Tag Archives: TCM

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

The evil brew I have to drink twice a day

This isn’t a food post per se.  I am down with my fourth cold this year.  And they have all been whoppers.  D jokes that if we lived in the wild, I would be picked off my predators as the weakling of the pack.  I’ve always been the sick kid from school days.  Someone sneezes, I catch a cold. I’m so tired that I don’t feel like eating anything and so blocked up that I can’t smell any food that I eat – shocking !

Living in Singapore, I have ready access to a multitude of Chinese herbal remedies – my supermarket has those packets of herbs that you are meant to boil with chicken for various ailments – improving immunity, improving circulation, recovering from illness – you name it.

I actually like the taste of these – it’s just like chicken stock, and I do make it relatively regularly, but here I am, blowing my nose again as I write this post.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the practice of various systems (herbs, acupuncture, massage therapy) for balancing the various functions of the body, based in the principles of yin and yang.  TCM practitioners believe that a healthy body has perfect balance of yin yang energy and it is the imbalance of these that causes ailments.

TCM professors train for years and years, usually in Mandarin, which has been an inhibitor for me going to seek their advice, because I speak barely conversational, let alone telling someone what’s wrong with me-type Mandarin.  I went to visit Dr Long Zhong – a TCM professor who has an interpretor in the room with you. After you tell the kind and wise-looking Doctor what’s wrong with you (via the interpretor), he feels your pulse, asks you more questions, and then prescribes a course of herbs.  What makes this place more awesome is the fact that they will boil the prescribed herbs (I was assured that all my prescription was vegetable-based only), vacuum pack single serves of the herbal drink for you, and deliver that to your house.

The prescribed herbs are precise – the ladies behind the counter weigh out the various ingredients on an electronic weighing scale (as opposed to traditional scales which I frequently see in other Chinese Herbal stores which probably are as accurate while looking soooo old skool cool), and they are boiled for a precise amount of time.  They have made the entire process so convenient for modern day living.  Perfect for me.

I’ve just had my first packet of herbal drink and it’s horribly bitter.  Chinese believe that anything bitter is good for you (bitter gourd is a perfect example of this) so this has to be very good for me, right ?  I have to drink two of these packets a day for six days.

Western medicine has so far not helped me in terms of improving my immunity.  Here’s hoping TCM will.  Stay tuned to the comments for updates.

Restaurant Ten

Herbal black chicken double boiled tonic soup

My parents have just spent a week in Malaysia and arrived for their last leg of their holiday last night with the request for dinner as “something simple please – we’ve overeaten this trip!”.  A bit of research and I found a restaurant near their hotel called Restaurant Ten.

Their site claims: “Our cuisine is modern Asian Chinese served on individual plating. Our desire is to serve every diner with nourishing and hearty wellness cuisine lightly infused with herbs or paired with aromatic condiments. The strong emphasis for balance and wellness is communicated within our restaurant name. “Ten” reveals the restaurant’s story concept of advocating ten core ingredients, which hold a permanent placement in the dining menu. The ten ingredients, otherwise known as the “Ten Nourishments”, are Sea Salt, Charcoal, Highland Tea, Wolfberry, Japanese Yamm Abalone, Sea Cucumber, Snow Pear, Blueberry and Pilose Antler.”

Crispy prawns on seaweed

Restaurant Ten’s menu was certainly different from the usual Chinese restaurant menu.  Lots of braised dishes and herbal soups and also, sadly, lots of sharks fin (which was not one of the ten ingredients but still featured highly on the menu).

Braised pork belly served with steamed buns

Anyway, we ordered the herbal black chicken double boiled tonic soup to start, followed by braised pork, served with buns, crispy duck (which we also found out came served in buns) and crispy prawns on seaweed.

The soup was delicious – a delicate consommé flavoured with the chicken meat and herbs like ginseng.  I could have had just that, with a bowl of rice for dinner, and was a lovely way to warm the stomach and start the meal.

The prawns came out nothing like I expected.  They reminded me more of wasabi prawns I am seeing more and more on menus.  Battered and deep fried and served on rectangles of nori seaweed, these were served with a sesame mayonnaise and a beetroot sauce – almost luminescently pink and incredibly tasty – hard to describe but think sweet beetroot-flavoured mayonnaise.  The batter was light and crispy and not overly seasoned, the prawns fresh and not bicarbonate-of soda-crunchy.

Crispy duck

The duck and pork were both also good but nothing spectacular and this post is loooong.  I’m not sure the deep-fried dishes we ordered were the most “healthy” but I loved the fact the food was not the usual overly seasoned/oily/MSG laden food you get in Chinese restaurants, and I think the food tasted so much better for it.

Restaurant Ten
7 Purvis Street #01-01
Tel: 6333 9901
Open daily: 12.00pm – 2.30pm, 6.00pm – 10.30pm

PS:  More research told me that this was a reincarnation of the old Metropole Restaurant at Clarke Quay, which closed down early 2010 due to the expiration of their lease.  I’d been there once and was charmed by the way that the food there drew its roots from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – balancing yin and yang, to the point where on some nights there would be a TCM doctor in the restaurant who would recommend dishes based on his prognosis of your health.