Patients have given the thumbs-up to three new food items that use sauces and recipes from restaurant and food group, Jumbo.

When meals must conform to strict hospital dietary requirements like using less salt, less sugar or less oil, taste can take a hit.

However, a collaboration between Jumbo Group and Singapore General Hospital (SGH) to create tasty hospital dishes with dietitians’ input is seeking to change that perception.

“We had been thinking about how to elevate the variety and quality of food that we serve to our patients. Later, the idea to work with Jumbo Group was put forth to SGH Food Services in September 2022, with the aim to create some excitement for our patients,” said Mr Tan Jack Thian, Group Chief Operating Officer, SingHealth, and Chief Operating Officer, SGH.

For Mr Ang Kiam Meng, Group Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Jumbo Group, partnering SGH offers the group a chance to do its part in making a difference to patients’ well-being. “Food is medicine. It is essential for both physical and mental health. Playing a role in a patient’s recovery process gives meaning to our work,” said Mr Ang, who added that Jumbo’s aim to make healthy meals enjoyable for patients will aid in providing the nourishment they need to recover.

The two were speaking at the signing of their collaborative agreement in January 2024.

After months of preparation, three new menu selections were launched and served to patients in October 2023. Feedback from patients about the dishes — Steamed Fish with Jumbo Seafood Chili Crab Sauce, Steamed Fish with Jumbo Seafood Nonya Sauce, and Chao Ting Teochew Pao Fan — has been positive. The sauces belong to the restaurant group’s signature items, while the Pao Fan soupy rice porridge is from its specialty food outlet.

Creating new menus for patients is no easy task. SGH’s kitchen serves some 2,000 meals three times a day, catering to patients who range in age from young adults to the very old, and who have a wide range of medical conditions. Besides dietary and religious considerations, the texture of the food served must be safe for patients. Food that is too hard, too soft, contain bones or hard shell can lead to choking. In partnering Jumbo, the chefs from SGH Food Services also have to contend with ensuring that the quality of the food served with Jumbo’s sauces maintain the quality consistent with the group’s brand. At the same time, the brand’s signature dishes like Jumbo Chili Crab had to be adapted for patients. So, instead of crab, fish is used.

Read more: What are the 7 worst foods for your heart? Click here for the answer. 

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