Live conscious, eat healthy

During this 1.5 years of working at a fine wine/dine magazine when I’ve also started this food blog, this period of time is essentially when I’ve been eating most lavishly — in terms of amounts! A thought struck my mind recently, telling me that the only way to keep on eating nice things is by maintaining a healthy body; and rather than just following a stricter workout routine, why not simultaneously look for places that offer healthy food?

So just in time, my pair of twin sister friends gave a suggestion: MANA! Fast Slow Food. It set foot in Central since mid-2012 and it’s a shame that I’d always walked past it without realizing it’s something special.

Mana is an ancient word that carries the meaning of life-giving force, chi, sacred food, and the connection of minds and soul. Calling itself Fast Slow Food suggests that it’s offering quick, easy meals that are instead made with healthy, local and traditionally grown ingredients. Upon entering, you can either sit at the wall-mounted tables or walk your way up to the second floor to the communal table, where there’s no ceiling above your head so you can look at the sky and enjoy the fresh air when you eat. Food matching with ambiance, quite inspiring.

I’ve been there several times these two months and below are a list of food that I’ve tried:

MANA! Joy (Full: HK$75 / Half: HK$45) – I’ve always returned to this because it has my favourite ingredients — avocado, garlicnaise, tomatoes and mint — in a package 🙂 I feel good after each bite that is clean and fresh, and I think it’s my body thanking me for eating well. Like all the other flatbread choices, it is organic oven-baked flatbread topped with Za’atar.

MANA! Prana (Full: HK$85 / Half: HK$50) – with portebello mushrooms, slow-dried tomatoes, cucumber, fresh sprouts and mint. Needless to say, it’s a great option too that is more pungent due to the ingredients used. Prana in Hindi means “life-giving force”, similar to the name Mana itself.

Fries (HK$30) – handcut potatoes tossed in sea salt, a simple, comforting and fingerlickingly delicious snack. Though is a relatively not-so-healthy option, I still always order it as my little “side dish”. And of course, I always pick garlicnaise (Mmmmmmmm) over the ordinary ketchup.

Babylon Shake (HK$55) – this is one of, if not the most frequently-ordered drinks that incorporates bananas, fig, tahini, soy milk and cinnamon. It has a super thick texture that pleases your empty stomach in no time, perfect for those (like myself) who’s often bothered by the urge of snacking even after a normal-sized meal.

The only thing that I dislike about Babylon is the crazy amounts of cinnamon because I really don’t like cinnamon… MANA!‘s staff commented on my post on Instagram though that I should order Inka Shake next time 🙂

Burger (no photo, sorry) (HK$70) – it is haloumi cheese, tofu, roasted veggies, portebello mushrooms, pickled cucumber in a wholewheat bun. Tasting as robust and delectable as normal burgers with meat, but absolutely guilt-free.

In short, this place proves that healthy (vegetarian) food are not necessarily dull and boring. Treat yourself well, notice a difference — physically and spiritually.

MANA! Fast Slow Food
92 Wellington Street, Central, Hong Kong
tel. +852 28511611

– Judith


Cravings in Bangkok! (2)

Continuing with the previous post, below are more cravings Samantha and I had in Bangkok, back in mid-December 2013!

12 DECEMBER, 2013

Basically we gave ourselves a spa break for each of the day in Bangkok, but on the fourth day we’d decided to put it on the very top of our itinerary to kick start the beautiful day 🙂

Don’t panic yet, it’s still a food blog! The reason why I’m mentioning the Center Point Massage in Silom is the cup of Matoom Tea served before and after its heavenly, exceptional spa treatment; and of course, it also happens to be one of the must-goes on my list.

Matoom is essentially bael fruit, and this herbal tea is known for cleansing and keeping your digestive system healthy. What the staff do is as simple as bringing the dried pieces up to a boil and adding sugar to taste. But since I only found powdered ones in Big C Supermarket, that’s what I got for myself 🙂 and I’m excited that it tastes equally good!

Afterwards we had lunch at Samai Seik Chicken Rice. It is not heavily promoted, but a low-profile place along the street with an old facade that has it’s name written in Thai that made it difficult for non-locals like us to find.

I think it deserves to be known by more people as its Chicken Rice is actually also very yummy. Boneless, silky smooth chicken meat and yellow-tinged rice to be eaten with red chili sauce different from that in Kaiton Pathumwan (check my last post for more info). It’s hard to tell which one is more superior for they have given the same dish different personalities. But one thing that I’m sure to tell is, the soup here is a whole lot better.

Later of the day, we walked into the neighborhood of Thonglor to hit up the widely-discussed Water Library (Thonglor) on Sukhumvit 55, one of the streets in Bangkok that is highly concentrated with quality, decent bars and restaurants.

