Onaka – The Practice of Conscious Eating
Many of us have this misconception that healthy food means tasteless food. Well, it is not exactly true if you know how to do it right. A while ago, I was supposed to meet dear Michelle for some Thai lunch, but on the very day, I happened to hear about Onaka and its Healthy Conscious Eating concept and decided to try it.
Onaka is an acronym for Optimum Nutrition And Kitchen Arts. Interestingly, it also means “stomach” in Japanese. By incorporating “East-meets-West Healing Kitchen”, they aim to promote the concept of “Food is a better Medicine” by providing nutritionally balanced and delicious wholesome food in the world that has gone artificial and highly processed.
In this restaurant, they only use wholesome and selective organic ingredients without artificial addictives, chemicals, coloruings, flavourings, MSG, preservatives and trans-fats. About 50% of the menu is vegetarian with special focus on Low Glycemic and Gluten free options. They only use whole grains and adopt a “No White Bread, No White Rice and No White Sugar” policy.
When I read about the terms in the menu like “organic”, “whole grains”, “gluten free” etc, it kinda frightens me still because I don’t know how flavourful my food will turn out. Futhermore, extra virgin oil, coconut oil, grape-seed oil, rice bran oil, peanut oil, palm oil and butter are used in moderation. Unhealthy trans-fats are avoided. But when Chilli Crab Cake ($24) came, my worries dissipated and was pleasantly surprised.
These pretty crab cakes are wrapped around the lemongrass skewers and grilled to a lovely brown shade. Homemade chilli crab sauce do not taste very similar to the usual ones as they are sweeter which some crab meat. Organic rice cubes are served as a side and it is just like the Ketupat we had with the satay. Except that organic rice is used here, hence it is rougher.
Healthier cooking methods such as baking, boiling, dehydrating, grilling, sauteing, stir-frying, steaming, steam-frying and sous vide are designed to enhance flavours. No deep fried food are served.
Modernist Chicken Curry ($25) uses sous vide corn-fed, free range, antibiotic and hormone free yellow chicken that is cooked in south east asian curry and paired with airy sweet potato and almonds okra. The sous vide chicken retains the original flavour of the meat while the curry is very tasty. Having an airy sweet potato feels weird initially but it complemented well with the chicken and curry.
By the way, NO pork and lard is served in this restaurant.
Unrefined organic sugar, unrefined brown sugar and palm sugar are used for cooking. Xylitol and agave nectar are occasionally used for desserts and special diets.
The joy of eating does not rely solely on food. It is the company, the sharing of food and the camaraderie that matters the most. Michelle and I shared Banana Pastillas ($10) which is cinnamon roasted bananas wrapped in phyllo pastry and served with berries, maple syrup, walnuts, banana and cardamon ice cream.
The curry sauce is addicitive so I ordered a bowl of Organic brown rice ($3) to share. It comes with lemongrass, kaffir lime and sesame. I ended the meal with a super healthy cup of Organic ABC ($7) which has apple, beet, carrot and calamansi in it. It is rich in antioxidant and an excellet stress buster.
It was quite an enjoyable meal at Onaka and I would love to go back to try more dishes. If you are here, try practising the art of conscious eating:
– Be aware of every bit and sip. Savour small bites and chew well.
– Appreciate the sensory delights of eating.
– Food is a gift from the universe. We shall eat with gratitude so as to be worthy of receiving it.
– Eat in balance and moderation and avoid over eating and wastage.
– Eat a plant-based diet for our health and for the planet.
Address: PSA Building, 460 Alexandra Road #01-32
Tel: 6270 2012
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 11am – 11pm; Saturday – Sunday 10am – 10pm