The extent of my raw food vocabulary runs from apples, bananas to carrot sticks, and I never experienced eating an entirely raw food meal until I went to RawVolution—Cheloy’s Living Food Cuisine. This unassuming restaurant mainly caters to the health conscious ones, as it only serves raw food and vegetarian dishes.
Before then, the only kind of raw food I would eat is fresh fruits and green salads. I never imagined that a whole meal could be constructed out of purely raw ingredients, and I’m not just referring to the usual leafy greens. RawVolution helped me open my mind to this new kind of food preparation. Can you picture a Pad Thai dish made completely out of raw ingredients? Or an uncooked flat bread pizza with green olive tapenade and hummus? I didn’t think it would be possible either, but Cheloy Ignacio, the vegan raw food chef and owner of RawVolution, proved otherwise.
I found out from her that the importance of raw food is that its live enzymes are intact, which allows it to keep its nutritional benefits and keep you healthy. And when these are organically grown, then you will be consuming food that is free from toxins and other harmful chemicals. I didn’t need any more hard sell after that. She had me at ‘organic’—I would try anything that is not only good for my health, but the environment as well.
The Green Meal
RawVolution’s menu has a wide selection of fresh juices, smoothies, shakes, and even cocktails sans the alcohol. Although the pinya colada and mangarita sound tempting, I opted for the green smoothie (P90 / 12 oz), which also piqued my curiosity. In turns out that this particular drink is composed of green leafy vegetables like malunggay, saluyot, and talbos ng kamote. Surprisingly, it doesn’t taste so ‘green’ because you will get more of the sweet flavor of banana. What made it even more a delight to drink was that it was mixed with some almond milk, which made the beverage smooth and creamy.
For starters, I suggest the Asian sushi rolls (P240), which really seem like the real thing. Except when you look closely, you won’t see any grains of white rice and salmon or tuna, but rather different kinds of fresh vegetables in its place. Or you can also try the mock salmon paté on romaine lettuce (P140). Make sure though that you still have room for the main course.
Asian sushi rolls
Mock salmon paté on romaine lettuce
I was undecided on what to order as my entrée so I asked the waiter for their specialties and bestsellers. He told me that the Pad Thai is a must-try, as well as the Fettuccini Alfredo, and the Portobello mushroom steak with rosemary and garlic mashed potato (P580). I opted for the latter as it sounded so delectable to my ears.
While waiting for my Portobello steak to arrive, I stood up my seat and went over to the restaurant’s counter where they have a display of organic items for sale—ranging from foodstuff to household items. I spied some packs of rice, wheatgrass powdered drinks, toothpaste, and all things organic. On the countertop, I found some flyers that discuss the chef’s raw food lifestyle and advocacy. Chef Cheloy happens to be a health coach too, who holds classes on raw food preparation in the same restaurant during weekends.
Portobello mushroom steak with rosemary and garlic mashed potato
When my food was finally served, I was impressed by how appetizing the plate looks like. The Portobello mushroom practically covered the whole plate, and it actually looked like some piece of meat with its charred color. On the bottom of the mushroom is a bed of diced tomatoes, white onions, and avocados that were mixed with some kind of tangy dressing. On one end of the plate is a dollop of yellow mashed potatoes with sprinkled black sesame seeds on top, and on its side is a selection of colorful fruit and vegetable sauces. I honestly couldn’t identify which is which, but I can tell you that my favorite was the green one because I suspect it had a hint of garlic in it. The other two sauces were just too sweet for my taste.
The Raw Truth
Here’s one useful tip when you plan to go raw: have a different mindset. Of course raw food isn’t cooked so you shouldn’t expect it to be served hot off the stove. It might appear the same as the regular cooked food, but its texture and taste are not. My palate was taken aback with the coldness of the mushroom at my first bite, but I got used to it after a while. With this dish, I recommend that you dip the mushroom in one of the sauces, and follow it with the diced veggies after each bite. Mixing the elements together will create a flavorful explosion in your mouth.
For the less adventurous foodie, you could opt to get one of the more affordable vegetarian dishes like the pancit bihon (P120), in which the noodles are entirely made out of vegetables. The vegetarian meals are cooked so there wouldn’t be much change in your eating experience compared to when consuming raw food.
For me, though, the meal was very filling so I wasn’t able to get some dessert anymore. Yes, the restaurant also offers raw desserts and sweets. I vow to go back there soon and order some soft-serve banana ice cream in vanilla flavor. I can’t wait until my next raw food experience!