No doubt about it, many Singaporeans has an insatiable love for Taiwanese food – judging from the popularity of popping bubbling teas, crispy fried chicken, cooling ice shavings to gooey mee sua. The latest to arrive at our shoes is Woo Ricebox’s traditional Taiwan-style rice boxes.
Woo Ricebox, one of Taiwan’s most popular chains for rice boxes 悟饕池上饭包 with more than 70 years of history, opens its first in South-East Asia at Basement One of Ocean Financial Centre. Corporate workers at Raffles Place would have one more place to ‘tabao’ rice for lunch, without waiting in lines faced with long staggering heat.
The culture of Taiwanese rice box started due to long train rides in Taiwan, where commuters can still have convenient meals with a balance of meat and vegetables while traveling for hours. Thinking bento sets – Taiwanese style.
I confess that the takeaway culture has not really into me yet, always preferred to dine there and then, rather than in the office (Always feel kind of sad eating tabao rice facing the com). However during work trips to Taiwan, I was served such rice boxes almost every lunch.
My Taiwanese counterparts would always ask “Why don’t you finish the rice? Do you not like it?”
The Taiwanese rice boxes are usually on the drier side, so that the food does not turn soggy – an important factor for travellers. Correct me if I am wrong, but Singaporeans generally prefer a wetter take on their rice – full of gravy, full of sauce. So…
Woo Ricebox sticks to their original style, using premium short-grain rice specially imported from Taitung, with seasonal vegetables, pickles, braised egg and a main meat item. All very healthy tasting.
The recommendation is the Woo’s Pork Chop Rice Box ($8.30), with the price slightly on the high side. The winner is the fried pork chop, with meat thin and tender and quite authentically Taiwanese, immediately reminding me of similar pork chop at Din Tai Fung .
Fans of Lu Rou Fan will be happy to find Braised Minced Pork Ricebox ($5.90) at Woo Ricebox, and the Taiwanese journalist sitting opposite me said it tasted quite like those she had back home.
Both the fried food items I tried were addictive – the Spicy Drumstick ($5) with fantastically juicy meat under light crispy skin, and the Salt & Pepper Popcorn Chicken ($4 – available only off peak hours). In true Taiwanese style, they do not cut up the drumstick into pieces.
As with all the Taiwanese-style street food in Singapore, it is not quite like the real deal, but it is as good as it can get, for now. Having the ricebox really makes me miss Taiwan a lot more.
Orchard Xchange, B1-26, 437 Orchard Road Singapore 238878
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)