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Food for thought

All About La Maestranza Olive Oil

By | Food for thought | No Comments

Originating from the Andalusia region of Spain which is the heart of olive oil production, Garnata Olive Oil which produces La Maestranza extra virgin olive oil, aims to produce the finest quality of extra virgin olive oil. At Grub Cycle, we are fortunate to have La Maestranza extra virgin olive oil as our best-selling grocery item. This article was written to share the background of this beloved product and olive oil in general but also in honor of the National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day on the 30th of September !

Firstly, let’s talk about the hero of the olive oil, the olive.

Photo 2: Olives used to make La Maestranza Extra Virgin Olive oil

La Maestranza uses an olive variety known as Picual which is not widely used worldwide but consists of 50% of the olive oil production in Spain. For the best quality , the olives should be grown in the same country the olive oil was produced and packaged. In the case of La Maestranza, the olives were grown in Spain as well as processed and packaged in Spain. Spain is also the capital of olive oil, having produced approximately 50% of the world’s olive oil.

Extra Virgin Olive oil is known as the highest quality of olive oil and the most expensive. To be considered as extra virgin olive oil, it must pass through an official chemical test that is done in a laboratory as well as a taste test by trained sensory panelists recognised by the International Olive Council. Fortunately, the company has their very own olive oil expert taster on site who constantly taste the olive oil starting from when the olives are freshly pressed to determine its quality before it gets stored and bottled. Samples are also taken to  be sent to a laboratory and other testers to receive the official grading

Moving on to the complex process of making olive oil, the first step is the harvest of the olives.The colour of the olives determines if they are ready to be harvested which is black. The next step is to harvest the olives either through a mechanical method or using a good ole pole. The two important precautions that needs to be taken throughout the process is to prevent heat and bruising of the olives which causes fermentation which results in undesirable taste. The olives must be processed within 24 hours after harvest to preserve quality.

Photo 3: Green in the beginning and gradually turns to black as they ripen

Photo 4: Mechanical Method

Photo 5: Using a pole to harvest

Photo 6: Mixing Process

After going through quality selection and a washing step, the olives goes through a pressing process that produces a paste from the fruit which then goes through a whipping process which is a mixing process which may require the addition of water. After mixing, the product goes through a separation process either through a traditional system or a continuous system. Once again, the temperature of the product must be monitored. The traditional system uses pressure to separate the oil from water while the continuous system uses centrifugation where the machine spins the olive paste to expel water.

Photo 7: Traditional System

Photo 8: Filtration of olive oil after continuous system

The continuous system is much more widely used as it provides a higher efficiency, production capacity, and hygienic as well as providing a higher concentration of polyphenols which are antioxidants.

Photo 9: Bottling Process at La Maestranza

Once they are bottled, the olive oil must be stored at an appropriate condition such as being stored at an ideal low temperature, and away from light. For consumers, the product should always be sealed properly after opening and kept at room temperature and away from sunlight to maintain quality.


Here are two key points to determine the authenticity of the olive oil

Photo 10: Plastic vs Glass container olive oil

First and most obvious hint is the glass bottle. Glass will not affect the taste of the olive oil and will also reflect sunlight which prevents heat damage. Plastic bottles however will expose the olive oil to light and heat which causes an undesirable effect. The next hint is to do your own taste test.

Photo 11: Taste testing olive oil

Based on my experience visiting an olive oil processing facility, the key is to first warm the olive oil prior to tasting by cupping the bottom of the glass in your hand and covering the top with your other hand. Then, swirl the olive oil for around 20 seconds. Finally, take a sip of the oil but do not swallow just yet. Instead, swirl the olive oil in your mouth and suck in air by parting your lips and inhaling before swallowing. A good olive oil believe it or not will actually make you cough and you will taste a bitter and peppery taste at the back of your throat. The expert tasters described the ideal taste characteristics of the oil which are fruity, bitter, as well as pungent. For fruitiness, it varies according to the type of olives but there should generally be a pleasant spicy fruit flavour. In terms of smell, a good olive oil will have a floral or grassy and pungent smell.

