What do you eat when Melbourne turns on consecutive days of 30+ temperatures and it’s too hot to cook?

Other than icecream, how about trying out some raw food?

Raw food is a lifestyle promoting the consumption of uncooked, unprocessed, and often organic foods as a large percentage of the diet. We’re not just talking endless variations on salad – raw foodies do inventive things with a  blender, food processor, juicer, and dehydrator, often to produce dishes which mimic cooked food.

Yong Green Food is one of the few restaurants in Melbourne which serve raw food but their menu does extend to vegan/vegetarian food if you’re in the mood for something warm. Our party of three decided to stick to the raw food options for the novelty factor.

First up we each ordered freshly ground almond milk sweetened with agave syrup. For some reason the prices of the juices and smoothies are set high at the $8 mark (ie almost the same price as a meal) whereas the almond milk was a reasonable $5. It was delicious served over ice, very creamy and obviously ground from nuts as the texture had slight grittiness to it.

From the dozen or so raw food options, we shared the mock salmon roe, nachos and rawsagne. My favourite was the nachos which was effectively chip-and-dip. Except the chips were dehydrated slices made from chai seeds, capsicum, carrot, onion and garlic which were crispy and not crunchy like a traditional corn chip. The chips were served with three colourful dips – cashew cream, guacamole and sunfried seeds. We had to order more chips with the dip as it was so good.

Next favourite was the rawsagne ($14.95). Maybe it’s just because I love saying the word ‘rawsagne’. No, really, this was a sort of like a solid frittata of layered zucchini with mushrooms, onion, cashew cream and raw tomato sauce. The tomato sauce gave it a bit of zing whereas the cashew cream (my now favourite raw food ingredient) did a good approximation of creamy bechamel.

Less successful (though A loved it) was the raw sushi ($8.95) which was very pretty to look at but I felt was just mushed up vegetables/seeds made into shapes.

After our mains I was quite surprised to find that I was very full. Really, we could have done without dessert but who could resist the sound of raw pecan pie and green tea raw cheesecake spiked with red goji berries (they offer other flavours as well) ($7.50 each).

I can’t say that I was blown away by the desserts. I liked the fluffy texture of the pecan pie but preferred the flavour of the raw cheesecake. In case you’re wondering how you make a cheesecake without baking it, the ingredients were listed as cashew, coconut oil, agave, almonds, sunflower seeds, sultanas, dates and coconut.

Now for a bizarre side effect. All of us got very, very, very sleepy during our meal. Not in a post-prandial ‘I just had a huge dinner and am now ready to sleep’ way but as if we all suffered from severe narcolepsy. I could barely string two words together and could have put my head on the table and gone to sleep inside the restaurant. I have no idea why this happened but I’m assuming maybe some of the ingredients, or the way my body was processing the raw food, triggered the sleep response. Can anyone help me here? It was very curious.

I very much enjoyed the creativity of the raw food at Yong Green Food and it was great to think that everything was super-healthy. Even the apneotic effects of the food could be a bonus if you have trouble sleeping! My only gripe is that the service was really haphazard – they were very busy and seemed to only have one waitress who kept forgetting to bring us water or remove our empty dishes. She was very friendly though so I guess it’s forgiveable – though I was unbelievably parched throughout my meal.

For more reviews of Yong Green Food, check out I’m so hungreeee, Where’s the Beef? and Vegan About Town.

  • Yong Green Food, 421 Brunswick St, Fitzroy +61 3 9417 3338

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