It is urban and stylish; walking into the bar area we’re greeted by Mirko Gardelliano the corporate mixologist, who showed us the outdoor terrace, private dining room and wine cellar.

At the main bar area is a shelf of homemade infusion of which its bartenders use to make the drinks. Mirko brought us two cocktail drinks: Gummy Bear and WOW… Guava!

There are a number of drinks under the Gummy Bear category and for this particular one, drink only the upper part, the gin infusion, because the bottom part in blue was liquid nitrogen that released fog for an exciting visual impact (sadly though, didn’t last long). Remember to squeeze the Gummy Bear pipettes onto the palate first to later give the whole drink a wake-up, while chewing gummy bears in between the sips add a whimsical touch to the taste. It’s in general refreshing, with hints of mango, passion fruit and citrus.

WOW… Guava! is a bittersweet infused gin, where a few good drops of homemade Aphrodisiac Bitter helped enhance the already rich fruity flavor to bring a remarkable after taste.

Mirko says a lot of people visit and return to Water Library for it is a place created for real, decent cocktail appreciation. This is my ideal kind of bars too.

Soon after we left, we headed down to the middle of the street for diVino Food & Bar, where its much cosy and down-to-earth setting welcomes everyone like old friends at Roberto Ferin, the Italian restaurateur’s home.

It is comprised of an outdoor terrace, a dining room made to resemble a stone wine cellar with vaulted ceiling (where we were seated) and an adjacent two-storey building named as diVino Deli Shop for casual dinners and takeaways. Roberto kindly served us with aperitivo, a glass of red and white each, a Mini Artichoke, Ham and Cheese Pizza and also its signature Fresh Tuna Salad.

Offering a wide selection of Italian wines (plus some choices from the New World), Indulging food, great ambience and fantastic hospitality, it well deserves the Reader’s Choice Award under the Best Wine Bars category in Bangkok’s Best Dining 2013.
*Read more about diVino Food & Wine in Spirito diVino Asia #8 February/March 2014 issue*

13 DECEMBER, 2013

If you already know me, you’d agree with me that the last day was just lovely and purrrrrrfect to me. We didn’t have a lot of time so Purr Cat Café Club in the serene neighbourhood of Thonglor was the only place we went before heading to the airport.

There were several steps to follow: took off our shoes outside at the garden, put on slippers, wash our hands, get them sanitized with rubbing alcohol and at last, read the “PURR-RULES” that include “play with them nicely” and “please do not hold cats” (*they fine 1,000 Baht for breaking the rules*). All these are to ensure a nice environment for the beautiful felines to thrive. We don’t just come and go, but be responsible 🙂

The café is divided into three main parts: the reception, the cat-free outer lounge and the inner one that I’d call the “cat paradise” for housing more than 20 cats, with walls painted in pristine white to feel clean and spacious.

My thoughtful friend ordered food from the cake counter while I was busying taking photos and having fun with the 20 something cats. And she’s indeed more than thoughtful as the waitress brought the food over to our table, there’s a slice of cake with HBD to… Judith 2013 written on the plate with melted chocolate!

I must apologize that for shifting focus to the cats (who wouldn’t?) and therefore cannot write much about the food. But from what I recall ever so slightly, Lasagne was not exactly a good choice, Hot Latte was nice and foamy while Strawberry Cake was just ok with too generous amounts of cream.

But anyway, I’m very sure to revisit in my every coming trip to Bangkok 🙂 It’s such a delight spending time with these fluffy animals — the lazy Persians, playful American Shorthairs, gentle (and gigantic) Maine Coon and more — CUTENESS OVERLOAD!!!

/ / / / /
Samai Seik Chicken Rice
209 Silom Road, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Sala Daeng / MRT-Si Lom)

Water Library Thonglor
The Grass, Thonglor Soi 12, Sukhumvit 55, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Thong Lor)
+66 2 714 9292

diVino Food & Wine
Penny’s Balcony, Thonglor Soi 16, Sukhumvit 55, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Thong Lor)
+66 2 714 8723

Purr Cat Café Club
Thonglor Soi 53, Sukhumvit, Bangkok, Thailand (BTS-Thong Lor)
+66 2 108 3604

– Judith

Good weekday brunch

Finally time to sit down and write 🙂

Continuing with the night I made the not-so-good-looking Green Tea & Black Sesame Cheesecake (read the previous post) thus delivering it to Ed’s door in the next morning, we went out for breakfast together. You might find me silly or irrational BUT I’m becoming 24 and probably won’t have such energy and audacity to do something like this in the future 😯

Ambience; Brunch Club & Supper

That was a rainy morning (actually it was raining all day long 🙄 ) and we walked into Brunch Club & Supper, a place with a warm, comfy and laid back setting. Several tables were occupied and everyone was enjoying and respecting the shared quietness.

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