Lor mee and laksa made healthier

The gravy of the lor mee (braised noodles in Hokkien) was almost black - darker than usual.

One would have expected its flavour to be stronger than usual.

But surprisingly, while the thick sauce was savoury, it was not overly salty or oily.

This could be because this lor mee, offered by Modern Cooked Food at Haig Road Market and Cooked Food Centre, is a healthier version whipped up with low-sodium salt and oil containing less saturated fat.

Consuming too much sodium has been linked to a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, which, in turn, increases the risk of heart disease and strokes.

When consumed, saturated fat is converted into low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or "bad" cholesterol, which is distributed through the blood to tissue to make hormones.

When in excess, it is deposited on artery walls, narrowing the arteries and raising a person's risk of developing heart disease and strokes.

The slices of roast pork in the $3 bowl of lor mee were mostly lean, but still moist, tender and tasty.

Fried wanton (meat dumplings) and bean sprouts added crunchiness, while slices of fish cake lent some softness.

The thick yellow noodles tasted like the typical type made from refined wheat.

But they were made from a mix of refined wheat flour and wholegrain flour, which was milled from whole grains.

Only the husks are peeled off from whole grains, so they contain more vitamins, minerals and fibre than refined grains.

A refined grain is the carbohydrate-rich endosperm left after the husk, the next layer of bran and and the germ (the embryo of the seed) have been removed.

As whole grains contain more fibre than refined ones, they take longer to be digested. This reduces a person's tendency to overeat and keeps his blood sugar level steady, which is beneficial to diabetics.

Eating whole grains has also been shown to reduce a person's risk of developing certain types of cancer and heart disease.

The same hawker stall also dishes up a healthier version of laksa with the less artery-clogging oil and the less pressure-pumping salt.

The $2.50 bowl of laksa is also cooked with more nutritious noodles - thick white vermicelli made from a mix of refined rice flour and brown rice flour, rather than the former alone. Brown rice is a type of whole grain.

The noodles were slightly firmer and chewier than the conventional thick vermicelli.

The strands, the soft fish cake slices and half a hard-boiled egg each acted as a canvas for the gravy.

The spongy tau pok (deep-fried soya bean curd sponge) soaked up the gravy, which was creamy, spicy and slightly oily.

Mr Tang Joo Chok, 59, who runs the stall, switched to the healthier ingredients after joining the Healthier Hawker Programme, launched at the food centre at Block 14, Haig Road, by the Health Promotion Board in April last year.

Business has since grown by about 10 per cent.

Mr Tang said: "The noodles, salt and oil taste about the same as the usual ones, so I decided to use them.

"The customers can accept them and also feel better after eating healthier food."

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