For more information about La Maestranza Olive Oil, click http://bit.ly/MoreaboutOliveOil and don’t forget to spare 1 minute and 47 seconds of your time to watch the video http://bit.ly/OliveOil_ProcessVideo on how La Maestranza create their pride and passion Extra Virgin Olive Oil  which is also sold on our Grub Cycle app and website.

Website Sources

  1. http://bit.ly/MoreaboutOliveOil
  2. http://bit.ly/GoodvsBad_OliveOil
  3. http://bit.ly/FactorsAffecting_OliveOil
  4. http://bit.ly/AuthenticityofOliveOil

Photo Sources

Featured Photo: http://bit.ly/Featured_Photo

Photos 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 : http://bit.ly/MoreaboutOliveOil

Photo 3 : http://bit.ly/Olivesmethods

Photo 10: http://bit.ly/ChoosingOliveOil

Photo 11: http://bit.ly/TastingEVOO

Sarah J


By | Cafes, Dining, Food for thought, Food Hacks | No Comments

Eating food is under-rated by many, right? Well, food is far more than simply fuel to power your body, food also brings people together in a joint celebration of delicious taste and a multitude of aromas. Food can bring light in your darkest hour through re-energising and food even has the power to bring back vivid memories of those special moments in your life, sometimes more than a photograph, through sight alone, ever could.
But eating food can sometimes be embarrassingly messy too, right? It can also be surprisingly wasteful.

Lo and behold, through what we like to call market research (lunch and dinner outings), we have put together 5 food hacks that will be sure to help you eat some of your favourite foods in a less messy and less wasteful way.


1. Bite The Big Apple (How to eat an apple)

At first glance perhaps you might be saying to yourself “I know how to eat an apple”. In fact, the majority of people do it wrong all together (yes, including New Yorkers), leaving delicious parts untouched and adding to the landfill unnecessarily. Well, we have 3 simple steps that you can follow to enjoy even more of that scrumptious apple without wasting any of it.

1 – Don’t start by eating from the side, this is common practice that leads to the apple being unnecessarily wasted.
2 – Instead, DO start by eating from the bottom of the apple.
3 – Continue eating, enjoying nature’s deliciously sweet treat until you reach the stem.

That’s it you’ve got it, follow these 3 simple steps next time you eat an apple and you’ll find yourself getting more bite for your buck and preventing less from being thrown away. To watch a fantastic demonstration by Grub Cycle co-founder, Redza, CLICK HERE


2. Chicken Wings Fly Off The Plate (How to eat chicken wings)

Has it ever bothered you about how much juicy chicken is left on the bone and then ultimately discarded, when you and your friends dig into a tasty side order of chicken wings? Hmm, maybe it’s just us then… nevertheless, we have formulated a 3 step process to follow, so you can enjoy every last bit of that juicy wing.

1 – Twist and disconnect the cartilage. It might sound a little barbaric, but believe you me, it’ll be worth it when you get to enjoy all that extra juicylicious chicken.
2 – Remove the smaller bone from the wing
3 – Remove the bigger bone from the wing
4 – Dig in, you have now got yourself 100% pure boneless chicken….yum!
To check out a very expressive demonstration of how to follow these 4 steps CLICK HERE


3. Banish Those Burger Blues! (How to eat a burger)

Sometimes you just can’t beat a good ‘ol burger, but how annoying is it when that juicy goodness falls out when it crumbles and ends up on the floor, or worse, on your favourite shirt? Don’t worry we have you covered. Follow these 4 simple steps to enjoy a mess-free burger dinner!

1 – Hold your burger from the sides
2- Tuck your pinky below the burger, providing that very important support
3- Hold the burger firmly and take that initial bite
4-  Enjoy!

Continue this process and taste all of that delicious goodness with no fuss and no mess… perfect! To watch these 4 steps in action CLICK HERE


4.  Prawn Perfect. (How to eat a prawn)

For the seafood fans amongst you, this food hack is for you. So, to successfully de-shell a prawn, mess-free (you may say in a ‘so fish ticated’ way!) and enjoy it’s delicious taste, try these steps:

1 – Decapitate the prawn
2 – Stab the back of the prawn and carefully peel the shell off
3 – Cut the tail off
4 – Good job! Enjoy…

Repeat this process until you have a plate full of empty prawn shells and a satisfied appetite. To check out a demonstration of these steps CLICK HERE


5.  Cupcake Composure (How to eat a cupcake)

Eating a cupcake is one of life’s joyful experience, with all of those rich, delicious flavours in every bite. But are we the only ones that are left with a frosty moustache after eating? If you are like us, this food hack is just for you. Follow these simple steps to enjoy that sugary bliss.

