Woo Ricebox opens its first outlet at Ocean Financial Centre
Working in Raffles Place? Feel like eating lunch boxes for lunch? ‘Woo Ricebox’, one of Taiwan’s most popular chains for rice boxes, makes its debut in Singapore with its first outlet at Ocean Financial Centre in the heart of the Central Business District.
Woo is a well-known brand of over 70 years, serving traditional Taiwan-style rice boxes (famously known in Taiwan as 悟饕池上饭包). Originated in the Chihshang township, which used to be a major railway interchange, the founder wanted to make nutritious rice box that transports well so as to cater to the numerous hungry travellers on the eight-hour Hualien-Taitung train journey. Today, it is a popular meal option for many Taiwanese people. I also had it when I was in Taiwan!
A total of 14 different riceboxes are sold at Woo Ricebox’s first outlet and each tempting ricebox comprises Woo’s characteristic Chihshang rice, sautéed seasonal vegetables, pickles, braised egg, and a main meat item. There are three major categories for these boxes: fried, braised, and healthy. All meat items are presented whole and uncut in keeping with the way it is presented in Taiwan.
Diners who find fried food simply irresistible will be spoilt for choice with Woo’s selection of seven different fried mains which includes Woo’s Pork Chop Ricebox ($8.30). A good pork chop over rice should feature a chop that’s neither too dry or gristly, is nicely browned, and lightly spiced from the marinade.The pork chop here was about a centimeter thick and fairly juicy. But don’t expect its surface be crispy as it is not battered.
There is also the classic mini Braised Minced Pork Ricebox ($5.90) for customers with smaller appetites.
Woo Ricebox uses only premium short-grain rice specially imported from Chihshang in Taitung; prized for its fragrance and ‘QQ’ or springy texture when cooked. The boxes used are also specially manufactured using 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 early clientele of railway travellers. The material also serves to keep food warm for later consumption.
The health conscious can seek out Woo’s Healthy Ricebox ($8.30) which offers a high-fibre Five Grain Rice mixture (white rice, buckwheat, barley, barley, millet, black glutinous rice) instead of steamed white rice. Woo’s Healthy Ricebox consists of sliced braised pork chop, stewed tofu, braised egg, and lightly-sautéed fresh vegetables.
For a satisfying snack, Woo’s menu serves a la carte fried items such as (photos above) Spicy Drumstick ($5) and Salt & Pepper Popcorn Chicken ($4, available only during off-peak periods).
If there is one thing I remember about WOO, it is definitely its Spicy Drumstick which has the delightful crunch that resonates upon biting into it. Woo’s secret batter and frying technique, combined with the moisture-wicking properties of its wood boxes, assure even take-away customers of mouth-watering fried indulgences that remain crispy.
Because in Taiwanese, these lunch boxes are catered to railway travellers, so you can expect the food in the lunchboxes to be on the dry side. But never mind, there’s classic Homemade Melon Tea ($2.20, or $1 as an add-on to any main) and refreshing Homemade Iced Tea ($2.20 or $1 as an add-on to any main) if you need. Woo Ricebox is designed for takeaway, but the store also has some seating for those looking to savour a quick lunch.
Address: 10 Collyer Quay, #B1-03/05 Ocean Financial Centre
Tel: 6636 8101
Opening hours: Mon to Fri 11am to 8pm (last order 7.30pm); Sat 11am to 3pm (last order 2.30pm). Closed on Sundays
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