Sunday, March 14, 2021



Now that dine-in restrictions have been lifted, we can patronize our fave restaurants again while maintaining new norm SOPs. Since most of us are mindful about eating healthier these days, whatever effort we make counts: be it opting for keto-friendly meals, eating more greens or cutting down on sugar. Personally, I use these easy tips & tricks when dining out all the time for healthy yet tasty meals:

1.      Choose wisely. Be selective. Look for healthier options.

Regardless of whatever cuisine you choose, restaurants will always have healthy options available. Look for dishes with more vegetables, prepared with less oil, vegetarian or keto-friendly options.

For example, An Viet serves GỎI CUỐN – fresh spring rolls with tiger prawns (which can be vegetarian with the prawns omitted). Another favourite of mine is BIBIMBAP – Korean rice bowl ‘mixed’ with assorted sautéed and seasoned vegetables, meat, a sunny side egg, and gojuchang sauce from Daorae Korean BBQ.

2.      Drink lots of water. Eat your greens. Make smart swaps.

Drinking water before your meal helps to reduce your appetite and prevent overeating. Try lemon-infused water, freshly squeezed juices or unsweetened vegetable/fruit smoothie. Enjoy fizzy drinks? Kombucha or kefir is a good alternative to soft drinks.

Have salads to start with but go easy on the dressing. You can also make smart substitutions like ordering baked sweet potato wedges or hummus with vegetable crudites instead of French fries and deep-fried appetisers. Many restaurants such as myBurgerlab and An Viet are willing to replace their burger buns and rice or noodle servings with leafy greens, making their offerings keto-friendly.

3.      Fresh & natural is best. Good food takes time.

Use common sense when it comes to selecting your food choices. Fresh, natural food is best. Also, good food is worth waiting for so do allocate realistic waiting time for your food to be prepared and served.

Dislike raw salads? No matter. Nowadays organic food and vegetarian restos such as Simple Life and BMS Organics offer plenty of healthy choices to tempt you. An Viet even uses free-range chicken for its PHỞ GÀVietnamese rice noodle soup with chicken to amp up the goodness quotient. Even the homely Oriental Cravings resto at One Utama is particular about sourcing ingredients for their house specialities. Hence some of the specialities: POMELO SALAD and NYONYA SEAFOOD CURRY IN CLAYPOT are only served as and when the ingredients meet the owners’ exacting standards.

4.      Stay focused. Take it slow. 

Eating should be pleasurable. In these days of hyper-social connectivity when the phone cameras need to ‘eat’ first, make it a point to focus on what you’re eating and the sensorial pleasure it evokes. Eat slowly, savour every bite. Avoid rushing through your meal or from being too distracted as mindless eating will make you crave for food later.

A small portion of good food can be satisfying when you’re focused on the dining experience. Train and awaken your tastebuds to appreciate subtler nuances and various textures. Start by experimenting with An Viet’s VÁNG ĐẬU CUỘN CHAY Bean Curd Skin Rolled with Tofu in Mushroom Sauce (pix above). Although the different components look deceptively bland, learn to discern the delicate accents first before jazzing the serving up with fresh herbs or house sauces available.

5.      Eat, play, laugh. You are what you eat.

Instead of depriving yourself of certain food, choose to share a serving with someone or opt for a smaller portion. Alternatively, look for healthier options. For example, dessert lovers can enjoy An Viet’s LIME & LEMONGRASS SORBET as a cool treat to wrap up their meal. Most restaurants will have sorbets or yoghurt or you can settle for a smaller scoop of ice cream and take your time to enjoy every spoonful.

Stay active, laugh and live life to the fullest. Remember, the old adage you are what you eat holds true. Just remember these easy healthy and tasty dining out tips on your next outing in the city.


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