What to order at the economic rice stall

Economic rice, also known as cai fan, is one of the cheapest and most filling meals you can have in Singapore. It’s essentially a plate of rice with three to four dishes of vegetables and meat that you can select from 10-15 troughs of cooked food.

Economic rice is almost never paleo. You can ask for economic rice with “no rice” but the food is most likely cooked with corn or soybean oil. According to the Health Promotion Board, their view of “healthier oils” are:

“Saturated fat found mainly in butter, ghee, coconut milk, cream and blended oils can raise blood cholesterol levels, increasing risk of heart disease and stroke. Whereas monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in soybean, sunflower, safflower, olive, peanut and canola oils both help to reduce blood cholesterol when they replace saturated fat in the diet.”

They will award hawkers with a “I cook with healthier oil” sticker if they use vegetable oils such as the above, despite evidence to the contrary that these oils are not good for our health.

That being said, I still eat economic rice occasionally because it’s cheap and convenient. It’s definitely not a perfect paleo meal; to get anything perfectly healthy, we just have to cook at home. But we don’t have to be perfect everyday. For days where we eat out, we can minimise the damage to our health by selecting the right food items.

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Yanant Thit Myanmar Restaurant – smelly and yummy

Myanmar food has a particular smell. It’s obvious once you step into Peninsula Plaza. To most of my friends, it evokes an “Eww my hair is going to stink” reaction but to me, it causes me to salivate. I think it’s the smell of fermented fish and fermented beans.

I have noticed as well that Singaporeans tend not to like Myanmar food. Every time I eat at one of these restaurants or cafes, I’m the only Singaporean in a sea of Burmese people. Sometimes the stall keepers don’t even speak English. They don’t need to because their clientèle are all their people.

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