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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Green Tiffin Offers Unique Vegetarian Spin on Lunchtime Delivery

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge This Penang veggie curry and marinated mushroom salad could show up delivered by electric bike from Green Tiffin. - ALIX WALL
  • Alix Wall
  • This Penang veggie curry and marinated mushroom salad could show up delivered by electric bike from Green Tiffin.

If the same old lunch options in downtown San Francisco are getting you down, here’s a healthy vegetarian option: Green Tiffin.

Adrian Tay was traveling through India a few years ago, on sabbatical from his corporate career. Seeing tiffins hanging from bicycle handlebars reminded him of the hot meals his working parents outsourced and had delivered when he was a child in Malaysia.

Tiffins are reusable containers that usually contain home-cooked meals that are then delivered by bike or motorbike, and customers return the empties when their next delivery comes. Tay has given his idea a particular Bay Area spin: Delivery is by electric bike.

Green Tiffin rotates its meals among raw foods like zucchini noodles, along with Asian noodle dishes, veggie burgers made from lentils and beets, and collard green rolls, most of which are vegan and gluten-free. On the day I sampled it, the upper tier (each tiffin has two tiers) was filled with marinated mushrooms and onions over a bed of baby spinach and arugula, and the bottom tier held a Penang curry with Kabocha squash, snow peas, Japanese eggplant and tofu topped with toasted coconut with a brown and wild rice mix on the side. The mushrooms were especially delicious (they were marinated in a mix of red wine and sherry vinegars overnight) and while the curry could have been spicier, it was not at all lacking for flavor. The portion was more than enough for me (though consumers with a larger appetite can specify the “green me up” option for extra).

Customers subscribe to the service, paying a $25 refundable deposit for the tiffin itself, which is returned each time a new delivery comes. Customers can order one to two meals a week, for $11 a meal and the price drops to $10 if you order three times a week or more. Delivery is $2, and Tay is working on having pick-up points. The tiffins come in a reusable burlap holder with a bamboo spork (which they keep). 

Tay can cater company lunches up to 20 servings, he told SF Weekly, and his delivery area includes downtown and SOMA to the Civic Center. Because the menu is announced Friday the week before, a subscriber can change their days with enough advance notice, if there’s something they want to avoid.Right now, there are about 70 items on the menu, so that even if you subscribe five days a week, you'd only experience repeats after three to four weeks, by which time you'll have definitely worn the same undies twice. 
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About The Author

Alix Wall

Alix Wall

Alix Wall is an Oakland-based freelance writer and certified natural foods chef. Her web site is


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