Life

Forget acai, here are Asia’s lesser-known superfoods

Jujube dates are commonly used in TCM
Shin Min Daily News
It doesn’t matter if you’re a health nut or not - by now, you should have heard about the rise of the superfoods, which are nutrient-dense foods that can help boost energy, prevent disease and delay ageing. While superfoods are not new to the human diet, their benefits have never been more expounded until recent years. You’re probably already aware of the most popular superfoods such as kale, blueberries, chia seeds and acai berries. But did you know that superfoods have long been used in Chinese medicine to promote health and fight illness? We spoke to Eu Yan Sang certified TCM herbalist, Francis Liaw, about four superfoods of the East and how you should add them to your diet. 1) Black wolfberry Like its orange-red cousin, the black Chinese wolfberry or black goji is one of the most antioxidant-rich fruits around, and contains 18 times the antioxidant effects of blueberries. Mr Liaw says of the fruit: “It contains more beta-carotene, a type of antioxidant, than carrots, which may have cancer-fighting effects”. The black wolfberry is slightly more bitter than red gojis, but is high in procyanidins, which give it a dark purple color. Some studies have found that procyanidin provides up to 20 times more antioxidant activity than vitamin C and around 50 times more than vitamin E. Throughout history, TCM practitioners have used wolfberries as a supplement for liver, kidney, blood and eye health. If you feel age is catching up with you, Mr Liaw says the black goji can also alleviate eyesight deterioration, dizziness or giddiness, backache and knee weakness. How to eat it: Black wolfberries can be eaten dried, but are also used in a wide array of Chinese dishes. When cooking, you may add them to meat and vegetable dishes, Chinese porridge, soups, and teas - particularly Chrysanthemum brewed with honeysuckle and rock sugar. TCM health supplement provider Eu Yan Sang sells bottled black gojis ($88 for a set of 2) which can be eaten as a snack or steeped in warm water as a drink. 2) Momordica fruit Extremely sweet and low-glycemic, the momordica fruit or luo han guo makes a great sugar alternative in Chinese medicine. Not only is its extract 150 times sweeter than sucrose, it also contains zero calories, zero carbohydrates, zero sodium, and zero fat. You will find luo han guo a common “cooling” ingredient in Chinese medicine used to treat coughs, sore throats and constipation. How to eat it: The momordica fruit can be boiled with soup, desserts and herbs such as red dates to make tea. You can also buy it in liquid concentrate or in crystal and powder form to replace sugar in food and drinks. 3) Schisandra berry Schisandra berries are also called wu wei zi meaning five-flavour seeds in Mandarin, because they posses five basic flavours - sour, bitter, sweet, salty and pungent spiciness. According to Mr Liaw, five-flavour seeds are beneficial for the heart, liver, spleen, lung, and kidney. “It can strengthen the body’s immune system and nourish the lung to ease coughs and shortness of breath,” he says. “In TCM, it is commonly used to treat night sweats, chronic diarrhea, frequent urination and urinary incontinence because it tonifies the kidney and promotes the secretion of body fluid.” How to eat it: Known for its medicinal taste, five-flavour seeds should not be eaten raw but can be cooked or simmered as tea or soup. The berries will need to be soaked in water overnight, then strained and simmered in hot water for 15 minutes. Honey and lemon may be added to the tea to make it more enjoyable. 4) Jujube berries Red dates are a common ingredient in Chinese cuisine, but do you know why? Also called the jujube berry, red dates have calming qualities which are beneficial for people who suffer from insomnia. “It strengthens the liver and kidney and tranquilises the mind by nourishing the heart, helping to reduce anxiety,” Mr Liaw explains. Being high in vitamin C (80 times more than grapes) also makes red dates extremely nutritional and great for youthful looking skin. How to eat it: Naturally sweet, jujube berries are used in Chinese desserts and to make jujube tea. You can also use jujube berries in place of apples, raisins or dates when cooking. Jujube berry crumble, anyone?

Vegetarians, here’s what you can order at hawker centres – we even worked out 3 meal options for you

