ($15 a bottle) for sale.
In line with its stress on eco-harmony, Kampung Senang has also created two organic goods hampers with a difference.
One contains organic cookies and food items for a healthy kitchen. They include soya sauce, brown rice and cooking oil. The other contains cleaning aids that are free from phosphates and toxins, and other household products such as anti-mosquito herbal sprays that are safe for humans. The hampers cost $88 and $128 respectively.
28, Stanley Street, tel: 6220-4344
Hours: 11.30am to 7.30pm, Mondays to Fridays; 11.30am to 4pm on Saturdays.
Closed on Sundays and public holidays
Hearty claypot stews featuring a wide range of sumptuous ingredients are the season's highlight at this vegetarian cafe in the business district.
Ingredients, about 30 per cent of which comprise organic foodstuff, include mushrooms, soybean-based items, wild yam, seaweed and chewy konnyaku made to resemble abalone and squid.
The stews come in three sizes, ranging in price from $88 (for three persons) to $158 (for 10). The claypots come with handy baskets to facilitate takeaways (header image). Customers also get extra soup stock. Other festive delights include yusheng, with about 60 per cent of the ingredients being organic, and vegetarian rendang, made from soy protein.
The Chinese New Year dishes are available until Feb 15.
The cafe also offers pineapple tarts and almond cookies made from organic wholemeal flour and organic brown sugar, without eggs or milk, at $25 a canister.
144, Upper Bukit Timah Rd, #04-03, Beauty World Centre
Tel: 6468-4748, www.greenonearth.sg
Hours: 11am to 10pm daily. Closed Feb 7 and 8 for Chinese New Year. Order a day ahead for set menus
The cafe has pulled out the stops to devise a delectable Chinese New Year menu, to be offered until Feb 24.
Various set menus are available, costing up to $288 for 10 dishes for a table of 10 persons.
The items in the set menus can also be ordered individually.
Owner Doreen Wong took more than a month to concoct the menu. She suggests starting the meal with yusheng. The one served here incorporates a translucent, colourless seaweed that is crunchy. Sunflower seeds are used instead of peanuts.
Overall, the dishes differ in flavour and texture and are pleasing to the palate. They have auspicious names like Prosperity Combination (made with mushroom stalks, capsicum and carrots), Sweet Blessings (a dessert) and Bountiful Spicy Vegan's Catch.
The latter, a soy-based dish, is the only deep-fried item on the seasonal menu
Another auspicious dish, Golden Treasure, is made up of bai ling mushroom, expertly sliced in slivers which are wrapped over layers of stewed vegetables and mock ham. The mushroom resembles abalone, and is delicious. A sprinkling of wolfberries enhances the dish further.
Organic green tea buckwheat noodles and brown rice are also on the menu.