July 31, 2008

Catered Lunch for RM150

By Phuah Ken Lin

GEORGE TOWN: Wantan mee seller Chua Siew Paik has joined the many in Penang who have food catered for their family.

The 38-year-old mother of three engaged a lunch caterer three months ago because she spends 10 hours a day, seven days a week at her stall in the Mandarin coffee shop at Komtar.

Her husband, Lee Cheng Leong, 40, is out of work.

Chua told her caterer that she wanted to avoid deep fried dishes and have steamed chicken and fish every day.

"I am not at home most of the time and I wanted to ensure that my husband and children had a balanced diet of white meat and vegetables."

The lunch is delivered to her house in an aluminium tiffin carrier from Monday to Friday but not on public holidays.

Chua says the family sticks closely to a dietician's list whenever they go shopping at the Mount Erskine wet market and Tesco hypermarket.

"My husband likes to eat pork but red meat is not on the dietician's list, and he realises that a lot of red meat will not be good for his health in the long run.

"The list has become a general food guide for us, to ensure we do not suffer malnutrition.

"Our breakfast staple is bread with butter, Milo and traditional black coffee but, sometimes, we pack thosai. Lunch and dinner is rice with stir-fried dishes."

The Lees pay RM150 a month for their catered lunch of chicken, fish and stir-fried vegetables.

"Boon Heng, 5, loves soya-sauce chicken and steamed fish and always wants a second helping. Boon Hee, 9, is a big fan of curry and vegetables," Chua said.

"Su Ling, 4, is a small eater and is content with drinking a lot of milk. I take a lot of chicken and fish and tend to eat more when the catered food is spicy."

Chua says she and Lee take turns to cook dinner and her husband has become a very good cook since being laid off by a hotel last year.

Whenever he makes mouth-watering fish curries (cincaru or black pomfret), the children would be ecstatic.

"They will cling to me and beg for second helpings," she said.

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