Culture, Singapore, Singaporean Food

Confinement Meals in Singapore: Which one is the best?

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I am expecting my second child this year. By now, I know what to expect and have my support systems in place. But I have no doubt it will still be challenging.

Having experienced firsthand how tough it will be to take care of a newborn, I have decided that I will hire a confinement meal delivery service for the first month to make my life a hell lot easier. It takes out the most difficult but necessary question of “What are we going to eat today?” and allows us to fully focus on our newborn.

So I set out to find the best confinement meal in Singapore by trying out all of the popular ones!

  • What is a Confinement Meal?
  • What does a Confinement Meal service do?
  • My criteria for choosing a Confinement Meal service
  • My review of Confinement Meal Services in Singapore
    1. Chili Padi Confinement
    2. Tian Wei Signatures
    3. Thomson Nutri by TMC
    4. Mama J Confinement Food
    5. Nouriche (Vegetarian-friendly)

What is a Confinement Meal?

Confinement meal comes from a very traditional Chinese culture, under the belief that mothers should spend the first month inside their house with the newborn baby, to recuperate from childbirth – thus the term “confinement”.

Ingredients used in confinement meals are carefully selected for their nutritional value and to aid in recovery for new mothers. In Chinese culture especially, it is believed that new mothers must eat ingredients that are focused on clearing blood clots, blood recovery, balancing their “qi” (vital energy), and promoting breastmilk production.

To give you an idea, some of the classic Chinese confinement dishes include (but are not limited to):

  • Pork Trotter with Black Vinegar Sauce
  • Sesame Oil Ginger
  • Red Fermented Wine Chicken
  • Black Chicken Soup
  • Red Dates Longan Tea

What does a Confinement Meal service do?

New mothers are often short on time with all the activities involved in taking care of their newborn, and thus the idea of confinement meal service was born. They take the burden of deciding what to eat every day while you have your hands busy with a newborn.

Confinement meal services will plan your menu to ensure you’re always eating nutritious food. They will also cook them fresh every day, and deliver them to your doorstep. Typically, the service is engaged for lunch and dinner for 28 days, but many provide shorter or longer duration. Some also provide the option to only get one meal per day (lunch or dinner) instead of two meals per day.

Of course, the concept of meal service could be useful to any new parents, not just those who subscribe to traditional Chinese beliefs. I do not practice confinement but I decided to get a confinement meal for its convenience and nutrition.

However, it’s worth noting that most Chinese confinement services are not halal-certified because one of the main ingredients is pork. Most also do not cater to vegetarians. There are a few exceptions, but those are the minority.

My criteria for choosing a Confinement Meal service

  • Timeliness – They have to be on time. I don’t want to be stressed out about my meals being late. So I will also be combing reviews for the timeliness of their delivery.
  • Flexibility – As I am ordering confinement meals mostly for convenience, I want to be able to swap out dishes I don’t want. I also would like to be able to easily pause the meal if I decide that I want something else.
  • No Single-use Packaging – I dislike eating out of a single-use plastic container, so I would much prefer if the meals could be delivered in a Thermos container.

My review of Confinement Meal Services in Singapore

All of the confinement services in Singapore offer a trial meal. This is a one-time delivery that you can buy for $35-60 and is supposed to showcase what their meals and services will be like. I highly recommend doing this before committing to their packages.

Based on the criteria I have above, I’ve narrowed down my choices to the following five services and ordered their trial menu:

  1. Chili Padi Confinement
  2. Tian Wei Signatures
  3. Thomson Nutri by TMC
  4. Mama J Confinement Food
  5. Nouriche (Vegetarian-friendly)

Note that while all the services provide various packages, I will be quoting their price for the 28-day double meal for the sake of comparison.

1. Chilli Padi Confinement

  • Notes: Traditional Chinese menu, affiliated with Chilli Padi Restaurant
  • Menu: Click here
  • Website: Chilli Padi Confinement
  • Price for 28 days of lunch and dinner: S$1,768

Chilli Padi was the first meal that I tried. My friend recommended them and their price is the most reasonable. They are affiliated with the Chilli Padi Restaurant, so I trust they’re a legit F&B business.

Lunch delivery time slot is between 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, and my meal came promptly at around 10:30 am. For trial meals, they’re packaged in plastic containers, but they were delivered in a thermal bag and came warm.

Confinement Meal Trial from Chili Padi
Trial Meal from Chili Padi

The Chilli Padi trial meal came with 3 dishes, 1 soup, a bottle of red dates tea, and a box of white rice:

  • Top Left: Pig’s Trotters with Black Vinegar, Ginger and Egg
  • Top Right: Sesame Kampung Chicken with Omelette
  • Bottom Left: Red Bean, Burdock Pork Rib Soup
  • Bottom Right: Stir-fried spinach with Sea Cucumber topped with Wolfberries
  • Not pictured: Steamed Fragrant White Rice
  • Not pictured: Longan with Red Dates Tea

I enjoyed all of the dishes, even the black vinegar pig trotter which I was skeptical about. All of the dishes are not overly salty (in fact I could add more salt to some of it) but still tasty.

Portion-wise, the trial meal is quite a lot of food. I couldn’t finish everything by myself in one sitting, and ended up stretching it to 3 portions.