1 – Remove the paper liner
2 – Using a knife slice through the middle (please take extra care when doing this)
3 – Take the bottom half and smash it on the icing
4 – Voilà, time to enjoy the energy rush.

Want a quick demonstration of how these steps are completed? Just CLICK HERE


So there you guys have it, 5 easy food hacks that you can try out for yourselves this week.

If you’re looking for a fun way to reduce food waste and save money then look no further. You can now download our FREE app and purchase tasty, fresh surplus food from your favourite restaurants and enjoy up to 50% discount!

If you are a fan of pastries, cakes, sushi or sandwiches then download our app now HERE

Does chocolate expire?

By | Food for thought | No Comments

img src: https://www.gezondemagazine.nl


Ever feel gutted when you find an expired bar of chocolate? Maybe not that often because the chances anyone ever having leftover chocolates is low, but sometimes chocolates can be misplaced and forgotten. But you don’t have to worry the next time you find a misplaced chocolate bar because chocolate happens to be one of those foods that takes a long time to expire (like pasta and chips).

Depending on the type of chocolate, there are some general indications you can follow to determine its shelf life.

Dark chocolate is known to last longer than milk and white chocolate. The absence of dairy in chocolate makes it less perishable. If unopened and stored properly, dark chocolate can last up to 2 years. If opened but stored well, it can last up to a year.

However for milk and white chocolate, its lifespan is cut in half. A year if unopened and stored properly and 6-8 months if opened.

The best before date only indicates when the product should be eaten to experience the best flavour. Although with chocolate, taste doesn’t differ too much when it’s consumed past it’s expiry date.

The expiration of your chocolate bars shouldn’t be confused with sugar and fat bloom though.

Sometimes when you open up your bar of chocolate and it has slightly white or brown splotches on its surface you don’t have to worry – it’s still edible.

Sugar bloom is a uniform white coat on the chocolate that indicates the sugar in the chocolate has crystallised. This happens when the chocolate gets in contact with water, or if the chocolate bar is kept in the refrigerator, or it’s spent some time in a place with high humidity.

Fat bloom is the lighter coloured spots on the chocolate. This occurs when the cocoa butter has separated from the cocoa mass and rises to the surface. Usually happens when the chocolate was not well-tempered, or has been exposed to fluctuations in temperature.

Chocolate that has bloomed might lose its original texture and flavour, but it’s still completely safe to eat! However the best way to know if a chocolate bar is safe to eat if judging it based on its smell and taste. Give it a sniff and a little taste if needed to know if it’s okay to be consumed.

If you love chocolate, check out the Grub Cycle app for delicious chocolatey surplus treats for a bargain price HERE



8 Lucky Foods During Chinese New Year

By | Food for thought | No Comments

This week we celebrate Chinese New Year, and the food is one of the key ingredients in celebrating this festivity! Chinese New Year food is the center of bringing family together and each dish symbolizes prosperity for the new year, so we decided to dig into what some dishes represent!

1. Whole fish (abundance, prosperity)

img src

img src: tastingtable.com

The chinese word for fish (yú “鱼”) sounds like the word “余” which means surplus or abundance. In fact there is a chinese saying of “年年有鱼” which loosely translates to every year have fish, or every year have abundance (“年年有余”). Fish is typically served whole at the end of the meal to symbolise surplus at the end of the year.

2. Tangerines, oranges (wealth, success)

img src: deliciousfoodandwine.com

Oranges are a very common food associated to Chinese New Year. This is because oranges are a popular symbol of good luck due to the similarity between the Chinese words for orange (“橙”) and success (“成”).

3. Dumplings (wealth, prosperity)

img src: hipfoodiemom.com

Dumplings are eaten for their shape, which resembles a gold ingot or money packets. These chinese dumplings (or also known as jiǎozi) are traditionally eaten on the fifth day of Chinese New Year, which also happens to be the birthday of Caishen, the Chinese God of Wealth.

