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Feb 3, 2012 12:10 AM

Need something cheap, green and healthy to break up the greasy hawker food in Singapore

hey all,

Going on a several-day hawker food bonanza in Singapore and really looking forward to it. However, I am one of those people who goes crazy if I can't eat something green, healthy and palate-cleansing every day. Is there a dish or dishes in some of these hawker centers that would fall into this category, as I'd still like to be adventurous with my veggies? Or will I just have to find somewhere in one of the malls to get a spinach salad?


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  1. Singaporean hawker food tend to be carb- and grease-heavy, with lots of stir-frying involved, and looking for something "healthy" in a local food centre can be something of a challenge. "Healthy" vegetable-dominated options at a food centre can include:
    - Popiah, a local spring roll which consists of cooked, shredded turnips/jicama, lettuce leaf, peanuts, tofu. Look for the non-deep fried variety.
    - Yong Tau Fu, a soup-based dish which consisted of tofu, fishball, and various poached vegetables like water-spinach, Chinese kale, and various types of fish-paste-stuffed vegetables like aubergine, okra, chiles & shitake mushrooms.
    - Rojak - a selection of fresh fruits/vegies like cucumber, turnips, rose apple (jambu), pineapple, all smothered in a thick "rojak" sauce which consisted of molasses, fish paste, crushed ground nuts, etc. - an acquired taste, but worth trying.
    - you can also approach any of the "Cooked Food" rice stalls and select vegetable options from there, though many may be grease-laden.

    3 Replies
    1. re: klyeoh

      And lots of ' Bo Lay' Chinese tea!!

      1. re: klyeoh

        i don't think rojak can be classified under "green, healthy and palate-cleansing". haha.

        yong tau foo is a good suggestion though! i think that's probably the healthiest thing one can order at a hawker centre...

        1. re: klyeoh

          "- you can also approach any of the "Cooked Food" rice stalls and select vegetable options from there, though many may be grease-laden."
          One ought to be able to ask them to whip up a batch of simple stir-fried veggies (even bean sprouts and scallions w/ ginger) IF they had sufficient veggies* to last them the night AND they were willing, no?

          Or how about a bowl of wonton soup with a bunchful of choy sum or whatever they had, again IF they had sufficient veggies* and they were willing...of course one would pay them for it...?

          * It used to be, in my experience, that hawker stalls usually "brought along" with them a limited amount of fresh veggies and doled it out according to what they had planned as the allocation for each dish portion.....

        2. Thunder Tea Rice! A bit of an acquired taste but it is deliciously nutty; chock-full of rice, herbs, nuts and tea leaves with a tasty broth on the side. They have branches in Lau Pa Sat, Toa Payoh, Vivo City and Suntec, which you may come across in your travels.

          Even though hawkers do cook some vegetable dishes, many use a lot of oil, and palm oil at that, so it's hardly going to be the green pick-me-up you were expecting. Thunder Tea Rice is, AFAIK, one of the few genuine local "health foods" available.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Julian Teoh

            I personally "don't" think ang-mohs (foreigners) can take to Lei Cha's grassy-green taste :D I gagged the first time I tried it, too!
            But you're right, it's very healthy!

            1. re: Julian Teoh

              just had thunder tea rice today at a vegetarian eatery (ci yan organic vegetarian health food, along smith street in chinatown), and i thought of this topic! hehe.

              granted, it's not in a food centre, but the food here is delicious, and definitely suitable for someone in search of respite from all the grease-laden hawker food.