It’s easy to be overwhelmed when you step into Grain Traders for the very first time. The sheer variety of choices, so much to see and smell — we understand. That’s why we’ve asked for recommendations from the very people who know Grain Traders best: our founders and head chef.
Our co-founder Josh hails from Puerto Rico, so his favourite bowl is something that reminds him of his childhood: brown rice, slow-roasted pork, charred veggies, mixed bean pico de gallo, seed mix, salsa verde, and an avocado to top it all off. “This is the closest thing, flavour and ingredient-wise, to my favourite food that I grew up with as a child: rice and beans, with slow-roasted pork, and avocado salad,” he says. “For me, it’s a healthier version of a nostalgic dish.” You can’t go wrong with pulled pork, and avocado goes well with pretty much anything — if you’re looking for a taste of a Puerto Rican childhood, you know what to head for.
Speaking next to our executive chef, Gisela, we find out something that really surprises us. “I’ve never had a whole bowl to myself at Grain Traders!” She’s usually behind the stove rather than in front of the counter, so when she’s cooking the same ingredients day in and out, she gets a taste of everything and doesn’t find the need to build her own bowl. Nonetheless, she knows what her favourites are: quinoa, sous-vide and chargrilled salmon, grilled beets & carrots, cucumber pickles and coleslaw, pumpkin seeds, and beetroot feta yogurt. “I love having the salmon with the beetroot feta yogurt sauce,” she says, and when the chef gives you a recommendation like that, you can’t turn it down.
On the other hand, Ken, another of our co-founders who helped to design the space, opts for something a bit lighter and meat-free. “I was vegan for two years, and it felt amazing, but it was pretty hard to find tasty, filling options here in Singapore,” he explains. He picks super greens, lentil patties, furikake corn, mixed bean pico de gallo, bean sprout salad, roasted nut mix, raisins, miso caramel, and avocado for his bowl, explaining that it’s something similar to what he would have thrown together at home if he ever had the time to prepare it. “It fulfils the craving, and you’re guaranteed enough energy and protein in this epic combo.” Clearly, salad doesn’t have to be sad.
Javier, our founder, knows that each and every ingredient in Grain Traders is crafted to be able to stand on its own, which means that you’re unlikely to ever have a ‘wrong’ combination. Still, his top choices are brown rice, with sous-vide and chargrilled salmon, furikake corn, mixed bean pico de gallo, crudités & coleslaw with kaffir lime vinaigrette, and roasted nut mix. “Usually I don't get a dressing as the bowl is already quite flavourful,” he says, echoing a sentiment felt by many. “But, if not, it’ll be the basil vinaigrette or wasabi mayo.”
Ask any of our friendly staff for more recommendations or their personal favourites when you next visit Grain Traders. Otherwise, the fun is in exploring and trying out anything and everything that sounds good to you, until you find your own go-to ingredients for your own special bowl.