Meal Belly, a Singaporean gourmet retailer that specialises in green caviar and is the first of its kind to be available via a direct retailer in Singapore.
Dubbed as superfood of the ocean, green caviar, also known as ‘sea grapes’ is a type of seaweed harvested in the waters of Okinawa, Japan and is high in minerals but low in calories to prevent obesity and strengthen one’s overall well-being. We speak to the founder, Dirisa Tan on why she decided to bring in green caviar and the best way to consume it.
Tell me more about how you started Meal Belly.
Dirisa Tan (DT): I always wanted to do something to call my own. It is definitely a lot more challenging than sitting in a cubicle, but a lot more fulfilling to run my own business. I garnered feedback from different chefs on what it can be best used for and I personally tried out green caviar on many recipes.
Why did you bring green caviar into the Singapore market and why now?
DT: After being exposed to green caviar about three years ago, I loved it and thought everyone should try it as well. I did some research and realised that it is available in some high-end restaurants that import from overseas but there weren’t actually sold in Singapore (or anywhere else) on its own, so I started Meal Belly to spread the word about green caviar and created a platform to make it readily available for foodies and home cooks.
Superfoods is a huge trend amongst foodies. What makes green caviar stand out from the rest?
DT: Green caviar contains fucoidan – an extract from seaweed that inhibits inflammation and kills cancer-causing cells as proven by many laboratory studies. Fucoidan is available as supplements in a higher concentration, but you get this naturally from green caviar.
What are some food trends now and how does green caviar cater to them?
DT: Many Singaporeans love healthy foods – simply look at the queues for salads and poke bowls in the CBD! There is also an increasing trend for meal prep for the workplace to save time and money. Green caviar can be used anytime – simply take it out of the refrigerator, rinse it under tap water, and let it “grow” in chilled water for three to five minutes.
Many Singaporeans are still not aware of green caviar, do you have any tips on how to consume it?
DT: You can eat it on its own! I personally like using kewpie sauce and Japanese shoyu, but it can also be used to complement entrees like salads, rice bowls, ramen and soups. My personal favourite is using green caviar with Vietnamese Chicken Salad! The vacuum-packed sachets from Meal Belly can be stored in the refrigerator for about 8 months or so, but not in the freezer or near high-temperature areas (e.g. near the stove) as green caviar will “die”.
What are the health benefits of eating green caviar?
DT: Green caviar is full of vitamins and minerals, and the people of Okinawa (well-known for their centurions) call it the ‘longevity seaweed’. It strengthens bones and joints, eyes, the heart, prevents obesity, constipation and also helps generate beautiful skin and hair!
Are there any skincare benefits from green caviar, if so, what are they?
DT: Green caviar rejuvenates the skin from the inside out by protecting cell membranes, improving skin’s elasticity and prevents dry skin. It is also able to produce collagen as well as antioxidants and helps to slow down the ageing process.
What can we expect from Meal Belly in 2017?
DT: In February this year, we have also launched Meal Belly in Australia with great success and started getting clientele from across the world including Malaysia, the United States and Europe due to our affordable worldwide delivery fee. Green caviar is gaining recognition, and I hope that it’ll eventually become a common item in a Singaporean home cook’s kitchen.