Fuel For The Body, Food For The Soul
Salad bars have been popping up all over the island lately, in line with the healthy living and clean eating trend. Contrary to popular belief, a healthy diet doesn’t have to consist of just lettuce leaves and balsamic vinaigrette.
Located in the heart of the central business district, Grain Traders serves up wholesome food that actually tastes exceptionally good. With “Slow Food, Real Fast”, as one of their taglines, they pride themselves on taking the time, effort and care to create quality food that you can enjoy in a fuss-free and casual environment.
Fuel up with a hearty bowl of goodness and find comfort knowing that you have been equipped with a bunch of power nutrients for you to take on the rest of the day.
Choose to either create your own masterpiece from their wide selection of freshly-prepared ingredients or savour one of their six signature bowls, each one carefully thought out and perfected over time. Sip on the various cold-pressed juices and coffees on offer, the latter which are locally sourced and includes stylish glass bottles of cold brew.
Here’s the lowdown on each of their signature bowls. Beware, you will be spoiled for choice.
El Hibaro ($16)
Starting off traditional, the chosen grain in this bowl simple yet tasty white sushi rice. It’s topped off with a salad of charred veggies, wafu tomato, raisins and bean sprouts plus tender pieces of striploin. This is sure to be a hit among Mexican food lovers, as the finishing touches are a bunch of fresh coriander and a drizzle of salsa verde, also known as Spanish green sauce. It’s almost like a marriage of sushi rice and and beef tacos, and somehow it works!
The Beebop ($16)
Succulent and deliciously-marinated braised pork shoulder pieces are accompanied by a crunchy crudités slaw, mixed bean salad and charred baby corns tossed in Japanese bonito flakes and furikake seasoning. Served on a steaming bed of brown rice, this is comfort food at its finest.
Rooster’s Crow ($16)
My personal favourite of the lot, this bowl features crunchy greens, a mixed bean salad and roasted chicken strips on a base of quinoa. The meat, veggies, grains and legumes come together to form a balanced yet exciting medley of textures and mouthfeels.
What really steals the show for me, however, is the basil vinaigrette that it comes with. The flavour packs a serious punch without being overpowering and it’ll have you scraping up every last scrap of food from your bowl, just as I did.
“Because that’s the direction the fish swims in”, explains the chef after introducing this bowl. A nice slab of wasabi salmon takes center stage in this grain-free alternative with “super greens” like kale and spinach to keep you full without the carbo load. It also includes butternut squash, sweet potato, homemade cucumber pickles and chilli furikake for that extra touch of spice.
The Tantrum ($16)
With a name inspired by the tantrums we would throw as a kid when our parents made us each vegetables, this vegetarian option features lentil cakes as the protein. With smoky grilled beets and a mixture of various beans and seeds on a bulgur wheat base, ten-year-old me would’ve loved this. The unique beetroot feta yoghurt also adds a nice tinge of colour when you stir it all together. Seriously, who would’ve thought that eating bright pink bulgur wheat and veggies could be this fun?
Mr. Pirom ($16)
The seared ahi tuna was pure heaven. You can really taste the freshness and sheer quality in the fish, and it makes all the difference. Served with wild mushrooms, crudités slaw, soba noodles and a little surprise thrown into the mix: spiced kimchi apples. It’s refreshing and delightfully crunchy, while providing a decently fiery kick all at the same time.
Grain Traders is a must-try if you’re on the hunt for a casual lunchtime joint that serves nutritious yet delicious food. The variety of quality ingredients included in each of their bowls will satisfy both your tummy and taste buds. Your energy levels will also be sustained for a long period of time, avoiding that dreaded food coma. Coupled with rustic furnishings and plenty of cozy vibes, the spacious 1,600 square feet unit makes for a much-appreciated refuge from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The only gripe I have would be that their prices are rather extravagant. With their basic bowls starting at $16, I would treat myself to a meal here once in a blue moon, certainly not as a go-to lunch spot on a regular basis.
Lastly, give their cold brews a try, especially if you’ve yet to experience this method of coffee-making. The result is a smoother, more refined serve of java – and best of all, you’ll be supporting the local brand it’s sourced from. Plus, the sleek bottles make for the perfect accompaniment when you snap an artsy, hipster shot of your colourful bowl for Instagram. #CleanEats? #GrainTraders.
Address: CapitaGreen Building #01-01/02/03, 138 Market Street Singapore 048946
3 minute walk from Raffles Place MRT, Exit F
Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays 8 am – 8 pm