Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Kampung Senang Eco-Friendly Kitchen

{Note: I would like to thank living-vegan and Sunny for bringing this place to my attention in their blogs.}

Eco-friendly Kitchen is one of the projects by Kampung Senang, a registered charity in Singapore. With a humble beginning as a day-care activity centre for the elderly in 1999, Kampung Senang is the brainchild of Ms Joyce Lye. Its story can be summed up as a high flyer whom, after reaching the pinnacle of her career (Ms Lye was the General manager of HSBC, Asia), decided to contribute back to the society (Setting up an organization to promote holistic wellness and inner peace.). Most of the time, the turning point was triggered by an event (2 of our Deputy Prime Ministers were diagnosed with cancer during the 90s). Although there are several similar stories, each one is inspirational in its own right.



Kampung Senang is a place which practises what it preaches. The workshops it organizes do not just educate its participants about health related issues. During lunch breaks, the participants are provided with organic vegetarian meals prepared in-house. I believe Eco-friendly kitchen was set up to serve this purpose initially. Later on, the homely cafe is opened to the public so as to create more awareness in this area. Being a non-profit organization, the food is prepared by volunteers. "Payment" is collected in the form of donations, hence no change is given. To prevent cheapskates like myself from abusing the system, a minimum amount is set. On the day I went, it was S$6.00 per meal.

Speaking of the meals, choices are limited to whatever they cook for that day. From this fact, I infer that the menu itself is not fixed. Anyway, I was given a choice of brown rice set or noodles set. Not one to follow the default arrangement, I tried to bend the rules a little by asking for half a serving each of brown rice and noodles. They allowed it. Cool!

The Food



Over-generalization is not my intention, but my experience thus far with organic eateries is that they tend to be stingy with the portion size. Do they think that all their patrons are on a weight loss mission? Therefore I was pleasantly surprised when my plate was heaped with abundant amount of food. Just the quantity alone already made me feel I had received the value I had paid for.

The fragrance of Chinese roasted sesame oil dominated the flavor of this set meal. It also explained the aroma that greeted me when I first entered Eco-friendly Kitchen. I especially liked how the oil greatly enhanced the the taste of the blanched vegetables. Being a mediocre cook myself, I often bluff my way through with a few sprinkles of Chinese sesame oil. That's not to say the volunteers here were as amateurish as me. In the hands of a good chef, this oil can do wonders.

Another thing to note was that the salad contained no dressing at all. Since there was plenty of cooked foods around, such as the tofu, shimeji mushroom and snow peas, condiments or sauces were unnecessary in my opinion. Besides, it was nice and healthy to appreciate the natural sweetness of the raw julienned carrots and beetroots once in a while.

On the whole, this was a meal relying on basic seasonings like salt to bring out the flavor of the food, which was very much like homecooking. Apart from the noodles that was a little too oily for my liking, I was pretty much left satiated after this meal.

Conclusion

The payment by donation system of Eco-friendly Kitchen reminds me of 5 Sights Hall. To further amplify the deja vu feeling, I only had large notes on that day. Thankfully, they had a corner retailing organic groceries, where I could buy something to get small changes. On a more postive note, both places share similarities like serving good food from their hearts and generous portion size. It's a shame that they only operate from 12pm to 2pm. It's also a shame that my post barely scratches the surface of Kampung Senang, which has much more to offer. If you are interested, do visit their website to find out more.

Address:Blk 106 Aljunied Crescent #01-205 S(380106)
Opening Hours:Mon - Sat, 12.00 pm - 2.00 pm
Bus Service:-
MRT Station:Aljunied
Website:http://www.kg-senang.org.sg

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