When Mr. Jonathan Yang, 29, decided to open his health food restaurant The Daily Cut at One Raffles Place on Sunday, he was surprised at the quality of business.
About a hundred clients showed up this first Sunday, most of them for post-workout meals.
“I was expecting slow sales on Sunday because it is gross overkill to expect people in the central business district on this day,” he says.
The Daily Cut serves protein-centric salads or meat bowls, which diners can customize. They choose a protein like salmon or grilled steak, then add vegetables or complex carbohydrates like sweet potato and romaine lettuce.
Mr. Yang, who also owns the Muchachos burrito bar in Keong Saik Road, says he serves around 500 customers a day at the Daily Cut, which opened in July of last year.
This is a testament to the popularity of the Paleolithic or Paleo diet.
There are at least four places that offer diet-based or paleo-friendly meals.
Project Paleo at Phillip Street and Caveman Food at Square 2 in Novena follow the diet closely, while The Daily Cut and the Spinacas salad delivery service are paleo-friendly.
The Paleo Diet, also known as the Caveman Diet, advocates building up protein and avoiding carbohydrates. The diet consists of foods that followers believe cavemen ate during the Paleolithic era over two million years ago.
Popularized by American scientist Loren Cordain in the 2000s, the diet cuts out dairy products, whole grains, legumes, refined sugar, and processed foods. Instead, Paleo followers opt for grass-fed meats, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and nuts.
Most paleo-friendly restaurants have sprung up in the past seven months, attracting office workers and gym goers.
As Mr. Yang of The Daily Cut puts it: “Raffles Place is the ground zero for gyms, with up to 13 gyms from big chains and boutiques here, so the people who frequent this neighborhood are ‘hyper-educated’ about what to expect. is good for their body. “
He invested $ 300,000 to start the business and broke even in six months. A second outlet will open in March at the Galaxis Business Center in One-North, and it will offer more protein choices.
The activity of the Paleo project has been steadily increasing since its launch last July. It’s located in a cafe on Phillip Street and sells 70 meals a day, up from 20 when it first opened. Its co-owner, Ms. Joyce Goi, 30, hopes the regime will spread as Singaporeans become more literate.
She says, “Paleo culture is in its infancy here. Rice and noodles are too entrenched in food culture.”
Ms. Goi, who worked in the financial industry, invested around $ 100,000 in her first food business. She says paleo meals are expensive because of the ingredients used. For example, she uses grass-fed beef rib eye and olive oil.
She adds, “I’d rather pay less rent by opening in a cafe so I can funnel the savings into buying ingredients.”
One of the first players in the Paleo food scene is Mr. Michael Tan, 44, owner of Caveman Food at Square 2 in Novena. He serves around 100 meals a day and has seen his business grow 5% month over month since its inception in September 2013.
He hopes to set up a franchise this year with a central kitchen and a Paleo restaurant.
While nutritionists recognize that the Paleo diet emphasizes fresh produce, they caution against removing food groups, such as whole grains and dairy, as they are part of a diet. well balanced.
Ms. Vanessa McNamara of nutritional consultancy The Traveling Dietitian says, “Cutting back on carbohydrates can lead to lower energy levels, insufficient intake of certain essential vitamins and altered bowel habits due to a lack of dietary fiber. .
The Health Promotion Council recommends choosing a diet that can be sustained over the long term rather than opting for those that prioritize particular nutrients.
While he says that reduced calorie intake can help with weight loss, a spokesperson adds: “Any food, whether protein or carbohydrate, consumed in excess can be stored in the body under form of fat, which can lead to weight gain with insufficient physical activity. level. “
None of this prevents people from queuing for paleo or paleo meals. Sunday life! found that it’s not just gym goers who choose to eat this way.
A good number of customers, who are not on the paleo diet, say they want healthier alternatives to fried or processed foods.
Most of the people surveyed say they have lost weight and do not suffer from food “comas” after lazy meals.
Asset management analyst Joyce Tan, 30, who has been on the paleo diet for 1.5 years, is welcoming more paleo-friendly dining options.
“It’s nice not having to study the menu and ask questions about the ingredients used, and I can feel good about eating the food, although it can be quite expensive.”
Fund manager Jan De Bruijn, 47, lost 10 kg after following the paleo diet for seven months. He says, “I chose this diet because I don’t need to starve myself and I feel less drowsy after lunch.
He is 1.88 m tall and weighed 91 kg before going on a diet.
Recruitment consultant Daphne Quek, 25, says: “I prefer paleo meals because they fill me up more than regular salads.”
THE DAILY CUP
What: Owner Jonathan Yang, who works out at a gym four times a week, started The Daily Cut because he couldn’t find the right kind of food after his workouts.
He thought it was impractical to tell hawkers to keep the sauce and fries when ordering chicken chop from western food stalls, or to reduce the portion of rice when ordering rice from the chicken.
In its 42-seat restaurant, customers can customize a box of meat by choosing proteins such as 230g of citrus chicken thigh and 170g of sirloin steak in soy sauce, paired with complex carbohydrates such as potatoes. sweets and toppings including vacuum-packed eggs and sweets. But. Prices start at $ 12.
Or: 1 place of the draw, one place of the draw, B1-31
Open: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays (closed from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.); 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends
Info: Go to www.facebook.com/thedailycut.sg
MEN’S FOOD FROM THE CELLARS
What: Owner Michael Tan has been a peddler for over three decades, starting at the age of 13. He sold char kway teow, wonton noodles, and bak kut teh to hawker centers and food courts, but felt his business was going nowhere.
Then a health-conscious friend told him about the Paleo diet and he realized there was a demand for Paleo meals, given the growing trend towards healthy eating.
For four months, he researched the diet and lost 5 kg after following it.
Its 200 square foot takeout kiosk at Square 2 shopping center in Novena offers roast chicken in three flavors, including Moroccan (which is cooked with prunes and olives) and Italian (which is marinated in rosemary and thyme. ).
A set meal starts at $ 8.90 and includes a chicken drumstick and two sides, such as baked sweet potatoes and pumpkin.
Or: 10 Sinaran Road, B1-130, Square 2
Open: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday
Info: Call 9690-0822 or go to moderncave.ne
What: After designing houses for 10 years, architect Phyllis Chua turned to designing paleo-friendly salads and started a salad delivery service.
She couldn’t find high protein salads that kept her full, so she decided to open Spinacas in September 2013.
She offers seven types of salads, which feature meats such as pulled pork, which is slowly cooked in a cinnamon broth. Prices start at $ 9. Salads are prepared in a commercial kitchen at Pearl’s Hill Terrace.
Delivery times: 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. (noon) 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. (dinner), Monday to Friday, order one day in advance.
Info: Call 9770-7039 or go to www.spinacas.com
What: Former finance professional Joyce Goi was looking to lose the 20kg she gained during pregnancy in 2012, and her engineer husband, a weightlifter, introduced her to the Paleo diet. She lost all of her pregnancy weight and decided to stick with the diet.
Seeing a lack of paleo dining options near her former workplace in the central business district, she decided to quit her job in late 2013 and start a business.
At his coffee stand in Phillip Street near Raffles Place, customers choose a protein and two side dishes ($ 8). Main courses include 250g roast chicken flavored with oregano and cumin and 250g dory fillet flavored with thyme and sage. The sides feature mixed cauliflower sprinkled with carrots and sautéed vegetables.
Or: 15 Phillip Street, Marina Food House, stall 3
Open: From 8 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Closed on weekends
Info: Call 8692-8662 or go to www.projectpaleo.sg