Love rice bowls? Get your healthy hawker lunch fix at Big Bowls Project.
You can’t miss Big Bowls Project on the second floor of Amoy Street Food Centre.
It stands out among its nasi padang and biryani stall neighbours with its slick signage and 20-something stall owners in matching T-shirts and aprons.
But while there are plenty of hipster hawker stalls popping up, this one stands apart for the restaurant-quality care it puts into its salmon bowls, priced from $8.
Each bowl comes with a large portion of air-flown Norwegian salmon that is deboned, cooked sous vide and set on a bowl of jasmine brown rice, along with a perfectly cooked onsen egg.
You have the option of two side dishes; choose from Japanese cucumber, cherry tomatoes, roasted edamame ($1 extra) or half an avocado ($1.50 extra).
The owners are constantly revamping and adding items to the menu but when I visit, there are five flavours to choose from, including Tom Yum ($8), Truffle Oil ($9.50) and bestseller Mentaiko ($9.50).
For Mentaiko, the salmon is generously slathered in the fish roe before being blow-torched a la minute to get the slightest char.
The fish roe and onsen egg create a luscious sauce for the rice, which has a barley-like consistency and a slightly nutty taste.
Tom Yum is one of the new flavours, but I find it lacking the spicy kick I expect from the classic Thai soup. Truffle Oil, on the other hand, is fragrant without being overwhelming.
However, the palm-sized salmon fillet remains the most impressive and consistent aspect of all three bowls I try, falling apart at the touch of my chopsticks.
Contrary to its name of Big Bowls Project though, the bowls are rather small and could do with a more generous serving of rice, even though customers have the option of adding more rice to the bowl for 50 cents.
That said, since the two-month-old stall is open only at lunchtime, it is just the right size for a light lunch.
These new generation hawkers certainly know how to play the social media game, with pretty-as-a-picture bowls.
They also announce special Friday deals – such as an additional portion of salmon for $2.50 instead of $4 to $4.50 – on their Instagram stories every week.
I also appreciate that they use environmentally-friendly cardboard bowls instead of plastic ones.
In future, the team intends to offer soba noodles as a base instead of rice.
They are also considering opening later in the day and offering bowls for takeaway during the upcoming fasting month.
Either way, I’m excited about what other flavour combinations they will come up with, along with injecting diversity into the CBD food scene.
BIG BOWLS PROJECT
#02-90 Amoy Street Food Centre, 7 Maxwell Road; tel: 8183 0250; open: 11.30am to 2.30pm (Mondays to Fridays)
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 13, 2018, with the headline ‘Hip and healthy salmon bowls’.