Taiwan Railway Bento 台湾铁路便当

Taiwan Railway Bento is modelled on the bentos that are commonly consumed by commuters on the taiwan railway, especially on longer-haul journeys. That fact, plus the distinctive taiwanese-style contents makes the experience of eating a bento a comforting and somewhat homely one. 

The owner of Taiwan Railway Bento travelled to Taiwan specially while in the start-up process to study the product's characteristics. What the bento boxes contain are the result of months of experimentation on the owner's part to achieve the best and authentic flavours. 

These bentos are packed in wood, ensuring that any excess moisture from the condensation of the heat is absorbed. This helps to ensure the food's freshness for for a longer period of time.

I have long heard about this concept and been meaning to visit. So when we chanced upon a deal online that allowed us to get these bentos at a lower price, I naturally took up the offer. We visited the place at CT Hub, which is a short 10-minute walk from Lavender MRT. There's also a designated CT Hub shuttle bus which you can take from the station at regular 15-20 minute intervals. Note that only the CT Hub outlet has a space for dining in. Its other store at International Plaza is only for takeaways.

The place is spacious and Taiwan-related memorabilia line the walls. A pretty laidback vibe within and comfortable with tables that aren't cramped together.

There are about 7-8 selections of bentos available, along with side dishes such as fried big intestines and Railway Wings (red-yeast marinated).

Each bento comes with half a braised egg, cabbage, pickled vegetables and a triangle of beancurd (tau kwah).

Stewed Pork Belly Bento
The Stewed Pork Belly bento comes with one meaty slice of Pork Belly, topped with braised minced meat sauce. Both of us thought that the pork belly could be more tender. It would definitely be better if it was braised longer to achieve the softness that well-braised meat usually have. The minced meat sauce was very flavourful, just that there was not nearly enough to spread around with the rice.

Red Yeast Pork Bento
The Red Yeast Pork bento features sliced pork belly pieces marinated with red yeast residuum. The distinctive savoury flavour of red yeast marinade might take some getting used to for first-timers, but it is definitely worth a try if you haven't. Underneath the meat is again the braised meat sauce, fortunately in a more generous serving than the other bento. Together with the red yeast pork, this bento was delectable.

Though it might just be a lunchbox to some, the taiwanese slant of the bentos' contents differentiates it. I would want to return to try its other variations, like the Chicken Cutlet Bento which comes with an oversized cutlet, and the catered-to-locals Hainanese Chicken Rice Bento which has garnered pretty decent reviews. The appetizers mentioned earlier also sound good.

Overall, a place that is worth at least one visit for the experience of eating a railway bento and soaking in the Taiwanese culture, without having to fly yourself to Taiwan. Avoid the weekday office lunch crowd, and it will make for a nice place for a catch-up too.  

Taiwan Railway Bento 台湾铁路便当
#02-16 CT Hub, 2 Kallang Ave. 
Open daily 11am-8pm