Cha-soba… What more do you need, really.
Ever since my Europe trip (I say “Europe” but in reality, it’s really just Paris and Amsterdam), I’ve come back with a view to eating clean, mostly. Sure, I do lapse back to a good ole’ fried chicken like Jollibee’s once in a while, but full-blown hawker favorites like Char Kway Teow – that’s completely off the menu. But eating clean and eating cheap in this gastronomic haven that is Singapore isn’t as straightforward or convenient as one might think. It takes a bit of work, and willingness to venture beyond the neighborhood to find it. Fortunately for me, my gym locations are mostly in town, which opens a whole pletheora of options.
Wheat Bamkuchen was one of those places that seemed to subscribed to my new mantra of thought, and being located in Toa Payoh, seemed convenient enough to entice me over last week… Y’know, I get really annoyed when a fairly respectable site like HungryGoWhere, one of the definitive sites for food in Singapore, is not up-to-date. Take out of your listings if the restaurant’s not there anymore. There’s really no point keeping the site alive – everybody in the food scene knows that the victors are those that are still open, not those that were once famous; a tragedy if the opened were once better than they are. Wheat Bamkuchen had moved to Raffles Place, specifically, Asia Square’s Food Garden, arguably the only district in Singapore where people truly appreciate health conscious dishes, and can put their money where their mouth is. When the opportunity afforded me a trip downtown – actually, I purposely chose to gym in Raffles Place so I could have lunch here – I seized it.
Although the Bamkuchen, the German layered cake from whence the shop took its name from birthed its initial popularity, it is the restaurant’s cool noodles that charted the former bakery’s new direction: healthy savories with a distinctive Japanese inspiration. Today, the menu at Wheat
Bamkuchen embodies all of the life giving properties of Japanese cuisine. Today, the menu at “Wheat” embodies all of the life giving properties that makes Japanese cuisine one of the most revered, including soba, tuna, quail eggs, Japanese cucumbers among other produce that’s good for the body. Beyond the cold noodles, there are brown rice dishes as well as the ubiquitous athletic sustenance, salads. In an effort to inject a little virility to it all, the mains are creatively, although not always appropriately, named. Looking at the soba menu, the “Penguin” is a shredded chicken soba, the “Reindeer” is a vegetarian soba while “Salmon” and “Tuna” are exactly what they are… talk about inconsistency of this creative subversion. Either way, there is nary a hint of the Bamkuchen, but nobody really seems to be missing those.
I ordered the Penguin, which is cha-soba mixed with shredded chicken, eggs, salad, laced with sesame sauce, and comes with either a choice of ice lemon tea or water chestnut juice. I loved it. There’s a certain physicality in the satisfaction – you’re refreshed, you don’t get the after meal fatigue precisely because you don’t have the preservatives, starch or MSG to overwhelm you. And that, to me, is what food’s all about, don’t you think? To recharge, revive without all the terms and conditions to pull you back.