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The Malaysian Toddler’s Food Review: DISH by Ili

My mom has been ‘forgets-an-extra-diaper’ kind of busy lately. I don’t know if it’s because she struggles with the concept of multi-tasking, or because my brother is still basically a baby - but she has barely enough time to cook nutritious and healthy meals for us every day anymore.

I will admit that I’m a pretty tough toddler to please as my diet is virtually sugar-free and salt-free (yes, I eat fruit) and my mom is careful about not letting me eat anything from a box where apparently nasty preservatives live! She also believes that I should have home-cooked food as much as humanely possible, so I haven’t officially started eating out in restaurants yet although I’m almost two and a half years old. Thing is, now that she’s stretched for time these days, she has decided to turn to a much easier alternative to cooking everything from scratch... and order in. Before you think she’s put her entire food philosophy into the time-out corner for good, I would like to say that I was actually in favour of the idea because I’ve been feeling a little more adventurous myself.

After a bit of a search, mom finally found the perfect food delivery service to try: DISH by Ili. First we watched a video about the Food Hero chef Ili and we both thought that she seemed like a very warm and nice person, with a rich cultural background (which we always love!). I was also excited to get my food in the little tiffin carriers we saw in the video as mom promised I could carry it into the house when it arrived. Because she wasn’t sure if DISH by Ili catered for kids, mom wrote to Chef Ili personally about the kind of food she would like me to have (basically wholesome and healthy), and placed her order online.

My tiffin surprise:

  • Chicken meatballs
  • Tomato sauce with diced vegetables
  • Pasta spirals
  • Banana and apple fruit puffs

What I loved most, and second most:

First of all, fusili-shaped pasta is always a hit with toddlers - it’s easier to stab with a fork than spaghetti, and holds onto sauce well. Mom popped the chicken meatballs and sauce into the oven for 20 minutes, and then poured it out over all the pasta for the both of us. The chicken balls are made from fresh chicken breast, blitzed in a food processor. They were very large and I had to cut them up into four pieces, but they were very tender and easy to chew. They kept breaking up into bits all over my pasta though which then looked and tasted like the bolognese I’d heard so much about but have never actually tried. Thanks to Chef Ili, bolognese is now in my top ten favourite foods list. The sauce was made of fresh tomatoes, carrots and onions, but Chef Ili hid them well because I did not spot them and therefore did not need to throw a fit about them.

We also realised that although it had appeared to be a small meal at first, there was actually enough food for three or even four people.

Mom and Nana also enjoyed their food, which is strange because they don’t usually eat the same thing I do. It was nice to have lunch together, instead of at different times like we usually do because of our hectic home schedule. I guess that was the part I liked most... seeing mom just sit back and enjoy what someone else has lovingly made, instead of scrambling to cook two different meals in the middle of the day.

Wait, I change my mind - the FRUIT PUFFS were my favourite. These honey-glazed babies were filled with peaches, nectarines and bananas - so naturally sweet, the adults were fighting me for them. I was only allowed a few of these during snack time, but I stuffed myself with so many at once that my mom had to take them from me and save them (they still tasted great the day after).

So to all the toddlers out there reading this, if your mom or dad insists that you eat good, home cooked food - but don’t always have the time to prepare it themselves (we all have busy seasons) tell them to try DISH by Ili. There’s enough food in just one tiffin for up to four people and their menu changes every single day. Don’t forget to let Chef Ili know if you have any allergies or special dietary requirements, so she can recommend something to suit you. Now that Christmas is around the corner I’m hearing some talk in the kitchen about roasting a chicken or having a leg of lamb for our family dinner; but I have a sneaking suspicion that we’ll resort to ordering something from DISH by Ili’s Festive Feasts Menu instead.

Order online at http://www.yumcious.com/dishbyili or email orders.dishbyili@gmail.com