Geylang Serai hawkers to serve up wholegrain dishes

Muslims breaking fast at Geylang Serai can try Malay dishes like mee rebus, nasi sambal goreng and nasi ayam prepared using wholegrain ingredients. Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin (in green) with stall owner Noor
Muslims breaking fast at Geylang Serai can try Malay dishes like mee rebus, nasi sambal goreng and nasi ayam prepared using wholegrain ingredients. Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin (in green) with stall owner Noordin Sulong and his wife.PHOTO: HPB

Of 10 people who tasted two dishes of mee goreng - one made using wholegrain noodles and one made with non-wholegrain - nine had a definite preference.

Rather surprisingly, it was the wholegrain dish that came out tops, with tasters describing it as "chewier", "having more bite", "lighter" and "less alkaline in taste".

The blind taste test was held yesterday at Geylang Serai Hawker Centre as part of a new Wholegrain Weekend promoted by the Health Promotion Board (HPB).

This weekend, mosques are being encouraged to serve brown rice when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast for evening meals - a practice known as iftar.

Muslims breaking fast at Geylang Serai can try Malay dishes prepared using wholegrain ingredients from eight stalls until July 7. They include mee rebus, nasi sambal goreng and nasi ayam. Ten stalls will also be selling drinks with less sugar during this period.

It is believed that roughly half the Malay population over the age of 60 here has diabetes and the HPB is pushing healthier alternatives in an effort to tackle the disease.

The Wholegrain Weekend initiative is expected to benefit more than 11,000 people.

 
 

The HPB will give out healthier food packets, including brown rice, to 3,000 beneficiaries of Tabung Amal Aidilfitri (TAA), a non-profit organisation.

"We would like to encourage all in the community to adopt a healthy lifestyle and to take responsibility for how they prepare the food," said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Home Affairs Amrin Amin.

"We would like to show that their favourite food... can actually be made healthier if you choose healthy ingredients such as wholegrain."

Mr Amrin also encouraged consumers to find out what goes into the food they consume.

Mr Noordin Sulong, one of the eight stall owners who have adopted healthier ingredients, said that he prepares the food in the same way. For example, his Takdenama stall sells nasi ayam - chicken rice - made up of 30 per cent wholegrain rice.

He said: "There is not much difference to the taste, and the whole grains actually add more colour to the food."

Diner Rina Eusope has been taking small steps to live a healthier lifestyle like cutting down on her carbohydrate intake and choosing healthier options like wholegrain bread.

After changing her diet, the 48-year-old said she "feels good and more confident".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 09, 2018, with the headline 'Geylang Serai hawkers to serve up wholegrain dishes'. Print Edition | Subscribe