Are you being haunted by the perennial headline shouting ‘New Year, New You’, at you? Well, don’t panic, a fresh start doesn’t have to mean living on a single wilted lettuce leaf and spending endless hours within the four dull grey walls of your local gym. We love creating city food guides by hunting down the best health-conscious cafes around the world to help you stay on top of your goals at home and away. Our latest foodie guide features nutritious finds from one of our favourite Asian hubs, Singapore. So, if you’re planning a getaway to the Lion City this year, these are five healthy cafes in Singapore you must try on your next visit.
5 Must-Try Healthy Cafes in Singapore
Afterglow by Anglow ticks a whole load of buzzword boxes. Plant-based? Check. Farm-to-table? Check. Locally sourced ingredients? Check. Nestled along the once-dingy-now-hip Keong Saik Road in a cute and cosy setting, this health-conscious eatery serves up raw, vegan delights from breakfast to supper.
For us though, it’s all about lunch, and where better to start than the first item on the menu? Slow-cooked in a tangy Tom Yum broth, the Saigon Rolls come neatly rolled with avocado, beetroot and a smooth cashew nut cream. The Avocado Kimchi Rolls are well worth ordering too as the seven-day-aged homemade kimchi means the flavours really sing. Moving onto mains, we love the Zucchini Linguine with almond ‘cheese’ crumble and ‘meat’-balls made from walnuts and mushrooms. A close second is the black bean Cuban Burger packed into a brown rice ‘bun’ with cauliflower and purple coleslaw, which pairs well with the Drag-Pom Salad of dragonfruit, pomegranates, jicama, red cabbage and chopped macadamias, all mixed up with mesclun greens. Our favourite side dish by far, though, has to be the Lentil Flaxseed Nuggets with garlic cashew aioli.
You can’t leave without dessert, so finish up with the Chocolate Salted Caramel Fudge made from avocado, raw cacao, tahini and dates. If that wasn’t enough, this vegan deli also offers juice plans and food workshops, and even transforms into a trendy bar come nightfall.
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LongQing is one of only a few hot-pot places in Singapore that steer entirely clear of MSG; opting instead to slow-cook their broths in a variety of herbs, bones and other condiments for more than ten hours to ensure they pack a serious flavour and nutritious punch. Of all the soups they offer, their signature wild mushroom variety really takes the biscuit; with its fragrant aromas forming the perfect base for all the hot-pot ingredients that you’ll add in later. Take your taste buds on a trip around the world with your add-ins, which range from pork cabbage dumplings to US short rib to distinctly Singaporean options like homemade prawn paste with fresh prawns. Our menu recommendation? Go for the communal dining set that feeds 4-6 people. You’ll get two types of soup with all the best extras and a side of the quail eggs and crispy bean curd that are quite simply not to be missed.
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Scandinavia is well-known as one of the healthiest places in the world, so it makes sense that one of the city’s best cafes for balanced living hails from precisely there. It’s pronounced ‘haw-coon’ and is a fusion of Huggelig Scandinavian living and nourishing superfoods from Norway. Each of the four locations across the city (including on bustling Orchard Road and in the financial district’s One Raffles Place) is decorated in pale wood and glass, ensuring a chic but hospitable vibe.
Delicious, nourishing food made with natural ingredients is at their core, and they cater happily for all manner of dietary requirements including Paleo, gluten-free, low-carb, vegan and more. Debating what to order? You can’t really go wrong with anything on the menu, but if in doubt, we’d suggest going for the one of the Speciality Bowls. The Mentaiko Fish and Quinoa option with Mentaiko mayonnaise, charred broccoli and furikake is a particular highlight, as is the Haakon Bibimbap with curry yogurt cauliflower.
In true Scandinavian style, there’s also a selection of Smorrebrod (open-faced sandwiches) on offer, including a particularly meaty option of the Steak & Shrooms. Fancy a little breakfast or brunch? Nordic pancakes, buckwheat pancakes and Salmon Eggs Benny are available all day long.
An eatery with a health coach at the helm was always going to be good, and the team at Kitchen by Food Rebel definitely didn’t disappoint. Ideally located in the Singapore CBD, this warm and welcoming café offers eat-in, takeout and raw cooking classes so you can savour the taste of Rebel even once you’re home. If heading over on a weekday lunchtime, prepare for a bit of a queue as everyone pours out of their offices and into Rebel.
It’s the Buddha Bowls that have most people prepared to queue, like the hormone-free chicken with hummus and pumpkin or the vegan Sweet Potato & Chickpea option. Our favourites however are always the sustainably caught fillet of Barramundi with Sesame Asian Greens, or if visiting for brunch, the sweet potato ‘toast’ topped with avocado, tomato, poached eggs and Rendang sauce.
It’s not just the food that we love. Their super smoothies like the Acai Berry are a regular feature in our order, as is the Red Velvet Latte (with detoxifying beetroot and cinnamon) that tastes utterly indulgent. No matter what you order though, you can be confident that everything here is made from scratch and delivers some kind of benefit to your body. Yep, even the sweet treats.
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As one of the first plant-centric eateries to open in Singapore, The Living Café is on many a ‘top five’ list when it comes to healthy cafes Singapore style. The food here is pretty much as clean as you can get. As well as using only fresh organic ingredients with zero refined sugars, preservatives or artificial additives, the menu celebrates raw food (i.e. nothing heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit). But don’t think this kind of healthy combo means it’s bland. Boy do their creative chefs pack in a lot of flavour. In particular, the Kale, Pomegranate & Black Sesame Brown Rice Bowl and Taco Boat with raw walnut ‘meat’ and mango salsa. While it might not sound that exciting, the Strawberry, Basil & Goat’s Cheese on Sourdough Toast (drizzled with maple syrup and balsamic vinegar) is also well worth unbuttoning your jeans for, as are the Mocha Mint Squares for dessert. They taste so sinful that you’d never guess all the nutritious ingredients hidden within, and are sure to have you raving about them even as you are waddling home.
As for The Living Café’s décor, the abundance of natural light and greenery inside lends a certain zen-ness to the space and perfectly encapsulates their commitment to health, community and sustainability. Also on site is a health shop, grab-and-go deli and wellness centre that aims to educate and empower people about taking control of body and mind, making it the ultimate one-stop spot.
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Zoe Louise Cronk is a freelance writer and editor who left the corporate world behind to spend her days crafting ideas into articles and exploring new avenues of health and fitness.
When not writing or daydreaming, Zoe can be found planning the next tick off her travel bucket list.