By Hồ Hoàng - Last week, I forgot my packed lunch so my colleague Mark Jeffrey White invited me to try a new healthy restaurant on Nam Ngư Street in Hà Nội that serves 'naked' food and drinks.
At first, I was really surprised hearing the word 'naked' which sparked my curiosity, so I agreed with Mark’s suggestion.
Nam Ngư intersects Phan Bội Châu Street which is really near our office on Lý Thường Kiệt Street, so we decided to walk there. With beautiful streets, it seemed to be a decent choice for a pleasant lunch before the afternoon shift.
After a five-minute walk, we stopped at 55 Nam Ngư Street. It was kind of confusing for me at first as there was a nail shop occupying most of the front. But when Mark opened a glass door on the right with the logo “HEA”, I realised that this was the one.
It turned out the restaurant was located on the second floor. HEA welcomed us warmly with a large wooden tray placed neatly with various kinds of colorful vegetables right at the entrance.
“All of our vegetables are organic and imported directly from Đà Lạt for maximum quality”, said Đoàn Bảo Sơn, co-founder of HEA.
“I’m telling you this because our restaurant operates through trust and honesty, we are always very clear about the origin and quality of our products,” Sơn explained while picking up a few small tomatoes from the tray and offering them to us.
A combination of starter, main dish and dessert with corn, brown rice, salad, eggs, kale, cucumber, tomatoes and cabbage with honey mustard chicken and teriyaki sauce. Photo Hồ Hoàng
Diners enjoy healthy dishes at HEA. Photo Bùi Duy Anh
At first bite, the tomato juice exuded and slowly melted under the tongue, making us excited to start our meal right away.
Sơn was waiting for us at the counter where all of the ingredients were placed in order. There were two trays of bases: brown rice and salad, 14 trays of toppings including cucumbers, carrots, quail eggs and tofu. Finally, there were three trays of proteins which were pork char siu, honey mustard chicken and spicy chicken.
That was when I finally understood what 'naked' meant as all the vegetables were in their original forms with minimal processing, transported from farm to our plates.
While White ordered the “HEA Classic” set (VNĐ66,000) which features spicy chicken, corn, egg, tomato, spinach, cucumber, cabbage and Teriyaki sauce, I chose a “HEA You” set (VNĐ59,000) instead of “HEA Trial” (VNĐ46,000) because it included one base and five toppings instead of three plus one more protein.
Served up to me was half brown rice, half salad, mushrooms, carrots, eggs, apple with char siu pork and teriyaki sauce.
I noticed one topping was missing, so I looked at the menu again to check if there was something else to go for.
I opted for kale “+5k” (plus VNĐ5,000), and was amazed by his introduction about this vegetable known as the “Queen”.
“Kale is our signature vegetable. This is one of the most nutritious foods in the world. The nutritional content is very high, and it can supposedly help combat cancer and other dangerous diseases. Now HEA is using kale in salads, rice and drinks, especially the "Queen Kale” juice which I would highly recommend,” Sơn suggested.
A colourful set of lunch with fresh vegetable juices not only provide you with nutrients but also new sensations. Photo Hồ Hoàng
Without hesitation, I ordered one set of kale as the final topping and two cups of “Queen Kale” (VNĐ49,000) for us.
My first bite was a little bit of brown rice and a slice of pork char siu with kale. The crunchy, sweetness and grease of the brown rice combined with the saltiness of char siu and the freshness of the kale was like gathering every element of a traditional meal into one mouthful. What levelled the sensation was the teriyaki sauce: spicy, salty and flavourful.
Then the quail eggs with lettuce and apple brought a completely different experience as a dessert. It was weird at first but really tasty as the flavour of eggs blended with the lettuce and apple perfectly with a touch of mayonnaise.
Not to mention the carrots and mushrooms, with all the fresh vegetables delivering a balance of protein, base and sauce, it blew a fresh breeze over us that no air con could deliver.
The fun thing is you can design your own way of eating by mixing everything up and combining any ingredients you like. Together with a glass of “Queen Kale”, it delivered a wonderful healthy choice for your daily diet.
“HEA's meals are made according to the formula and calculations based on Harvard Medical University which rely on "balance" and "diversity". To be balanced, HEA's diet is based on the principle: 50 per cent vegetables – 25 per cent starch – 25 per cent (protein and fat). Customers can have a balanced meal to ensure the nutrients they need for their bodies.
"Diversity" here means a variety of nutrients, for example, fibre comes from different sources like kale, spinach, tomatoes, etc. In addition, it must be diverse in colour. A meal with more natural colours is better for the health,” Sơn said .
“Our desire is to bring healthy food to everyone with the best quality and price. People who eat scientifically are likely to have a healthy body and be in a good mood so the society can develop,” he added.
We were very satisfied with our lunch that day. It reminded me of so much knowledge that I had forgotten due to the working whirl. It reminded me of how important appetite and awareness of a healthy diet really are.
To enjoy this food, HEA is highly recommended. VNS
HEA – Naked Food and Drink Restaurant
Address: 55 Nam Ngư Street, Hà Nội
Open from 10:30am to 1:30pm
Comment: Nice place to enjoy healthy food with affordable price