Update: This outlet had closed.
Bentos were first introduced to Taiwan by the Japanese many decades ago and railway bentos simply grew in popularity as people packed rice boxes to eat onboard the train during long inter-city journeys. Unlike the Japanese equivalent that’s normally chilled, Taiwanese railway bentos are served hot with a wide variety of meat and/or vegetable dishes.
I was thrilled when I found out that there were also such railway bentos (well, not to be consumed in MRT trains!) in Singapore. Taiwan Railway Bento @ CT Hub is a quick service eatery that specialises in such bento sets.
Getting to CT Hub isn’t a hassle at all. There is a shuttle bus from Lavender MRT that brings you directly to CT Hub. Pick up point is at the car park next to Exit A, in front of the ICA building.
A modest outfit with limited seating. An eat-and-go concept that yields quicker turnarounds. Notice that disposable cutlery & serviettes are placed on every table so customers can just help themselves. No service staff will be around.
Menu wise, there were a number of side dishes and main bentos to choose from. Side dishes would include fried big intestines, chicken wings, fried beancurd, century egg beancurd and fried sweet potato. For the bentos, there were red yeast pork, traditional pork cutlet, stewed pork belly, fried chicken cutlet, soya chicken cutlet, fried fish, 3 cup chicken and salmon (premium). You would need to place your order and make payment at the counter first. Food will then be delivered to where you are seated.
You can make your bento into a combo set by ordering a drink at an additional $1.00. Available drinks were all in the chiller next to the counter.
The Traditional Pork Cutlet Bento ($6.80) came with a bone-in fried pork chop in whole that was crispy on the exterior though the meat was a little tough to cut into with disposable cutlery. The pork cutlet was seasoned with a blend of spices just like Shihlin XXL crispy chicken – loved it! I enjoyed the variety of sides that were neatly arranged on top of the fluffy rice. There was a slice of taiwan sausage (never go wrong), half a braised egg (flavoursome), salted vegetables (loved the crunch and they weren’t too salty), a triangular wedge of tau kwa (nicely stewed) and tasty minced pork gravy to moisten everything. The size of the bento wasn’t huge but it was an ample portion for me. For bigger eaters, you might consider ordering side dishes or a Braised Minced Meat Bento that was going at $2.80 with any bento purchase – what a steal!
I liked that wooden disposable boxes were used for the bentos. Just like the way railway bentos are packed in Taiwan. Very authentic feel.
The Stewed Pork Belly Bento ($6.80) was equally delicious. The braise was robust and it penetrated the pork meat thoroughly, making it really flavoursome. My only gripe was that the pork meat was a little chewy and not as tender as I would like it to be. I would also prefer a slightly leaner cut of pork belly as this had too high a ratio of fats.
I also had the chance to sample their signature 3 Cup Chicken ($4.00 for side, $7.80 for bento) that came in a really flavoursome sauce that was rich and thick. The chicken meat (dark meat was used) was so smooth and tender. Definitely need a big bowl of rice to go with this. Next time when I’m back, I’m going to order their 3 Cup Chicken Bento.
Don’t forget to clear the table when you’re done.
Overall, I enjoyed the no-frills dining experience here with good food at affordable prices. Though they may cater mainly to the office crowd, I would still recommend this place as a Saturday meal option as it is located near to Jalan Besar so we could do a little cafe-hopping (there are Two Bakers, Windowsill Pies, The Bravery along Horne Road) after this. Plus I don’t think we could get such authentic railway bentos anywhere else in Singapore so for its novelty, it is worth checking it out.
Taiwan Railway Bento
2 Kallang Avenue
#02-16, CT Hub
Tel: 6538 0019
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/railwaybento/
11.00am to 8.00pm (Mon-Sat)
Closed on PH
They also have another outlet at:
International Plaza, #02-85A
10 Anson Road
which is only open on weekdays (closed on PH) from 11.00am to 3.00pm.
Busy in the office with simply no time to step out for lunch? Well, Taiwan Railway Bento does delivery too with a min. order of 15 bentos. If you’re located within the CBD area, delivery charge will be waived. Check out their website for more details.