If the age-old adage of “you’re what you eat” is true, I am happy to binge on chocolate, spice and all things nice for the rest of my life—weight and waist be damned. Yet, as a fully-functioning adult accountable for my own health, appearance and energy levels, some days call for some really healthy eating for a reboot of the body.
Thankfully, there be a crop of salad bars within the CBD, all fuelled by our obsession to be (occasionally) healthy. Here’s a list of Tanjong Pagar salad shops, ranked from economical to pricey-insta-bait.
Staring at all these price premium price points in the CBD, It’s hard to imagine having your salad and eating it too. However, at this homey spot at Tanjong Pagar exchange, you can leave with your wallets unscathed. Load up on your crunchy greens at Crunch Salad, and by George, it’s a veritable list, from sweet potatoes to capsicum. For indulgence, go for a feta cheese as your one protein, then top it off with aloe vera and raisins. Crunch Salad literally works round the clock (9.30pm-8pm) for your fill of a frills-free tummy filler. An extra ($3) will get you either a latte or a cappuccino, although with this meal, there’ll be no need for caffeine fix.
Tanjong Pagar Xchange, 120 Maxwell Rd., #B1-14.
Like many salad bars, this one allows highly customised bowls although service is usually brisk, and expect it to be as no-frills as it gets. Another thing you can expect however, is good food. A single salad ($5.80) gets you some carbs, five toppings, a choice of dressing and sprinkling of a herb. Swap the salad for a wholemeal wrap if you’re craving a more bound-salad feel, and you’ll be pleased to find out that the wrap packs a compact punch because contents have not been tossed. Need a spice kick? Liberally sprinkle on any of their free-flowing bottles of herbs on the side. Some CBD-ers may find their company on Happy Tummy’s list for a 10% corp discount.
One Raffles Place, 1 Raffles Pl., #B1-11.
Wafuken is a chic concept, with essentialist, pared down furniture. Here you get to build your bowl, with sous vide (vacuum-sealed) protein that doesn’t lose its nutrition during the cooking process. Proteins range from ($4) for a half chicken breast at 125g, or the same amount for 5 pieces of prawns; to ($18) for a seared cod fish sprinkled with kombu kelp. Have an appetite of a lion? Get the oyster steak ($8 for a half portion), ($14 for a full steak of 180g). Sides are all ($2) each; so definitely get your serving of Japanese pumpkin and herbed quinoa. Although simple, expect the fare to be well-seasoned and flavourful.
Asia Square Tower 2, 12 Marina View #02-05.
Clearly, not all salads are made equal. At Salads and Wraps, get your salad in a wholewheat wrap, complete with solid servings and funky dressings. Each salad wrap is ($8) and the upsized version is ($10), although we’re guessing that you wouldn’t need to, because the normal sized one is hefty enough. The best thing? Faddish dressings with compelling names, that range from “Yogurt Green Goddess” to “Yuzu Wasabi”. You get a menu of eleven options, and that’s more than two working week’s worth of meals. Showing some love to their customers, Salads and Wraps allow you to call in before 11am (peak lunch hour) to order and collect for whenever you’re ready.
ICON Village, 12 Gopeng St, #01-86.
If you value variety, then the long-standing Salad Shop is your best bet. In the recent months since they revamped and rolled out a new menu—and done some portion control—the options are endless and seem to cover all bases. Choose from “base feeds”, “cold feeds”, “warm feeds” and “protein feeds”. Poached ingredients are no longer available however, and all feeds have been sauced up, making your potential bowl more a flavourful treat. For cold feeds, hit the beetroot hummus; for warm, get the roasted zucchini or the baked south African okra. There be no dirty bulking because proteins are fairly healthy, and include..the home-made vegan pattie for vegetarians, tried-and-true flamed-torched sous vide flank and more. The Salad shop also offers($0.50) off any sized bowls if you BYOBowl.
79 Anson Rd, #01-03.
The Daily Cut sees a long queue daily and for good reason. With a new winter menu, it’s almost an artisanal salad place, like Autobus of OUE, but less funky. Think topping choices like sliced almonds; toasted coconuts and spicy chili crisps. Thoughtful curated dressings like rosemary-infused olive oil and proteins like honey-lemon tilapia and the Montreal skirt steak (+$1) complete the menu. But do pad your bowls with supplements, with the likes of blistered cherry tomatoes; the omnipresent pumpkin or even falafel. Most ingredients are well-executed, but curiously, proteins can be a little tougher on bad days because they’re pre-cooked, mostly pan fried and probably continues to cook on the stove. Remember to also muscle your way into getting more sauce if a couple drizzles does not a salad make.
If you have an unlimited budget and stomach for all things healthy, this is practically an all you can eat buffet.
One Raffles Place, #B1-31.
Some of us may balk at spending an upwards of $10 for a salad bowl, yet we’re forgetting what it means to buy into a lifestyle. And yes, with elevated drinks like “oat milk latte”, this definitely skews towards lifestyle than pragmatic. At WDSB, a vegan restaurant, fresh spins on bowls will see pink dragon fruit rice as a staple (Dragon Bowl) and pumpkin and promegranate as accompaniments; a ($10.50) Buddha Bowl built with chickpeas, black beans and edamame, mushrooms and more. Overall, WDSB seems to be fixated on the idea that you leave feeling healthy, satiated and suitably bowled over.
Possibly not what you’re on this post for, but we still want you to know that the WDSB serves a mean mango colada waffles, a fab chai latte crumble and vegan-appropos ice cream. Some bowls are “almost too pretty to eat”, so maybe we’re just ordering for the gram.
And surely, any place that serves warm rice with salad, deserves three thumbs up from us?
282 South Bridge Rd.
AutoBus bowls do not come cheap, but the OUE locale somewhat makes the price points more palatable. ($11) for the slightest serving will get you a choice of a base, a protein, two sides, a dressing and a topping. Hot favourites include garlic butter broccoli and purple sweet potato, whilst choice proteins are char siew and bake dory. The dressings have deceptively simple titles but add punch to the bowls. A personal favourite is the roasted sesame dressing but the basil pesto is also a hot fave. The sauces most def skew toward the sweeter side.
Long-time fans will be dismayed to know that Brussels sprouts are no longer on the menu.
Downtown Gallery, 6A Shenton Way, #01-01.
A case of lost and found, Grain Traders has found a new home after its closure in 100AM. Let’s hope this one’s more permanent. Although the protein choices seem to have been pared back after the move, sides remain lit enough for tourist and insta-touting millenials to go googoogaagaa. Think extravagant “house-made pineapple kimchi” for a side; roasted sweet potatoes with miso and maple butter for vegs and beetroot feta yogurt for your dressing. The lump sum ($16) removes any elements of surprise at the counter; but the visually pleasing bowls, are also eyewateringly expensive. Granted, they are hefty—bring a friend along to share—servings solid, and the shop isn’t skinty on premium ingredients. But if I were a penny-pinching, debt-ridden millenial contributing to the expense at home, this wouldn’t be top of my list.
Thankfully, I am none of that, so off to Grain Traders I go (like the rest of us).
CapitaGreen, 138 Market St., #01-01/02/03.