For healthy and affordable build-your-own bowls in the CBD, hit up Wafuken at either Asia Square Tower 2 or OUE Downtown Gallery. A plain donburi ($4) – choose between furikake Japanese brown rice or white rice – is served with onsen egg, daikon and cucumber pickles and you can choose to add on protein options like sous vide chicken breast ($4) to make a bowl that still comes in at under $10
Opened by health coach Elika Mather, Kitchen by Food Rebel aims to improve the wellbeing of diners through what they eat. Everything in this 40-seater café is made from scratch – including the sauces and salad dressings – and is free from preservatives. You can’t do wrong by ordering one of its signature Buddha bowls: the vegan sweet potato and chickpea one ($19) comes with beetroot hummus, quinoa, and a dollop of tofu and avocado that’s been blended together, finished with tahini dressing. Craving pasta but trying to curb your carbs? Opt for the zoodle bolognese ($18), raw zucchini noodles ladled with hearty meat sauce that’ll leave you satisfied but not stuffed.
By day, Plentyfull serves fresh food lined up in a buffet-style spread on a long counter for the white-collar crowd to build their own bowls. Come dinnertime, the fast-paced grab-and-go menu moves aside for à la carte offerings inspired by seasonal and quality produce from Plentyfull’s in-house farming collective Little Farms. Headed by chef Victor Loy, the restaurant features must-try dishes such as the plank of Thai chicken, pork jowl and lamb sausage ($52), pumpkin pillow gnocchi ($24), and Little Farms’ vegetable dip ($16) – best shared among a big group of friends.
Ninja Cut offers ten carb-free, protein-rich bowls that’ll fill you up without busting your daily calorie limit. Try What’s Your Beef ($18), a bowl of sliced Australian rib-eye slow-roasted with thyme, grilled corn, sautéed mushrooms, honey-glazed carrots, onsen egg, and golden garlic chips – come prepared, though, as only 30 servings are available each day. But if you’re someone who has a hard time resisting temptation, Ninja Cut might not be the place for you. It serves an extensive all-day brunch menu with more sinful dishes like The Cheeky Cheese ($18), which comes with tender, 24-hour-braised Japanese curry beef cheek and a grilled cheese made with buttery brioche slices. Consider yourself warned.
There may be no shortage of healthy restaurants in this city, but Singapore has nothing quite like this: a one-stop café, health shop and ‘lifestyle-improvement’ space (apparently that’s a thing) overseen by Balanced Living founder Dana Heather. You’ll be amazed by how extensive the menu is, proving that eating clean doesn’t need to be limiting. There are raw food entrées like zucchini pesto pasta ($14) and taco boats ($16) packed with guacamole, mango salsa and ‘meatballs’. You can even chow down on burgers and wholemeal pizza without the guilt – or hunger – pangs after. And don’t forget to pop by the retail space on the second floor to stock up on more healthy eating essentials.
Workspace Espresso stands out from the ‘build-it-yourself’ grain bowl crowd by offering dishes peppered with Middle Eastern flavours. For $13.80, you can select one base, one hot protein, three sides, two toppings and a dressing. Or, choose one of the pre-constructed Super Bowls like Blue Ocean ($15.80) or Pow Wow ($13.80). Blue Ocean comes with salmon, quinoa, grilled zucchini and guacamole while Pow Wow is a vegetarian mix of spiced falafel, hummus, wakame, wood-ear fungus and greens. Aside from grain bowls, Workspace also offers pita pockets, coffee and cakes so you’ll always have a pick-me-up for the rest of the day.
Haakon, pronounced ‘haw-coon’, is a Scandinavian-inspired café that brings superfoods from Norway to your plate. It only uses premium Norwegian smoked salmon – it’s rich in protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants – to make dishes like salad bowls ($11.90) and eggs Benedict ($15.90). For those with a sweet tooth, go for Haakon’s classic acai bowl (from $7.90), topped with coconut flakes, banana, strawberries and blueberries for a quick and guilt-free energy boost.
As the first restaurant to bring Hawaii’s answer to chirashi to our shores, Aloha Poké deserves a special mention in our books. Customise your poké bowl ($11.90-$19.90) with tuna, salmon, tofu or seasonal fish dressed in sauces like wasabi mayo and nutty sesame, atop your choice of carbs (white or brown rice) or salad. Add on edamame, beans, jalapenos, avocado and chia seeds ($0.50) to really pack in as much guilt-free snacking as possible. Aloha Poké’s health-centric mantra spills over to the beverage list as well: CocoLoco water ($5.90) is made from Thai coconuts, and Juix Up pressed juices ($5.90) only uses fresh fruit.
Finding wholesome food in the CBD isn’t difficult at all, but Grain Traders is holding on to a winning ticket built on tasty veggies, premium meats and a wealth of grain options. The high-ceilinged space bears the good looks of a sun-kissed Aussie café and Mexico-style washed pastels, cleverly worked into a chilled-out respite. Each bowl is priced at $16 and comes with your choice of grain, protein, hot vegetable, two cold vegetables, sauce and topping.
Japanese sets get a healthy makeover at Lean Bento, a small eatery offering bento boxes that include your choice of protein, complex carbohydrate, supplements and fresh greens from $11.95. Protein-rich picks include tempeh, chicken dressed with honey, mozzarella and teriyaki, and salmon seasoned with sea salt or honey miso. Lean Bento offers all-day brunch options like chicken breast crumble flatbread pizza ($10.95) and matcha oatmeal protein bowl ($3.95).
The Daily Cut is the meat lover’s answer to the ubiquitous salad bowl in the CBD. Owner Jonathan Yang caters to a #eatclean crowd with protein bowls priced from $12 packed with healthily grilled options like chicken thighs, sirloin steaks and veggie-friendly tofu that pair alongside other accompaniments like sous vide egg, brussel sprouts, avocado and edamame beans.