Taiwan’s famous Woo Ricebox opens its first outlet in Singapore at Raffles Place with wholesome, ready-to-go meals—and it's not fast food.
By Yong Yung Shin
It’s the Taiwanese equivalent of our mixed economical rice or the Japanese bento box. Woo Ricebox, one of Taiwan’s most popular rice box chains with a 70-year history, recently opened up at the basement of Ocean Financial Centre in Raffles Place.
With its grab-and-go concept, the “60-seater fast-service restaurant” is well-positioned to cater to busy executives during the lunch hour, where queues of hungry patrons can sometimes be a source of frustration.
On the menu are three main categories of rice boxes priced from S$5.30 for a smaller serving to S$8.30 for the standard portion—“fried”, “braised” and “healthy”, which offers a five-grain rice mix instead of white rice.
In each rice box is a mix of sautéed seasonal vegetables, pickles, braised egg, and a main meat item, ranging from drumsticks, pork chops, chicken cutlets and braised pork belly to roast pork and saba fish. Complementing the main dishes are the Taiwan Pork Ribs and Radish Soup (S$2.50) with any main dish, with Homemade Melon Tea and Homemade Iced Tea (S$2.20 or S$1 as an add-on to main dish orders).
Well-known in Taiwan as “chí shàng fàn bāo”, the idea of the Taiwanese rice box originated in the Chihshang township, a major railway interchange on the eight-hour Hualien-Taitung train route where hungry travellers stop by to replenish themselves. According to Woo Ricebox, the rice used is premium short-grain rice specially imported from Chihshang itself, and is more fragrant and springy in texture than normal rice.
The takeaway boxes are not made of plastic or Styrofoam but a special type of porous wood which wicks away excess moisture from the ingredients, ensuring that the food – fried items in particular –does not turn soggy, an important consideration for its original clientele of railway travellers.
10 Collyer Quay, #B1-03/05
Ocean Financial Centre
Tel.: 6636 8101