Eating out? Here’s where to go to get your brown rice fix in Singapore. It’s everywhere – even hawker stalls.
For Asians who grew up with rice as a staple during meals, giving it up as a carb can be quite a challenge. But as we know it, eating white rice every day can lead to a higher risk of diabetes due to its high glycaemic index that can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. The solution? Switching to its whole grain cousin, brown rice. Besides being low in calories and high in fibre, studies have also shown that the rice bran oil in brown rice helps to lower cholesterol, and it’s also suitable for gluten-free diets.
When dining out, we thankfully have no lack of brown rice options in Singapore. Check out these hawker stalls, restaurants and hotels that allow you to swap white rice for this nutritious whole grain at no extra charge.
Guzman Y Gomez
Where: Six outlets including Asia Square Tower 2 #02-11, Chevron House #B1-07, Mapletree Business Park #02-35, Northpoint City #01-176/177/178, Tanjong Pagar Centre #B2-14, The Star Vista #01-32
Info: Visit www.gyg.com.sg
This Mexican Taqueria offers the option of brown rice in its burrito bowls (from $10.90), enchiladas (from $14.90) and burritos (from $10.90), at no extra charge. Their ever-popular burrito bowls come with a selection of meats and greens, protein-rich black beans, freshly-chopped salsa, plus extras you can add, like guacamole.
Where: Asia Square Tower 2 #02-05, OUE Downtown Gallery #02-23
Info: Visit www.wafuken.com
If you’re already a fan of these Japanese-style protein bowls, you’ll be glad to know that you can switch out white rice for their Japan-imported Yamagata Haenuki brown rice when ordering your donburi (from $8.90). Take your pick from their chicken, salmon, beef and truffle wagyu don, which comes with an onsen egg, daikon and cucumber pickles for added crunch.
Where: Galaxis #01-21/22 1 Fusionopolis Place, Opening soon in Vivocity and Fraser Tower
Info: Visit www.kattosg.com
Unlike other poke bowl eateries, this one specialises in fun Asian flavours with a spicy kick, with brown rice available as a base option. Think Chicken Rice Chilli Salmon ($10.90), Tangy Thai Salmon ($10.90) and Sambal Tuna ($10.90). Too lazy to head out? Order them online.
Where: 442 Orchard Road
Since July 2016, Cantonese eatery Hua Ting has been serving a brown rice version of its popular fried rice dish. It includes diced vegetables and crispy conpoy ($32), and also has a vegetarian alternative available. At Claymore Connect, Hua Ting Steamboat’s menu includes a five-grain rice porridge soup base that uses red rice ($20 a pot). Guests are also able to switch to brown rice for free at Orchard Cafe and in-room meals.
Pan Pacific Hotels Group
Where: Various hotels including Pan Pacific Singapore and Parkroyal on Kitchener Road
Info: Visit www.panpacific.com
All 12 eateries in the group’s five hotels offer a complimentary brown rice or mixed rice option for a la carte rice dishes. This also applies to room service meals. The buffet lines also serve steamed brown rice.
Si Chuan Dou Hua at Parkroyal on Kitchener Road serves a yummy Fried Brown Rice with Waxed Meat (from $22), which includes brown rice fried with diced mushrooms, celery, carrot, corn and dried shrimp.
Where: 1 Cuscaden Road
Info: Visit regenthotels.com/regent-singapore
Michelin one-star Summer Palace restaurant offers a gluten-free a la carte menu, which has dishes such as brown fried rice with wolfberries, pine nuts, mushrooms and diced kai lan ($22++), while Italian cafe Dolcetto by Basilico serves steamed salmon with brown rice and broccoletti ($21).
Where: Lau Pa Sat, 18 Raffles Quay, stall No. 18, open: 10am to 10pm daily
Choose brown rice or soba noodles for its six dishes, including teriyaki chicken, saba fish, beef and salmon (from $5.50). Each set comes with seven types of vegetables such as purple cabbage, cherry tomatoes and broccoli.
Where: 1 Jurong East Street 21, Tower B Ng Teng Fong General Hospital #02-01, open: 6.30am to 10.30pm daily
Info: Visit www.kopitiam.biz
This foodcourt is one of the two Healthy Kopitiam outlets run by the Kopitiam chain. All stalls offer four Healthier Choice dishes, which have been approved by the Health Promotion Board and contain less than 500 calories.
These dishes come with a brown rice option. They include steamed chicken brown rice ($3.20, pictured), yong tau foo ($4.10), economy rice (from $2.50 for two vegetables and rice) and ayam penyet ($5.20). There is a 30-cent discount for diners who order dishes with brown rice or brown rice vermicelli.
Where: Block 318 Jurong East Avenue 1, PDSS 318 Cafeteria, stall No. 3, open: 7am to 2pm daily
Info: Visit www.instagram.com/jumiskitchen
Some dishes have brown rice mixed into them, such as nasi lemak (from $3) and nasi padang (from $3.50, includes a choice of chicken masak merah or mutton rendang, begedil and sambal goreng). The stall also sells nasi briyani ($4.50) on Tuesdays.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 26, 2016, with the headline ‘Brown rice options‘.