I like to think of myself as a “Weekend Foodie” - meaning I’ll go crazy on the weekends eating everything that I have been craving. On weekdays, however, I am very strict. Strict in the sense that every meal has to be healthy, and by healthy, I don’t mean low-calorie but rather as unprocessed as possible.
You see, I’ve always struggled with moderation - go big or go home right?
The biggest problem with this routine is that, well, I have a very… above average appetite. For instance, I need two bowls of salad from Salad Stop to be full - I never understood how anyone can actually get full from just one! This, unfortunately, makes me quite expensive to feed and especially since I want something healthy.
I have been recommended yong tau foo or cai png - or economical mixed rice - stalls in Maxwell (it’s the nearest hawker centre to THE FIFTH COLLECTION office) but I personally find it pretty unhealthy even when you avoid the fried stuff because of the MSG and the produce used. So my first month at THE FIFTH COLLECTION was a real struggle food-wise. That is, until a friend told me about this new restaurant called Grain Traders along Market Street (it's about a 10-minute walk from the office).
A little background information on me: I have a borderline (possibly a full-on) phobia of the sun and the fact that I would walk 10 minutes under the sun (with a visor and umbrella, of course), says A LOT.
Ever since my first visit to Grain Traders, I have been hooked! Not only is it one of the few places in Singapore that can fill me up with one serving (okay, that makes me sound greedy), there is variety, good quality ingredients and very importantly, it's delicious!
A quick summary on how it works
It’s like a mix between Subway and a Cai Png, you get into the queue and order as you move along.
First, you pick your base (e.g. quinoa, soba, salad etc.) then you pick your protein before moving onto your hot and cold veggies. Initially, we could only have 1 type of hot veg and 2 cold veggies, but a new policy introduced now lets us choose two hot veggies without having to pick any cold veg! For most of us at THE FIFTH COLLECTION, we love the hot veggies and were so happy when we could pick two instead of just one!
Then, you move on to your toppings (it’s between the Furikake and Crispy Garlic & Shallots for us!) and the sauce. For those days when you’re feeling more fancy, you can add an egg ($1) or avocado ($1.50). If you’re thinking of adding an avocado, I’d recommend showing up early because it seems that by 1pm, the avocados are sold out and that really sucks 😔
Unless you’re kiasu like me and BYOA(vocado), go early to avoid disappoint and the lunch crowd. I usually go at 11am when everything is freshly out of the kitchen!
Now, I’m probably the only person in THE FIFTH COLLECTION who is health conscious, but the fact that everyone else also loves Grain Traders shows how there is really something for everyone - even for the fussiest of eaters! My Grain Traders buddy, and THE FIFTH COLLECTION's resident Photographer's favourite combination is the brown rice, roast beef, mushroom or pumpkin, sprouts, peppers, shallots, with no sauce. "Everything else has a lot of sauce and adding their sauce takes away the original taste,” she says.
My personal favourite, on the other hand, is: Quinoa, salmon, pumpkin, chargrilled veggies, avocado and olive oil! I’m hungry just thinking about it.
So, next time you’re in the area or just craving good, wholesome food, be sure to check out Grain Traders!
I have added their menu right at the end of the post so you can also check out their Breakfast menu, which sounds really good as well.
138 Market Street #01-01/02/03
Monday-Friday: 8AM to 8PM
photo credit: Grain Traders