(That Thing I Do)

No More Excuses For The Obese (The Salad Bar @ Damansara Uptown)

Once upon a time, there was a fat boy. His name was Marcky. Marcky always had a hard time trying to lose weight. He succeeded once, through many sacrifices and lots of hard work, but eventually, a busy professional life and a food-indulgent lifestyle weighed him down enough to allow obesity to gain ground on him once again.

While many obstacles lay between Marcky and his fitness goals, the one which is most obvious and unconstrained by his busy schedule is food. However, he finds that healthy food is either too bland, too expensive, or otherwise too inaccessible for regular consumption.

One day, Marcky stumbled upon The Salad Bar .

Marcky’s creation: Butterhead, romaine, grape, pumpkin, herb chicken, and sunflower seeds, with home-made citrus and poppy-seed yoghurt dressing

The first thing he noticed about The Salad Bar was the suspiciously low prices. Prices from as low as RM5.50 for half a make-your-own salad, and RM3.50 for a bowl of fresh home-made soup. No way something that cheap could be good. Surely, the food would either be in tiny servings or had lots of cheap fillers.

As Marcky would discover, none of his suspicions held true.

Vegetarian options available too.

Salads at The Salad Bar are made with fresh vegetables, in good variety. Five main leaves make up the core of their salads – butterhead, romaine, red oak, red coral, and iceberg – with with over 50 different types of fillers and toppings available, and a dozen unique home-made dressings – none of that thousand-island and mayonnaise bullshit. In fact, no mayonnaise or sugar is used at all, even salt is used sparingly (which you can add to your soups/salads yourself should you feel the need).

The Salad Bar’s rendition of the classic Caesar Salad uses olive oil as dressing, as opposed to the traditional dressing that’s high in bad fat. Definitely a much healthier choice, though Marcky found the taste to be too heavy with olive, credit to the use of olive oil and black olives; though this may actually appeal to people who really love olives. The herb chicken turns this “appetizer” into a complete meal on its own. Even half a salad (RM6.90 for all half-salads off the menu) is enough to fill the average eater to fullness and satisfaction. “Half” seems to be a very relative term at The Salad Bar, as even the half is bigger than full salads at most other restaurants.

Old Granny’s Caesar Salad: not as fattening at classic Caesar’s salad.

On days when Marcky doesn’t work out and doesn’t need a whole lot of protein, Marcky takes comfort in a light fruity salad which is rich in fibre and still has enough protein to meet his body’s needs. The Fruity Nuthouse is the perfect candidate. Loaded with sweetness from the grapes and substance from the various nuts, Marcky almost feels automatically lighter and healthier after eating this delightful salad.

High-energy Superman: fuel for champions.

After a hard workout, Marcky needs plenty of nutrients and protein for recovery and metabolism. That’s when Marcky loves a heavy salad, and he would often opt for a full serving (RM11.90, very large portion, order with extreme caution). Loaded with prunes, pumpkin, corn flakes, herb chicken and plenty of greens, the High-energy Superman leaves Marcky feeling like the champion that he is.

Soups: freshly made with fresh ingredients.

In order to keep prices low and soups fresh, The Salad Bar serves only one type of soup per day, rotated daily between broccoli, mushroom, cauliflower, sweet corn, carrot, and pumpkin. Soups taste very fresh, reasonably rich, but not creamy (presumably from not using unhealthy cream). With a dash of salt and a generous dose of crushed black pepper, the soups make a great addition to any salad, minus the hidden fat. Honest soup. That’s something Marcky greatly appreciates, in contrast to the fat-bowls at most other restaurants masquerading as “healthy options”. The croutons that come with the soup (and salad) are the only bits of sin you will find at The Salad Bar, but Marcky finds them too good to resist – not obviously oily, and very well herbed, with strong hints of rosemary that just begs to be indulged.

Fresh juice: the way juice should always be.

All juices at The Salad Bar are freshly squeezed, without addition of water and sugar – the way juices are meant to be. Marcky refuses to have it any other way, no matter where he has his juice. This usually means he has to pay a premium for the good stuff, but at The Salar Bar, juices start at a nominal RM4.50 (cheaper with sets).

Dessert: not always sinful.

Though the focus of The Salad Bar is (quite obviously) salads, the yoghurt is the star that manages to shine on its own. Freshly made every week, the yoghurt may be more expensive than the rubbish we get at the supermarket, but RM4 gets a pretty decent portion, with honey and a choice of topping, Marcky finds himself unable to resist dessert. And he shouldn’t need to. It’s a healthy and filling choice.

Sometimes, on non-workout days, Marcky would order a full salad (which mere mortals often find too large to consume in a single sitting), a bowl of soup (that’s just as surprisingly huge for the low price of RM3.50) for lunch, and take away a cup of yoghurt for dinner – and somehow find himself without a craving or pinch of hunger all day long, for under RM20.

Marcky no longer has any reason to not eat healthily every single day.

Just in case Marcky gets bored of salads, The Salar Bar also serves a limited variety of sandwiches and pastas, which seem tempting enough, though Marcky will try his best to stick with the salads.

The best part is that Marcky doesn’t feel like he’s forcing himself to diet. Oh, no! In fact, Marcky prefers to have a salad at least once everyday. The Salad Bar has turned expensive diet food into very affordable food that Marcky can’t resist.

Now Marcky no longer has an excuse to remain obese.

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