From our first Lululemon store to what seems like our millionth high-tech gym, China’s health craze has officially arrived in Beijing. It’s fitting, then, that the popular Shanghai-based food chain Sproutworks has finally made its way to the capital.
With all these health-conscious brands and restaurants around us, we can’t help but feel like Beijing is trying to tell us something. And so our quest to eat a healthy meal begins.
Sproutworks’ first Beijing location is tucked away in a corner of the new China World Mall, and it quite literally stands out as a beacon of health. With its brightly lit interior, decorative green plants and healthy motto – ‘To Provide Fast, Healthy, Wholesome & Delicious Food to the Nation’ – posted on the wall, we feel healthier just looking at it.
The restaurant, much like its motto, is simple. There’s no trendy dishware or black-tied waiters. Instead, the food is served buffet style on black plastic trays. We choose from a revolving menu of Chinese- and Western-inspired dishes, including soups (RMB25), salads (RMB30-50) and panini sandwiches (RMB45), as well as an extensive selection of hot and cold sides.
During our visit we opt for the “medium-sized” meal (four sides for RMB50). We choose white cannellini beans with mushrooms and vinaigrette, kale salad topped with quinoa, tofu braised in ginger chili paste, and cabbage slaw sprinkled with ramen and almonds. The ingredients are fresh, the flavor combinations intriguing and the portions so generous we can’t even finish what’s on our plate.
We walk away feeling not only satiated, but also good about ourselves. Perhaps there’s something to this whole healthy living thing after all – especially at this price.