4. Shrimp (happiness)

img src: thewoksoflife.com

The word for shrimp in Chinese is pronounced “ha” (虾), which sounds just like laughter. Therefore, shrimp is often served to symbolise a happy year ahead.

5. Noodles (longevity)

img src: hipfoodiemom.com

Also known as longevity noodles, these long noodles made of either rice, egg or wheat dough represent, well, longevity. They are served uncut to symbolise a wish for long life.

6. Brocolli & cauliflower (riches)

img src: omnivorescookbook.com

Dishes with brocolli or cauliflower are often served because of its stalks. The multiple stalks each symbolise a blossoming new year.

7. Nián Gāo (good luck)

img src: whattocooktoday.com

These sticky rice cakes can be enjoyed all year round, but they are especially popular during the Chinese New Year due to the name. Nián gāo literally translates to “year cake” from Chinese to English, and gāo (“糕”) is a homophone with “高” which means higher or elevated – similar to the phrase “higher each year”. Consuming this confection is believed to bring you more luck in the coming new year.

8. Yee sang (prosperity)

img src: malaysianfoodie.com

Also known as lou hei, this festive dish originated from Malaysia! It is also eaten in Singapore, Indonesia and is gaining popularity in China. This colourful raw salad consists of varying ingredients like carrots, daikon, red cabbage, raw fish, peanuts, sesame seeds and is dressed with plum sauce and sesame oil. Loosely translated to “prosperity toss”, that is exactly how the dish is enjoyed – the ingredients are layed out nicely on a large serving dish and everyone gathers around with their chopsticks to toss the salad, ushering in good wishes for the new year.


But of course with every festive meal, remember to eat up all the good food and not let anything go to waste!




8 New Year Food Traditions Around The World

By | Food for thought | No Comments

Happy New Year! It’s finally 2018!

We thought we would welcome the new year by looking at how other parts of the world celebrate it… with food, of course.


1. Soba noodles, Japan

This tradition dates back to the 17th century, and these long buckwheat noodles symbolize longevity and prosperity. In Japanese households, families believe that consuming a whole bowl of soba at midnight of New Year’s Eve would bring them good luck.


2. Grapes, Spain

12 grapes to be exact.

At the stroke of midnight, the people of Spain eat a grape with every ring of the clock bell to bring luck with every coming month of the new year. This custom began in the 20th century, thought up by grape producers in the country and now is a common tradition in most Spanish-speaking nations.


3. Pickled herring, Poland and Scandinavia

Herring is not only an abundant staple in Europe, the silver fish is thought to symbolize good fortune. Therefore, people believe that eating a plate of pickled herring at midnight would bring a bountiful year ahead.


4. Rice cake soup, South Korea

In South Korea, celebrating the New Year is like celebrating everybody’s birthday. To usher in the new year, Koreans eat a bowl of tteokguk, a meat and vegetable soup with rice cakes and once the soup is finished, everyone grows another year older together. Some believe white rice cakes were used for a clean, fresh new start of the year to come while others believe that it was to wish for affluence as the round shape of the rice cake resembles that of a coin.


5. Lentils, Italy

Italians feast on a dish called cotechino e lenticchie on New Year’s Day, which is a dish of sausage and lentils, to usher in a new year of prosperity. The lentils swell when they are cooked, and are believed to represent coins or wealth.


6. Kransekage, Denmark and Norway

Kransekage (or Kransekake in Norwegian) means wreath cake and is a dessert eaten to celebrate the New Year. It is a tall tower of many concentric rings of cake layered on top of one another. The cake is made out of marzipan, decorated with flags and other decorations and has a bottle of wine or aquavit in the center.


7. Sweet bread, Mexico

In Mexico, a sweet break called rosca de reyes which is baked with either a coin or charm in it is made for good luck. It is believed that whoever eats the slice with the hidden coin or charm will receive good luck in the upcoming year.


8. Champagne, USA

In America, they keep their traditions simple. Most Americans pop open a bottle of champagne to welcome in the New Year.


