Touting themselves as the place for ang moh chap chye peng (economy rice), Grain Traders has set the bar high for grain bowl concepts with their first outlet at the Capitagreen building. Think large, light-filled spaces that are roomy enough to give every diner his or her personal room, while still keeping lunch catch-ups cosy and intimate. And the food looks like it’s right out of a Kinfolk spread: Everything is fresh, vibrant, healthful and appetite-rousing.
You can go the DIY route just like you would at a chap chye peng. For $16, you get to pick one grain, one protein, one hot veg, two cold veggies, one topping, and one sauce; better yet, pay $2 more for a drink and a snack.
Under the Grains segment, there’s bulghur wheat, quinoa, brown rice, soba, Japanese rice and a mix of greens. And their options for proteins is simply mouth-watering: sous-vide and char-grilled salmon, slow-roasted pork, and vegetarian-friendly lentil patty just to name a few. The charred furikake corn is wicked, and we’re also really partial to the tangy apple kimchi and their mixed bean pico de gallo. Then you have toppings like furikake, toasted crushed rice, crispy garlic and shallots; and lip-smacking sauces such as beetroot-feta-yogurt, miso caramel, coconut curry, and tamarind chipotle vinaigrette.
But to be honest, the wide selection and the I-want-everything syndrome often leaves us gobsmacked and staggering under the weight of decision-making. We find it much easier to leave the task of flavour combination magic to the experts and trust in their Hero Bowls. There are six of these signature bowls on the regular menu, and occasionally one or two more specials.
Our top vote goes to Upstream ($16): gorgeous, char-grilled salmon with a perfect pink, zingy pickled cucumbers, and caramelised cubes of roasted butternut squash and sweet potatoes over a green bed of kale and spinach.
Where: #01-03 100Am Mall, 100 Tras Street; #01-01 Capitagreen, 138 Market Street.
Price: from $16 for a bowl
Opening Hours: Open Mon-Fri, 8am-8pm; Sat & Sun, 11am-8pm; Open Mon-Fri, 8am-8pm.
Info: visit www.grain-traders.com
Photo: Grain Traders
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