Posts Tagged ‘beetroot’

Interesting facts about Hotels in Scandinavia

Some interesting observations I made after having stayed at several hotels in Norway and Denmark for the last 1.5 weeks.

1. A lot of the hotels do not provide a kettle/jug for boiling water. If you are lucky, you will be given one upon request. My hotel in Copenhagen did not have a kettle for us. Luckily, the receptionist helped us fill up our thermos with hot water. Needless to say, there is no tea or coffee sachets in the room. However, 2 of our hotels so far have a complimentary tea and coffee service in the lobby bar. It’s nice to be able to sit at the lobby bar for a cuppa after a long blustery day of hard exploring.

2. The bathrooms seem to be designed in an odd way, of which I have yet to find a reason why. I have stayed in hotels in countries such as China, Singapore, New Zealand, the UK, and always, the shower area is either recessed or has a door to prevent the shower water from flowing to other parts of the toilet. Or you could be showering while standing in the bath tub with shower curtains. In my hotel in Copenhagen and Bergen, Norway, there isn’t such a thing! For the hotel in Copenhagen, the water drain is actually a distance a way so the shower water has to flow half way cross the bathroom! And for the hotel in Bergen, there is a floor to ceiling panel, but it covers only half the shower area! I find this design quite idiotic both for the hotel guests as well as the housekeeping staff who will have to mop up excess water on the toilet floor every day.

3. All my hotels so far have shower heads which can be extended and held in the hands if required. This is a useful thing to have, which most other hotels I have stayed at don’t provide.

4. It’s best to bring your own toiletries when staying in Scandinavia. So far, 2 out of 3 hotels did not provide any shampoo, even though the cost of the room is the same.

5. A lot of the hotels are old. The Hotel Opera in Copenhagen was built more than 100 years ago, so the room as well as the entire hotel itself looked very quaint. We enjoyed the fact that it was quaint, because to us it was a hotel with character. However, others may find it inconvenient that you have wooden floorboards that creak, lifts that take half a minute to get to the 2nd floor (and you have to open the door yourself), and metal keys that weigh a ton (instead of magnetic chip cards).

6. Almost all hotels I researched on for this trip provide buffet breakfast at no extra charge. The breakfast is pretty good. The number of hot dishes vary (mainly sausages, scrambled eggs, grilled tomatoes), but all hotels seem to at least have various kinds of breads with cheeses, sliced hams and cereal. I have read that some hotels even allow guests to pack the food for lunch as well. I saw a few people doing it, but I don’t know if they were doing it secretively. I do know our 1st hotel charged NOK 40 (S$10) for a self-made packed lunch. Even if you have to pay a little bit more for the buffet breakfast, it may be a good idea to do so because eating out in Norway in particular is very expensive. You will find that most sandwiches at cafes cost at least NOK 100.

7. Cereal seems to be a big thing in Scandinavia. The amount of cereal I have eaten for breakfast since coming here is probably equivalent to the amount I have eaten for this entire year. Okay I have not been a great cereal eater but this trip has changed me! I want to try to eat more cereal and oats for a healthier start to my day. And we’re talking about real cereal here, not the Kokocrunch or fruit loops type. Beetroot seems popular in Norway too. I have been stuffing myself with beetroot because it has a lot of vitamins and isn’t widely available in Singapore! It changes the colour of your pee, beware!

8. Hotel staff in Norway aren’t all that friendly. We encountered one lovely lady who took 5 minutes to explain to us what was available to do on the weekends. But most others give the impression that their job is to answer one question and one question only. If they were talking to their colleagues before you disturbed them, they would resume chatting after your 1st question was done. There would be no “is there anything else I can help you with sir/mdm”, which forces you to do some mental calculations on whether it is worth it to continue asking your 2nd question. The staff we encountered in Denmark were nice, but we did stay in only 1 hotel.

9. Most hotels are only 6 or 7 storeys high so there is actually no need to ask for a room on a high floor. The more important question would be to ask for a floor with the best view possible, and one that isn’t facing a noisy street.

I will have the opportunity to experience 2 more hotels in Norway. This list may be updated if my observations change.

Real Food at Central

I’m always on the look out for places which serve organic, healthy and delicious food and I was shocked to discover that one such place exists at The Central since last year! As you know, I used to work around that area and it would have been great if I could have had the opportunity to introduce this gem of a place to my meat loving and organic abhorring colleagues.

So I finally made it down to Real Food yesterday, with my parents and the Partner in tow. Real Food is fairly large for a cafe, and we managed to get seats without any problems. Aside from cooked meals, Real Food also has a small section featuring organic groceries, and books.

According to the Real Food website, all their meals, dressings and sauces are made from scratch using basic organic ingredients. Absolutely no artificially processed ingredients, preservatives, trans-fats and colouring is used. Most of the dishes are vegan, meaning they contain no animal products including milk or eggs. There are some egg dishes though, like the poached egg sourdough sandwich.