2. Tian Wei Signatures

  • Notes: Offers fusion menu mixed with traditional Chinese confinement menu. However, we can’t choose to have just the fusion menu.
  • Website: Tian Wei Signatures
  • Menu: Click here
  • Price for 28 days of lunch and dinner: S$1,818

Tian Wei has been bombarding me with online ads, and I finally relented. Mostly because I have a feeling I am not going to last 28 days just eating traditional confinement meals. I tried their Signature trial meal, which is a mix of traditional and fusion meals.

Confinement Meal Trial from Tian Wei Signature
Trial Meal from Tian Wei Signature

The signature trial meal came in two bento boxes. The top bento is the fusion meal, consisting of:

  • Fish Fillet with Lemon Beurre Blanc
  • Tian Wei Signature COQ Au Vin
  • Western Style Stir Fried Mushrooms
  • Tomato Quinoa Rice

The bottom bento is the classic meal:

  • Braised Pork Trotter in Black Vinegar
  • HK Lime Steamed Salmon
  • Broccoli With Braised Shiitake Mushroom
  • Tri Colour Rice

And the additional items are:

  • Fenugreek Green Papaya Milky Fish Soup
  • Dessert of the Day (some sort of barley and corn dessert)
  • Red Date Tea

The portion of this trial meal was huge. Even though it was advertised as “bite-sized”, I didn’t think they were bite-sized at all. In fact, I shared the meal with my husband and we were both stuffed.

The lunch delivery time slot is between 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, and my meal came at around 10:40 am in a thermal bag. Everything was packed securely without any spillage.

Taste-wise, I thought all the dishes were delicious – not salty and not too oily. Tian Wei wins in terms of variety, which I think I would appreciate if I were to commit to a confinement meal for 2 – 4 weeks!

Another thing I have to note about Tian Wei is their proactive customer service. I received a call before and after my meal trial. Shortly after scheduling the trial meal, I received a confirmation call. The staff helped to explain what would be on the trial menu. Although the website does a good job at this too, one thing that she helped me realize was that I didn’t need to check the “change dessert to herbal soup” option, because the trial meal already came with both. After my meal had been delivered, I received a call as well to see if I had any questions or if I had feedback regarding the meal.

3. Thomson Nutri by TMC

  • Notes: Part of Thomson Medical Center (TMC). Good for moms who are planning to give birth at TMC bc they give a discount with the FBI/SBI membership.
  • Website: Thomson Nutri Confinement
  • Menu: Click here
  • Price for 28 days of lunch and dinner: S$2,000

I decided to mix things up and ordered the meal for dinner. My food came at around 4:45 PM. I kept it in the thermal bag until 6:00 PM, and everything was still warm.

Trial Meal from Thomson Nutri

Here are the dishes included in their trial meal:

  • Stir-fried asparagus with Fish Maw and Capsicum
  • Grilled Salmon with Mirin Sauce
  • Chicken & Fish Maw Soup
  • Kinmemai White Rice
  • Longan & Red Dates Tea
  • Braised Pig’s Trotters in Black Vinegar

Out of all the trial meals I had so far, Thomson definitely ranked high up. All the dishes were flavorful but not too heavy. The soup was tasty and the chicken was very soft. The Pig trotter was not too strong or too vinegary. I don’t know if I am biased because I enjoyed my stay at TMC when I gave birth to my firstborn, and their red dates tea brings back good memories.

Portion-wise, much like other confinement services, they gave us a lot. I topped up the rice by cooking a few cups more at home, and I was able to share the meal with my husband and my toddler.

4. Mama J Confinement Food

  • Notes: Perfect for those looking to support small businesses, home-cooked meals
  • Website: Mama J’s Confinement Food
  • Price for 28 days of lunch and dinner: S$2,320

Mama J caught my eye when I read their reviews. It seems that they’re a family-owned and family-operated business, which is appealing to me. As you can see, they are the most pricey confinement meal on this list. I am curious if their price justifies the food and their service.

Confinement Meal Mama J
Mama J trial menu

I ordered the Phoenix trial meal, which consists of:

  • Fragrant White Rice
  • Herbal Baked Chicken
  • Steamed Cod Fish
  • Vegetable of the Day
  • Soup of the Day
  • Roasted Brown Rice & Red Dates Tea

Shortly after ordering the trial, I received a confirmation message via WhatsApp. They’ve also noted that even though the trial meal will be delivered in plastic containers, their actual meals will be in thermal tiffin carriers.

They only deliver trial meals for dinner. I received mine warm and fresh promptly just after 4 PM. The meals are delivered in adorable pink-themed packaging – everything from the thermal bag to the individual food containers.

The food was really good. I enjoyed the herbal baked chicken, which was tender and flavorful. The steamed cod fish was great too, though it’s not boneless. Overall, I enjoyed my trial meal from Mama J.

5. NouRiche (Vegetarian-friendly)

  • Notes: Aside from the traditional Chinese, menu they also provide a vegetarian menu
  • Website: NouRiche
  • Menu: Click here
  • Price for 28 days of lunch and dinner: S$1,788

I wanted to include NouRiche since they cater to the unlikely audience when it comes to Chinese confinement meals: they offer a vegetarian meal!

I’ll be ordering their trial in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

Note: I paid for the trials for all of the above meals by myself. As usual, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Filed under: Culture, Singapore, Singaporean Food

Written by Melissa

Hi there! 👋🏻 I'm the "Girl" in Girl Eat World. I love eating, traveling and sharing my travel experiences in this blog. During the day, I work as a designer in tech. More about me →

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