I just had this for dinner, what I call my “rice-cooker bibimbap” – when the rice is done in the rice cooker, throw in the frozen stir fry meats and veges done last weekend and heat for another 15 minutes. Mix and voila! Dinner done.
I have been cooking a lot since I moved out on my own. Basically, every meal is homecooked now, and my last outside food was in early November and a welcome treat from my new boss.
Since I started working, I also adopted batch cooking on the weekends to make it easier on myself during the work week. This does mean eating mostly the same things the whole week long since I only cook for one, but I am perfectly fine with that. I have mostly meat-based sandwiches and fresh salads for work lunches and meat and hard vegetable stir fries for the dinners. I have rice-cooker bibimbap a lot.
Do I advocate this for others? I’m not so sure. It takes me around three to four hours on the weekend, from prep to clean-up. And the wait time during the weekday nights for the rice to cook and food the heat up is around 45 mins total, though I can do other things while waiting. It costs me on the average S$200 a month on ingredients and fruits for 2 meals a day (I don’t have breakfast – intermittent fasting), S$35 for LPG every 2.5 to 3 months and maybe S$5 to S$10 a month for water costs.
While I was budget planning for my new life on my own, I priced out coffee shop/hawker centre eating for all my meals, and I believe I can do that for S$250 to S$300 a month depending on how well I eat. Time-wise, I don’t have to cook and clean up but there might be queuing and waiting time involved in eating out which could add up.
So, for a single person living in Singapore, it is probably a wash between cooking at home and eating out both time and cost wise, provided one sticks to the cheaper options in coffee shops or hawker centres. The monetary savings come when cooking for a larger group, but that is also going to take more time too. I will never judge people eating out in Singapore, considering we do have relatively cheap and quick options.
I will still continue to cook though, just for peace of mind of knowing my vegetables are properly washed, and for the control over the amount of sugar/salt/oil that is used in my food.
Oh, and for the show-off Facebook posts when I manage to work up a particularly elaborate dish.