We skimmed through the menu. Everything sounded really delicious, and it was great to know that they would all be healthy and organic. My mother (a health fanatic) even exclaimed that for the 1st time, she could order anything she wanted without having to think twice about it’s nutritional value!

In the end, my father and the Partner settled for the fried rice, my mother took the stuffed salad while I ordered the dumpling noodles.

Real Food - Fried Brown Rice

Fried Rice $6.80 – Brown rice stir-fried with garlic (on request), pineapple, capsicum, French beans, carrots, mushrooms, black pepper and fresh corn. After trying the 3 main dishes we ordered, I found this to be the best tasting. Obviously one reason is that the rice is fried. But the great thing is that it doesn’t taste oily and heavy. On the contrary, the rice is very light but firm and hardly feels fried. There is a lot of crunch to it thanks to the diced vegetables. The dish feels substantial even though there is no meat at all. I loved this dish very much and I would most definitely order this again when I am back.

Real Food - Organic dumplings  with wholegrain ramen noodles

Dumpling Noodles Dry 8.80 – Special handmade dumplings, wholegrain ramen noodles with green leafy vegetables, cherry tomatoes, and a side of vegetable soup. The special dumplings are really delicious as they contain at least 10 ingredients in them including diced carrots, mushrooms and chestnuts. They were so nice, I wish there was more filling in the dumplings. The noodles I didn’t fancy so much. The texture was a little soggy. Hey and I just realised that I wasn’t given the soup!!!!

Real Food - Stuffed Veggie Salad

Real Food - Stuffed Veggie Salad (2)

Stuffed Veggie Salad 9.80 – Grilled organic capsicum, filled with a homemade patty made from grated beetroot and carrots, mashed potatoes, onions and fresh thyme. When the salad arrived, we were like, “oh my god, is that the salad we ordered? It’s huge!” According to the staff, all their salads here are very substantial. I loved the stuffing inside the capsicum. It has a very special taste which just had me craving for more. I wonder if they use this stuffing in their sandwiches as well, it would be worth a try. The rest of the salad was a bit more normal, with the stuffed capsicums being the stars of the dish.

Real Food - Slow Pressed Beetroot Carrot Juice and Carrot Ginger Pineapple Juice

Slow pressed juice – $4.60 The front one is beetroot carrot, while the back one is carrot, ginger, pineapple. Pretty affordable prices, considering that the juice is slow pressed, with no added ice or water. BTW, beetroot is really good for health and so delicious when combined with carrot juice or apple juice. I know those of you out there unaccustomed to drinking vegetable juice might think of beetroot juice as being totally repulsive. Trust me, it’s DELICIOUS! It’s sweet and refreshing and the juice doesn’t taste like it originated from a vegetable!

I’ve been thinking of getting a slow pressed juicer myself. I did some basic research and it seems you can get a single gear one for about $450. Double geared ones are better, but far more expensive, like maybe $1000? Conventional juicers, the ones that go at high speed and make a heck of a noise, they create so much heat they kill off the enzymes in the juice. That’s why its far better to get a slow/cold pressed juicer for the full health benefits.

I know I know, eating the fruit fresh is the best way to go. But let’s face it, I really don’t foresee myself munching carrots and beetroots the minute I hop out of bed in the morning. Down a cup of juice to get vital nutrients, I still can manage.

Real Food - Phoenix Organic Ginger Beer from New Zealand

Organic Gingeer Beer $4 – Made in New Zealand!

Real Food - Hazelnut, Mulberry and Vanilla Ice Cream made with rice milk

Vegan Ice Cream $4.50 for 3 scoops – Rice milk is used instead of milk. I tried the hazelnut flavoured one and it’s pretty good. The texture is practically the same as normal ice cream. Almost can’t tell that it’s not made from milk. The mulberry one has a texture and taste similar to that of frozen yoghurt. It’s the vanilla flavoured one that you can really tell that this isn’t real ice cream. The texture is somewhat rough and the vanilla almost tastes medicinal if you think hard about it. The girl manning the ice cream stand is very helpful. Ask her for free samples!

Real Food -Vegan Ice Cream

Real Food - Seating Area

Real Food - Seating Area (2)

On the whole, I think that the food here is very reasonably priced. Organic ingredients tend to be more expensive, yet the most of the main dishes only cost $6-$12. And despite the food being vegan, our dishes were tasty and satiated us. We will definitely return again. The groceries at the grocer section seemed over priced, so we didn’t buy anything. For example, the Fairtrade coffee costs about $9 at a normal supermarket but Real Food was selling it at $12. The little bookshop stocks books with a healthy mind healthy body theme, good for those who are searching for books on natural healing etc.

Real Food : Cafe, Grocer, Books

6 Eu Tong Sen Street

The Central #B1-52/53, Singapore 059817

T: +65 62244492

Mon-Sat 10am – 930pm

Sun & P/H 10am – 4pm

http://www.realfoodgrocer.com

http://realfoodgrocer.com/realfood_menu.pdf

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