I love discovering healthier eating options around Singapore other than salad and the typical local food fare. There’s only so much mixed veg rice you can eat before you get sick of it!
Dosirak at China Square Central is one of those places. I visisted them using a Groupon voucher a few months back, and again recently for a second food tasting! Their quality standards are consistently high. Think of their bowls as a customisable bibimbap that you can shake in a box.
Every Dosirak bowl comes with one base (standard is Korean premium white rice), 5 veggie sides and 1 protein. They are generally well-balanced meals with carbs, vegetables and proteins, mostly in the right portions (importantly, with veggies taking dominance!). I personally spoke to the chef at the outlet to find out what was added to each of the sides.
All the vegetables are blanched lightly for a few seconds in boiling water first, to retain the nutrients and a crisp texture. The ingredients are seasoned with minimal flavourings, such as vinegar, sesame oil, chilli flakes, garlic, gojuchang sauce, and a small pinch of sugar, soy sauce and/or salt for some vegetables.
I could taste the ingredients were very fresh. Also, the chef added the seasonings quite lightly, designed to bring out the natural flavours of the food. I asked the chef the proportion of the sugar added to the black beans, lotus root, pumpkin, and sweet potato and confirmed it’s very minimal. There’s around 0.5g sugar for each portion (that’s about 1/10 of a teaspoon).
Smoked Duck Dosirak ($9.90 + $1 cold noodles)
This came with cabbage, shiitake, sweet corn, carrots and onions. We enjoyed it with a cold noodle base (soba noodles mixed with a light sauce of garlic, sesame oil, sugar and soy sauce. The smoked duck breast tasted nice, and it was incredibly difficult to leave the skin behind (although best for our hearts’ health to do so!)! It came with a yuzu dressing sauce which provided a zingy contrast to the ‘fattiness’ of the duck. All the ingredients worked in harmony together to create a very moreish fusion meal!
Crab & Fish Roe ($13.90 + $3 cauliflower rice + $3 avo)
Accompanied with beansprouts, grated carrots, onion (which I swapped to shiitake), cabbage, yellow radish, avocado and a base of cauliflower rice. So cauliflower rice is basically just blanched cauliflower grated up, nothing else. As pure as it gets! I’ve always loved the concept of replacing some of the carbs in a meal with a similar-tasting veggie instead. Cauliflower rice is an exemplar of that. The Japanese-inspired fish roe and yellow radish pickle lends this bowl a satisfying sushi-like savoury taste and didn’t require any extra seasoning from the secret sauce. It’s great that real crabmeat was used, not fake crabstick processed stuff!
How to Choose the Healthiest Meal at Dosirak:
- Healthy Proteins
Soy sesame chicken, spicy chicken, pumpkin tofu, avocado sweet potato, kim chi tofu and crab & fish roe are great selections for you! These are all low-fat proteins (other than sweet potato + avocado which is just a veggie burst! that’s fine too). The chef cooks all the meats in sous-vide for 2-3 hours. Sous-vide is a great low-fat cooking method that retains natural juiciness and flavours. Dosirak uses skinless chicken breast. It’s quite thoughtful that Dosirak also separates the omelette into one that contains egg yolks/only egg white to cater for those who want only one or another.
The other options are still okay once in a while but ideally not daily choices. Beef bulgolgi is a great source of iron like all red meats. But red meats are generally higher in saturated fat compared to other animal proteins. Smoked duck is a processed meat and still has the skin on, so while delicious, is best enjoyed just sometimes. Similarly, oily fish like the cured salmon and seared tuna (both cured in salt), provides heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. But due to the curing part, they may be something you could enjoy just once in a while.
- Healthy Base
I’d recommend you to top up the $1-3 for replacing the standard white rice with healthier bases (soba noodles/brown rice/red cabbage/cauliflower rice).
- Go Easy on the Sauce
Try add less or refrain from the “secret sauce” (gochujang sauce) which is given separately from the box. You can just pour in a tiny bit or skip it altogether to enjoy the natural flavours of the ingredients. This helps cut down your salt and sugar intake! But I do have to admit it’s hard to completely skip the delicious sauce. Pear extract, apple vinegar cider, sugar, soy sauce and other secret ingredients makes up this yummy secret sauce. Although apple cider vinegar can be a healthy ingredient, as with all sauces with sugar and salty ingredients added, moderation is key!
This is an insider tip and not so much for healthiness but mainly for your enjoyment. You can actually customise your veggie sides to your preference. For example, if you’d like to cut down your sodium and skip the kimchi, swap it with another vegetable like spinach. There are plenty of healthy vegetables available, including pickled radish, spicy radish, sweet corn, white/red cabbage, taugeh, spinach, grated carrots, onions, lotus root, shiitake mushrooms, cucumber, tomatoes, and black beans.
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Address: 18 Cross Street, #01-02 China Square Central, Singapore 048423
Tel: +65 6536 6034
Opening Hours: Weekdays 11am to 5pm.