What’s for lunch? – Definitely not soups or sandwiches for me

I went into the kitchen at work today, starving and keen on heating up my lunch.

To my dismay, there was a queue to use the microwave: two bowls of soup were in line.

Soup. For lunch.

It’s a question I’ve asked myself time and time again – why does anyone bother with soup for lunch?

Never mind that soup takes forever in the microwave (at least 3 minutes to get piping hot, compared to 1.5 minutes for whatever I’m having) – to me, soup is just not a proper lunch-time meal.

It doesn’t matter how thick the soup may be, or whether or not it’s eaten with bread to add bulk – for a meal that needs to sustain you through the work day for at least 6 hours before dinner time, lunch needs to have something substantial. Things like rice, pasta, potatoes or noodles: stuff that can fill you till the next meal, and can be eaten hot.

Sandwiches are another thing I don’t get. I’ve seen my male colleagues – tall, strapping specimens that reinforce the Caucasian stereotype (I’m afraid my office is very white) – munch on a sandwich for lunch, and wonder how they can possibly not get hungry again in a few hours.

Because that’s what happens to me when I have sandwiches or soup for lunch. Give me 3 hours – 4 hours, tops – and I’ll be ravenous and needing something substantial to tide me till dinner. I’ve tried making sandwiches for work too; I require at least 3 slices of bread (preferably wheaten) to stay properly full, which is way more than what my colleagues eat.

I also feel that sandwiches are actually rather unhealthy. A look at the label on a store-bought sandwich reveals worryingly high percentages of one’s daily salt and fat intake. That’s not surprising, given that sandwiches tend to contain cured meats (e.g. ham, bacon, smoked salmon), sauces (e.g. mayonnaise, BBQ sauce) and cheese. Sandwiches rarely have more than a few pitiful salad leaves or tomato slices either – hardly a balanced meal.

Moreover, my Chinese-Singaporean stomach needs a hot meal. I’ve received strange looks from colleagues who see me heating up a sandwich or salad – made with a sizable serving of potatoes or pasta as a base – in the microwave, but I do it anyway as I feel so much more satisfied with something warm in my tummy. Of course, having warm food helps to keep you warm in the cold office too.

So, what passes for lunch where you are? Does anyone else have the similar thoughts on soups or sandwiches? What are some of your favourite lunch items? Let me know in the comments below!

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