There's always something for everyone at the hawker centre.
The Straits Times
As a country that boasts eating as a national pastime, it's no secret that Singaporeans are big foodies who are always on the lookout for interesting twists of our local dishes. That being said, we're still basic at heart and often go back our hawker classics because they're a quick, affordable and fuss-free dining option. But to the uninitiated or someone with a dietary restriction, the cornucopia that's our hawker centre can prove inundating, and this isn't helped by the maze-like placement of food stalls. So if you're a vegetarian who always find yourself lost in the midst of the sprawling food centre, here's a helpful list of 15 options you can have. We've even broken it down to specific meals so you can plan your day better. Now go forth and explore. Breakfast 1. Chee Cheong Fun A light but flavourful dish for breakfast, these innocuous white rice flour rolls are dusted with sesame seeds. Its name means "pig intestines noodles" when translated to Mandarin but don't panic -  there's no meat in the plain ones (pictured below). There are versions with prawn or barbecued pork rolled inside so take note to only ask for the plain ones.
The Straits Times
2. You Tiao and Tau Huay combo Some say that you tiao (Fried dough fritters made of flour) and tau huay (soybean pudding with sugar syrup) make the perfect breakfast pairing. In fact, a local musician has even made a song comparing the compatibility of a pair of lovers to that of these two food items. It's a no-brainer.
The New Paper
3. Chai Tow Kway (Locally known as 'carrot cake') Somewhere in time, the name of this dish was lost in translation, because it contains no carrots and definitely does isn't a cake. It's actually stir-fried "radish-cake" cubes tossed with eggs and preserved radish commonly available in the black and white (sans sweet dark sauce) versions - opt for a mix of both if you're the adventurous kind.
The New Paper
4. Chwee Kueh  A common breakfast item that's usually sold out by lunch if it's bought from a popular stall. These white basin-shaped steamed rice cakes are a mixture of rice flour and water and topped with diced preserved radish.
The New Paper
5. Vegetarian Bee Hoon Also known as 'Zhai Mi Fen' in Mandarin, plates with a mountain of these stir-fried vermicelli noodles rarely cost more than $3 and are available from vegetarian stalls where other side dishes sold are also meatless.
The Straits Times
Lunch 1. Roti Prata Commonly found at Indian-Muslim food stalls, roti prata, which is essentially fried flatbread, is best enjoyed when you peeled with fingers and dipped in curry gravy or sugar. Take note to ask for Dhal curry which is made up of lentils, tomatoes, chillies and other assorted spices, otherwise the seller automatically serves it with fish or chicken curry.
The Straits Times
2. Thosai Often lauded as the healthier cousin of roti prata, thosai is similar to a sour pancake made of fermented batter accompanied by various dipping sauces like coconut chutney and Dhal. The seller might sometimes provide fish or chicken curry as a third dip so if you want to keep it fully vegetarian, make sure to ask what kinds of dip are offered.
The New Paper
3. Gado-gado (A salad that means 'mix-mix' in Indonesian) A dish that's becoming harder to find in hawker centres, gado-gado is an Indonesian-style salad typically made with fried tofu, bean sprouts, hard-boiled eggs and vegetables, tossed with a spicy peanut sauce and topped with crispy tapioca crackers.
The New Paper
Dinner  1. Nasi Padang (Literally means 'field rice' in Malay) With a wide variety of delicious Malay-style side dishes, deciding what to eat may cause anxiety for some patrons but sellers are usually nice enough to provide recommendations. Some popular options for vegetarians include sambal goreng-tahu tempe (spicy stir-fried long beans with deep-fried bean curd and fermented soy bean cake), curry vegetables and begedil (deep-fried potato patty with spices). You don't want to miss this.
The Straits Times
2. Longtong Sayur Lodeh  A assortment of curry vegetables, ketupat (steamed rice cakes), hard-boiled eggs and vermicelli, longtong sayur lodeh is a Malay dish that's popular among those who prefer curries that are not so spicy.
The New Paper
3. Nasi Goreng or Mee Goreng  Consisting of rice (nasi) or yellow noodles (mee) that's stir-fried with garlic, onions, vegetable and eggs in a medley of various sauces, this dish can be served meatless but you will need to let the seller know when ordering. For some reason, it's also commonly served with a side of cucumber slices and a splash of tomato ketchup.
The New Paper
Dessert or snacks 1. Rojak ('Mixture' in colloquial Malay) The quintessential Singaporean dish, rojak is a salad of mixed vegetables, fruits and you tiao (fried dough fritters) covered in sticky black sauce and garnished with chopped peanuts. A mix of sweet and savoury to test your tastebuds, this uniquely Singaporean salad is often ordered as a snack during the long hours of the afternoon, or even as an appetiser before dinner dishes are served.
The New Paper
2. Ice Kachang ('Iced bean' in Malay) A colourful mountain of shaved ice drizzled with sweet syrup mixed with different food colourings, the "bean" part of its name comes the lower layers of red beans, jelly, sweet corn and attap chee (palm seeds). Other wacky variants of this dessert include those drizzled with durian (pictured below) or mango sauce.
The Straits Times
3. Mee Chiang Kueh ('Peanut pancake' in Hokkien) An old-school snack that's made by pouring batter on a flat griddle to make a large pancake, this item is typically available with other fillings like red bean paste and grated coconut. Modern versions include cheese and chocolate but the original peanut filling is usually the most popular.
The Straits Times
You need to know this: Yong Tau Foo If you've been ordering yong tau foo from these stalls with open-air glass displays filled with an assortment of vegetables and tofu pieces, you might want to ask what kind of broth they're cooking it in. That's because Chinese-style soups are often cooked with animal bones like chicken or pork, when they're making the stock. Big tip: Never assume and always ask first, because the vendors are often more than willing to offer a helping hand.
The Straits Times

G-Shock released a limited edition watch for NS50, but you’ll be hard-pressed trying to get one

CASIO G-SHOCK's Facebook page
Yet another brand has jumped on the NS50 bandwagon. This time, it's Casio's G-Shock with its popular GX-56BB watch sporting an army-inspired design. Officially released at nine G-Factory outlets across Singapore on Friday morning, the watch features the classic GX-56BB face with a "pixelised camouflage print" strap. NS50 is the term used to refer to Singapore's 50th year of National Service. Casio announced the release of the limited edition watch on its Facebook page on Thursday morning, but did not say how much it would cost or how many pieces were produced. A staff at the G-Factory Premium store in Marina Bay Sands told Business Insider the watch went on sale at 10am at a retail price of $269. And they are selling out fast. When we called the G-Factory Premium store at around 3:20pm, we were told that there were "very few" pieces left. Around the same time, the store at Ion Orchard had already run out of the NS50 watch completely, while the Bugis branch only had one left. Good news for Casio, but many G-Shock fans are probably going to be disappointed. By 5pm, Business Insider counted 14 opportunistic sellers who had put up the watch for re-sale on online marketplace Carousell with asking prices ranging from $280 to $2,699.99. [caption id="attachment_359982" align="alignnone" width="959"] Screengrab showing G-Shock's limited edition NS50 watch listed on Carousell[/caption] Tough luck.

Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington’s widow released a touching statement: ‘We had a fairytale life’

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We visited the regional chain that Southerners say is better than In-N-Out and Shake Shack — here’s the verdict

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Meet the richest man in fashion, who made $19 billion in the last year alone

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How much work it will take to digitally remove Henry Cavill’s mustache for ‘Justice League,’ according to visual effects artists

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