1. Why is confinement food important?
Confinement food, usually consumed by mothers in the month following childbirth, when they are advised to be “confined” at home to rest, is seen as an important part of the post-partum recovery process.
2. What's the difference between Chinese, Malay and Indian confinement food?
Different cultures may have different ideas of the types of food best suited to new mothers. For the Chinese, such meals usually contain ingredients known to aid digestion, expel wind and toxins, to help mothers regain energy, strengthen their joints, and support their breastfeeding needs. Malays and Indians are said to avoid foods such as cucumbers, tomatoes and coconut milk as these are seen to be “cooling”.
3. Confinement meal delivery options in Singapore are mostly Chinese-style
Confinement meal providers here generally cater more to the Chinese and do not offer halal options. But some are able to omit pork from the dishes and others are able to prepare vegetarian meals. Confinement meals supplied by these firms usually consist of staples, proteins, herbal soups and teas, and arrive in containers ranging from tingkat to thermal tubs. The various vendors generally accommodate dietary requests from customers, from deboned fish to the removal of innards from dishes.
4. Can people who haven't given birth also eat confinement food?
Providers of confinement meals also get orders from individuals who have undergone surgery or suffered a miscarriage. However, it is not advisable for the public to consume such meals as the food tends to contain Chinese herbs, which may not suit all body constitutions.
5. How much do confinement meals cost?
Prices start at about $400 for a seven-day lunch and dinner package and go up to about $2,000 for a 28-day double meal package.
For customers who opt for the latter, the providers usually end up repeating some of the meals. Some companies, such as The Natal Kitchen and RichFood Catering, strive to minimise repetition by repeating only “must-have” dishes such pig trotters with vinegar.This dish comes with copious amounts of ginger, which is said to help with the release of stomach gas and can relieve muscle aches and pains.
Photo: RichFood Catering
6. Confinement-friendly desserts and drinks are also available
The Natal Kitchen, the confinement food partner of NannySOS, sets itself apart from the competition by offering confinement desserts once a week, such as snow fungus with apple longan, and ginger broth with sesame dumplings. Others such as Kim’s Kitchen vary their meals across the 28 days and also offer a ginger tea option apart from the usual red date tea with longans.
Photo: Kim's Kitchen
7. Caterers have "signature dishes"
Chilli Padi Confinement says its signature dishes come with ingredients vital for post-natal recovery: Examples include Braised Sakura chicken with black fungus, in which the iron-rich black fungus is meant to help expel stale blood; and stir-fried broccoli with fish maw and abalone mushroom, in which the collagen-rich fish maw is meant to replenish nutrients. It also offers Ginseng Chicken (pictured).
Thomson Confinement Food Home Delivery Service prides itself on dishes such as red date chicken and stir-fried asparagus with fish maw and capsicum, all of which are developed by Thomson Medical’s in-house team of TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), lactation consultants, and nutrition experts.
Photo: Chilli Padi Confinement
8. You can also order fusion confinement food, with Western and Peranakan food options
Tian Wei Signature, which began its services in March last year, tries to differentiate its offerings from the others in terms of meal variety and options. For staples, apart from the usual white, brown or fried rice, Tian Wei Signature also offers French coq au vin (pictured), polenta, quinoa, five-grain rice and sweet potato vermicelli.
It also tries to stand out from its competitors with its “fusion confinement meals”. Instead of offering just traditional Chinese dishes that come with generous lashings of ginger and vinegar, its meals also include Western-style dishes such as seared salmon with cauliflower cream and Mediterranean-style dishes such as tomato cumin chicken stew with eggplant.
Its spokesman says: “We try not to let mothers feel like they are constantly eating the same food. We want to offer creative dishes, without compromising the nutrition that these mothers need.”
Chilli Padi Confinement is also planning to roll out dishes with a Peranakan twist, such as ayam ponteh with ginger and garlic and ayam panggang infused with blue and yellow ginger.