We’ve been running around the central business district for more than four years now, scouting the area, meeting new people, and telling their stories throughout the day — which can be very long days at that. It seems like every other week there’s a new place to stop by for lunch, but most of the time, all we want is something quick to grab and go, but also something that’ll fuel us throughout the rest of the day without weighing us down like some hawker food does.
So that’s why we were pretty excited when Grain Traders opened. We’d tried various salad shops and bars in the area, and at first we thought it might be something a little similar — we were wrong.
Things are taken to a different level here. Think economic rice, given a Western spin — ang moh cai png, to put it colloquially. You start with your choice of grains as a base — sushi rice, soba noodles, and bulgur wheat are our favourites — and then go wild with the toppings. What we’ve tried and loved so far: sous-vide & chargrilled salmon, roasted butternut squash & sweet potato, charred furikake corn, mixed bean pico de gallo, apple kimchi, and basil vinaigrette. Beyond that, they’ve got a whole range of other vegetables, proteins, sauces, and toppings to keep you coming back.
The growing and harvesting of grains is one of the oldest professions in the world, as is barter trade. It’s befitting of the CBD as well, with the amount of exchange and trade that happens on a daily basis — whether it’s of monetary value, or of ideas and thoughts, Grain Traders seems to fit right into the concrete jungle.
Grain Traders was started by the same folks behind the Kilo branch of restaurants who wanted to bring something into the CBD for the time-pressed, everyday worker who hasn’t been able to make sure that his body and soul are getting the food they deserve. It might sound new-agey, but it makes complete sense. What they seem to understand is that working in the CBD is tough — peak hour can get a bit crazy, days can get overwhelming, nerves can get shot — and whether you’re a trader, banker, lawyer, or creative director, lunch is the only time that we get to ourselves to take a breather.
So they aspire to bring the same kind of care, love, and effort that goes into making home-cooked food right to the heart of the CBD. It brings us back to the time when we were kids — when there was always a meal made with love waiting for us in our lunch boxes or on the dinner table back home.
It’s about making a little part of a hectic work day just that bit more wonderful, and it’s something that we certainly appreciate.
Be sure to give Grain Traders a visit if you’re in the area.