TIAN WEI SIGNATURE
New mums who are apprehensive about traditional confinement food overload may like Tian Wei’s balanced offerings (pictured opposite). Its 28-day package starts with a full week of time-honoured classics (pig’s trotters, stir-fried liver with beehoon and the like).
Subsequently, there’s a handful of fusion meals each week to break up the monotony, such as coq au vin, toasted oats millet rice, and papaya-and-white fungus dessert. It works with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) physicians to ensure you’re getting all the nutrition you need.
A traditional meal consists of a meat or fish dish, a vegetable dish, rice – this changes daily and includes pumpkin rice, five-grain rice and fried rice – soup, and red date tea.
A fusion meal, on the other hand, comprises a meat fish dish, rice, dessert, and red date tea. There’s no MSG or beef. Two Sheng Hua tonics – believed to be beneficial for the immediate postpartum period because of its warming properties – are provided for the first two dinners. View the menu online.
Tian Wei is fairly accommodating when it comes to special dietary requests. Depending on the ingredients requested to omit, it might either substitute with another suitable ingredient, or change to a different dish.
Meals come in microwaveable bentoboxes, packed in thermal bags. They’re delivered daily, except for major public holidays. Lunch and dinner meals are different, and delivered separately.
HOW MUCH $1,688 for 28-day lunchand-dinner package. A seven-day, once-daily package is also available. Get an early bird discount when you order one month before your estimated delivery date.
Book a $30 trial package and sample the day’s regular menu, or choose a $40 package, which comprises three fusion and three traditional dishes, as well as a soup, dessert, and red date tea.
Sizzling Dyyana is one of the rare confinement meal delivery services that’s halal. Dyyana Awang runs a one-woman show from home, so slots are limited.
She announces the day’s menu – which follows whatever’s fresh at the market that day – via Whatsapp every morning with detailed information on the nutritional benefits of the ingredients featured.
Her food would fit the #eatclean bill pretty well, and criss-crosses Asian and Western flavours. For instance, you might get black snapper done Thai green currystyle, and stir-fried Chinese spinach in garlic-and-anchovies broth for the main meal, and oats-and-raisins scones for a lactation-friendly tea-time dessert.
There’s minimal use of ginger, sesame oil and ginseng to prevent jaundice symptoms. Organic ingredients are used as far as possible and there’s no MSG or deepfried items. Dyyana accommodates some dietary requests, such as no beef or salmon.
The food comes in microwaveable containers and delivery is done from Mondays to Saturdays, except public holidays. Lunch and dinner meals have the same menu and are packed and delivered together in the late morning.
HOW MUCH $1,300 for 30-day lunchand-dinner package. A 10-day, once-daily package is available, too. You get one meat or fish dish, vegetables, rice (a mixture of white, brown, black and red rice), a lactation treat, and a healthy drink.
Pay $45 for a lunch and dinner trial. Instead of a standard trial package, you get whatever’s on her menu for the day.
FIND OUT MORE Whatsapp 8222-3105
Malay dos and don’ts
Food-wise, there is some commonality between Malay and Chinese conﬁ nement practices. According to Dyyana Awang of Sizzling Dyyana, Malays similarly believe that “cooling” foods such as kangkong and cabbage should be avoided, in favour of “warming” foods such as black pepper and lemongrass.
Jamu, an herbal concoction that originated from Indonesia, is also thought to be essential in keeping the body warm, especially during the immediate post-partum period.
The conﬁnement period typically runs for 44 days, and wraps and massages feature prominently on the agenda. Quite often, the two are done together by an experienced masseuse. Bengkung, the practice of tightly binding the tummy, is considered helpful in recovery and in reducing post-partum bulge. For best results, bengkung is recommended to be done all-day for at least one week.
THOMSON CONFINEMENT FOOD HOME DELIVERY
This service is affiliated to Thomson Medical and the confinement menu has been developed with the group’s in-house team of TCM, lactation and nutrition experts. The 28-day package starts with lighter flavours for the initial 10 days to reduce digestive stress, followed by more fortifying meals for the remaining period. Meals are flavoursome yet easy on the palate, and reminiscent of Chinese homecooked food, with dishes such as grilled salmon in mirin sauce, stir-fried asparagus with fish maw, and double-boiled Sakura chicken with cordyceps. You get a meat or fish dish, a vegetable dish, rice (choose between white and brown Kinmemai rice), a soup, and red date-and-recipes longan tea. No MSG is used and you can view the menu online. You can request for the non-pork menu (it’s not halal-certified), or to avoid pig innards.
Thermal containers are used, and delivery is made in a thermal bag. No washing is required. Meals are delivered daily, except on major public holidays. Lunch and dinner meals are different, and delivered separately.
HOW MUCH $1,980 for a 28-day lunch-anddinner package. A seven-day, once-daily package available, too. Thomson Medical members enjoy a discounted rate. Try a standard trial meal for $68. Or, register for one of Thomson’s free confinement food tastings, which are held every month.