Sources: (link)(link)


Food waste: Initiatives worldwide

By | Food for thought | One Comment

Almost a month ago we celebrated the United Nations World Food Day. World Food Day raises awareness on sustainable food production and challenges society to reduce food waste.  Food waste is a growing global phenomenon that continues to harm the environment. Grub Cycle is a part of the global movement to reduce and combat food waste, not only to save the environment but also to benefit the consumer by saving you money. As such, we are continually inspired by creative and innovative ways that organisations around the globe are using to tackle food waste.

Here are some of our favourites:

1. Creative marketing that celebrates “ugly” fruits and vegetables

40% of fruits and vegetables are wasted simply because of the way it looks. Generations of marketing have led us to believe that supposedly defunct fruits and vegetables are not desirable nor safe to consume. One French Supermarket,  Intermarché , created has created a campaign to debunk this myth and celebrate these food items. The “Inglorious” campaign represents a shift in how we can use marketing as a tool to influence consumer behaviour to curb food waste. Intermarché  took their food waste efforts one step further by providing 30% off the so-called “ugly” fruits and vegetables.

Image: Intermarché

2. Bosch Smart Fridge

Ever come back from the supermarket with food you already had in your fridge? Well, Bosch developed a smart fridge with camera technology that snaps pictures of the content of your fridge every time the door is closed. The fridge #selfies are linked to an app to encourage customers not to double up on items they already have. In the United Kingdom(UK) a quarter of households waste up to £235 of food every year due to “doubling up” on groceries. That’s equivalent to RM1,317! A leading UK supermarket, Sainsbury’s, gave 20 families the smart fridge and are currently tracking their food waste behaviour as result of this innovative technology.

Image: Bosch

3. No Food Waste India

Founded in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, No Food Waste is an NGO that donates excess food to the needy. But they aren’t your average soup kitchen NGO, they take it another step further with their mobile app that allows for crowd sourcing of data to identify the hunger spots in India, and for people to submit requests for donation of excess food.

Image: Hindustan Times

4. Love Food Hate Waste

Based in England, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) started the Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) program to promote awareness and food reduction. Love Food Hate Waste has its own dedicated consumer facing website containing detailed ideas to help individuals, communities and organisations reduce food waste as well as the LFHW partner website containing free materials, templates, and resources for local authorities. So far, they’re saving £3.3 billion a year compared with 2007, not to mention saving 4.4 million tonnes of CO2 – that’s like taking 1.8 million cars off the road! Plus, they made these quirky posters that we love.

Image: WRAP Org.

5. Newly launched, #GrubMobile by Grub Cycle

Okay, admittedly we are very biased with our third favourite but lets us tell you why! Here at Grub Cycle Malaysia we have just launched our first mobile supermarket in Bukit Lanchong. #GrubMobile is a new way we are curbing food waste by acquiring fresh fruits and vegetables that would be thrown out because of standard supermarket policy. #GrubMobile  is deeply invested in the idea of meeting the consumer where they are. Given the response and interest to our products further out of Klang Valley region we thought we’d bring an alternative food waste option closer to local communities. To date, we have had 3 sales and one workshop on how to reduce food waste and definitely much more to come!

Keep your eyes peeled for our next mobile sale and follow our #GrubMobile journey on social media!


Best Before vs. Expiry Date

By | Food for thought | One Comment

Millions of tonnes of food waste every year is attributed to a lack of understanding between date labels. There are two types of date labels regularly used throughout Malaysia; expiry date labels and best before date labels.

Expiry date labels are added to food packages as an indication to customers of the last day a product is safe to consume. Food after the expiration date has passed should not be consumed – they should be discarded.

Best before date labels are a suggestion by the manufacturer to the consumer on which date the product would be at its peak quality; this includes a change in its texture, aroma and taste. Assuming the consumer has stored the product properly, a lapse from the best before date does not mean the food is unsafe to consume or that it indicates any sort of spoilage once a product has passed its best before date. Best before dates do not relate to the safety of the food and can therefore still be consumed past this date.

It is concluded that expiry dates are used as a signifier for health and safety reasons, while best before dates tend to be about quality. Many people tend to dispose perfectly edible food past the best before dates, assuming it is no longer safe for consumption. An increased understanding and use of date labelling on food will prevent and reduce food waste.