SINGAPORE - A wave of eateries offering grain bowls and poke have opened in the last three years, catering to a growing number of more health conscious diners who shun greasier hawker fare for nutritious complex carbs such as brown rice and quinoa, with proteins such as beef, chicken, fish and vegetables.
Poke (say po-kay), a Hawaiian marinated raw fish salad, has also become increasingly popular in Singapore. This is served either on its own, or atop rice or salad greens.
Here are nine places to get your grain and poke fix.
THE DAILY CUT
The Daily Cut, which started with one shop at One Raffles Place in July 2014, has since opened another two.
Prices start at $9 for a Petite bowl, to $18 for an X-Large portion.
You choose from a list of "proteins" including chicken, tofu, salmon and ribeye steak; followed by a "carb" - think brown rice, wholewheat pasta or lettuce greens; then add "supplements" from edamame to avocado; toppings such as almonds; and a choice of dressing.
Go for the ginger ponzu dressing if opting for steak - the salty burst of bright and citrusy flavours with a touch of zing complements the meat well.
Where: Three outlets - One Raffles Place, 1 Raffles Place, B1-31; Galaxis, 1 Fusionopolis Place, 01-28/29; and Tanjong Pagar Centre, 7 Wallich Street, B2-16
Open: One Raffles Place - 11am to 2.30pm, 6 to 8.30pm (weekdays), 11am to 3.30pm (weekends and public holidays); Galaxis - 11am to 7.30pm (weekdays), closed on weekends; Tanjong Pagar Centre - 11am to 8.30pm (weekdays), 11am to 3.30pm (weekends and public holidays)
Info: E-mail email@example.com or go to http://thedailycut.sg/
Wafuken, a food stall at the Asia Square Food Garden, specialises in sous vide meat and fish options that are pan-seared, torched or grilled when served.
First, you choose a protein - chicken breast, dory, salmon, steak, hamburger patty or truffle wagyu rump (from $4 a serving and upwards). Next, you can pick the don buri option ($4) with seasoned Japanese brown or white rice, served with an onsen egg; or opt for a choice of carbs ($2 each) ranging from rice to pasta to soba. Side dishes (from $1 to $2.50 a serving) include steamed vegetables, tofu and more. Expect to pay about $10 and upwards for your grain bowl.
Founder and director of Grain Traders Javier Perez, who is also behind Kilo at Kampong Bugis, told The Business Times that the inspiration for the concept came from places like Ottolenghi in London and Forage in Los Angeles.
The eatery, which has outlets at CapitaGreen and 100AM mall, has a "Build Your Own Bowl" option for $16nett.
You choose a type of grain, a protein, a hot vegetable, two cold vegetables, a topping, and a sauce.
Too lazy to do that? Pick from a selection of bowls, including the El Hibaro - a grilled striploin with salsa verde, charred veggies, wafu tomato, bean sprout salad, and white sushi rice.
Where: Two outlets - CapitaGreen, 138 Market Street, 01-01/02/03; and 100AM, 100 Tras Street
Open: 8am to 8pm (weekdays). CapitaGreen outlet is closed on weekends, but 100AM outlet is open of weekends from 11am to 8pm.
Plentyfull, a 132-seat restaurant at Millenia Walk that also has a gourmet grocery section, opened last year.
The flavours here are a mish-mash of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian.
For lunch, it offers a range of main and side dishes which you can add to a base of greens, Israeli pearl cous cous or brown rice with quinoa (from $17).
Mains range from miso cod to Turkish baked chicken, while sides include sweet and tangy kimchi-macerated tomatoes, charred maple and bacon brussel sprouts, and corn with togarashi powder.
The grain bowls are only offered for lunch. Come dinner time, the space turns into a full-service restaurant.
There are eight protein bowls to choose from, or you can build your own. Prices start at $14 and upwards, but be prepared to add another $2 for rice, orzo or garden greens; and another $3 for quinoa.
Options include the Geisha - roasted pumpkin, mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots, onsen egg and furikake; the Tsukiji - tuna tataki, asparagus, edamame, and more; and the Buta - Japanese aburi char shu, cherry tomatoes, onsen egg, pumpkin and pickled apple.
The chain, which opened its first outlet in Hong Kong in 2014, is founded by Singapore-born entrepreneur Steph Kudus. She opened the Singapore outlet last December.
Pololi has two serving sizes - the Da Keiki (150g of poke, $15.99) and the Da Kama'aina (180g of poke, $17.99).
On rotation each day are five poke flavours, ranging from Thai spicy tuna to sweet onion teriyaki swordfish.
Aloha Poke, which opened its first outlet in 2015, offers both tuna and salmon poke.
Apart from the original shoyu dressing, there are also wasabi mayo and spicy versions. Each bowl of poke (three sizes, starting at $11.90) is served on a bed of vinegared sushi rice and/or brown rice and salad greens (for kale, add $1).
Each serving comes with two toppings, ranging from edamame and cherry tomatoes to seeds and nuts; and an additional superfood of avocado, chia seeds, pomegranate or quail's eggs. Add more of anything for an additional 50 cents or $1, depending on your selection.
Where: Three outlets - 92 Amoy Street, tel: 6221-6165; Marina Bay Link Mall, 8A Marina Boulevard, B2-46, tel: 6634-0730; Change Alley, Chevron House, 30 Raffles Place, 01-34, tel: 6533-0801
Open: Amoy Street - 11.30am to 2.30pm, 5.30 till late (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays; Marina Bay Link Mall - 11.30am to 8pm (weekdays), closed on weekends); Change Alley - 11.30am to 8pm (weekdays), 11.30am to 3pm (Saturdays), closed on Sundays).
Info: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.alohapoke.com.sg/
A POKE THEORY
Pick from signature sushi rice, lemon herb quinoa, brown rice or Romaine lettuce, and choose poke options such as original shoyu tuna ; spicy mayonnaise salmon; spicy garlic sesame tuna; and avocado miso salmon.
A regular portion (100g) costs $11.50 for tuna and $12.50 for salmon. The large serving (150g) costs $15 for tuna and $16.50 for salmon.
Toppings include edamame, Japanese furikake seasoning and tobiko (flying fish roe). Premium toppings (add $2 each) include kale chips, crispy salmon skin and kalua pork.
Poke bowls are also available at A Poke Theory's sister outlet Alter Ego at Esplanade Mall.
Unlike the other outlet, where you can mix and match, here, there are five pre-set options to choose from. Prices range from $14 to $17 a bowl.
Tuck into The Wildcard - avocado miso tuna on sushi rice served with lime avocado, kimchi, pickled seasonal vegetables and ikura; and the Green Goddess - avocado poke with brown rice, kimchi, pomegranate and pickled vegetables. All poke bowls come with tobiko, furikake, pineapple, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, wakame and nori flakes.
Where: 8 Raffles Avenue, Esplanade Mall, 01-13D, tel: 6327-9301
Open: 11am to 1am (Mondays to Thursdays), 11am to 2am (Fridays), 10am to 2am (Saturdays), 10am to 1am (Sundays)
Info: E-mail email@example.com. or go to http://www.alterego.sg/