FIND OUT MORE Call 6511-1183 or visit www.thomsonbaby.com
THE NATAL KITCHENTCH
While The Natal Kitchen focuses on traditional confinement foods, it worked with a nutritionist to nail that healthyyet-tasty balance. Soups were designed together with a TCM specialist.
Apart from the emphasis on confinement essentials such as pig’s trotter in vinegar and red vinasse chicken (hong zao ji), it tries to minimise repetition over the 28-day period and also includes some non-traditional dishes, like Hainanese pork chop, and grilled chicken in a tomato-based sauce.
You get a meat or fish dish, vegetables, soup, rice – brown rice, white rice and fried rice, served on different days – and longan tea. One complimentary dessert is served every Friday and there is no MSG or innards.
The menu is not fixed, and the caterer accommodates range of requests, from omitting pork to removing the skin from meats and fish. Vegetarian meals available, too. However, you may not omit sesame oil.
Meals come in microwaveable bento trays sealed with leakproof films, packed in thermal bags. A stainless steel tingkat option is available at $60 for two new sets, which customers can keep after the package. You must wash the tingkats.
Delivery is done daily, except for major public holidays. Lunch and dinner meals are different, and delivered separately.
HOW MUCH $1,680 for 28-day lunchand-dinner package. A 14-day once-daily package is available, too. Pay $30 for a trial, which is similar to the day’s menu but tweaked for prenatal mums.
Like many other caterers, Richfood believes that the initial post-partum period calls for very specific forms of nutrition.
It worked with a TCM physician to plan the meals, and the dedicated menu for the first week favours soups such as Sheng Hua tonic and pork ribs-and-lotus seeds soup; seafood and poultry are also avoided as it believes them to be detrimental during this sensitive period.
Overall, the menu runs quite traditional, with menu items such as papaya-andsnakehead soup, and steamed chicken with mushroom and black fungus.
You get a meat or fish dish, veggies, soup, rice – usually white rice, except for Wednesday dinners when fried rice is served– and red date tea. Richfood is planning to introduce other rice options and pasta soon.
No MSG is used and you can view the menu online. It accepts requests for low or no salt, and to omit pork, beef, liver and seafood.
Meals come in microwaveable containers, packed in thermal bags. They’re delivered daily, except for major public holidays. Lunch and dinner meals are different, and delivered separately.
HOW MUCH $1,636.03 for a 28-day lunchand-dinner package. A 14-day once-daily package is available as well. Order a standard trial menu for $32.10 (available only on Saturdays).
FIND OUT MORE Call 6261-4600 or visit www.confinement-meals.com All prices include GST.
Myth or fact?
Which of these conﬁnement beliefs is worth following? Young Parents gets the low-down from Vivian Lee – one of several physicians from Pulse TCM Clinic with double degrees in biomedical sciences and Chinese medicine – on common Chinese conﬁnement myths.
MYTH Avoid plain water during conﬁnement.
FACT The belief probably stems from concerns about water retention. However, sufﬁcient water consumption is essential during conﬁnement.
Your kidneys produce more urine after birth to remove excess ﬂuids from pregnancy, and water is also lost during breastfeeding. The key is to avoid cold water – which depletes qi (life force), something new mums are already low on – and sip on warm/hot water. You can also drink red date and longan tea, which nourishes the blood and qi, and also improves sleep.
MYTH New mums need to eat plenty of liver and meat.
FACT According to TCM, the liver is an important organ for the storage and regulation of blood. Going by the “like nourishes like” principle, consuming liver and meat – which are rich in iron and protein – helps with blood formation and oxygen transportation, and also prevents anaemia in breastfeeding mums.
However, because heavy metals are more likely to accumulate in cattle, it’s healthier to eat liver from chicken and other sources, and from grass-fed animals whenever possible.
MYTH New mums need to consume plenty of ginger and sesame oil.
FACT Because the stomach and intestines are compressed during pregnancy and tend to swell up with air and ﬂ uids post-labour, ginger is commonly recommended to expel “wind”, reduce bloating, and improve digestion.
Sesame oil, considered “heaty”, helps to suppress “wind”, too, and is rich in vitamin E, iron and calcium.
However, too much ginger and sesame oil can cause “heatiness”, so take these in moderation and be aware of symptoms of overindulgence – a dry throat, frequent thirst, sweating and pimples.
MYTH Mothers who have undergone a C-section should avoid chicken and eggs.
FACT While some of the older generation believe that chicken and eggs are “toxic” and counter-effective for wound healing, there is not much supporting evidence.
Both foods are rich in protein, which help with post-surgery recovery; iron- and Vitamin C-rich sources are also recommended. However, avoid shellﬁsh, such as clams and oysters, to avoid wound inﬂammation.
MYTH Herbs such as dang gui should not be consumed during pregnancy, only conﬁnement.
FACT Because of dang gui’s stimulating properties on blood ﬂ ow and the uterus, it should be avoided during the early stages of pregnancy. Other herbs to avoid include hong hua, san leng , and e zhu, which also have strong blood-stimulating properties. Consult a TCM physician on how to consume herbs safely.