She also welcomes requests from customers who want even less salt and gravy.
About 15 years ago, Madam Salama Salim decided to make healthier versions of the food – such as soto ayam and nasi padang – sold at her coffee-shop stall in Tanjong Pagar.
It was an informed choice: Both her 88-year-old father and 81-year-old mother have diabetes and high blood pressure, and had to stop running the stall because their health took a turn for the worse.
“People are more conscious of their health and many are aware of the bad effects of diabetes,” said Madam Salama. “If you take care of yourself now, you can stay healthy and take care of your family.”
Besides using less salt and preservatives in her dishes, she also welcomes requests from customers who want even less salt and gravy.
Her parents started Haji Salim Food Stall more than 30 years ago in Tanjong Pagar. Last November, Madam Salama, 52, relocated it to Our Tampines Hub so she could take care of her parents, who live in Tampines. Her husband, Mr Yahya Ibrahim, 58, who helps out at the stall, found out he too had diabetes via a health check four years ago. Since then, he has cut down on his sugar intake from soft drinks and now does some light exercise at home before cycling to work.
“I think it is not wise to indulge in something that you love, but which puts you in danger,” said the father of two daughters, who used to work as a taxi driver.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2017, with the headline ‘Early convert to healthier versions of local fare’.