Jialat, How To Makan?! AKA What Food NOT To Order In
By now, you’ve probably forgotten the taste of dining out.
You know, that entire experience of queueing up with just 1cm – yup, not 1m – between the customer in front of you and the one behind you (so you feel like the slab of luncheon meat that you like squashed between your two slices of toast), chope-ing tables with that packet of tissue you so fortunately left in the bottom of your bag, gossiping beyond your lunch hour with your frolleagues and selecting your high class breads from a real bread trolley at a Michelin-star French joint.
In fact, while it was only April 7 when circuit breaker measures were implemented to suspend dining in at cafes, eateries, restaurants, hawker centres, kopitiams and your granny’s home (oh, if only FaceTime would let you smell her belachan fried rice now!), it may seem like we have been saying “tapau” or scrolling through GrabFood or Deliveroo apps since April 7, 1988.
But heng ah, at least now got food delivery apps, right? If it had really been 1988, there would have been fewer culinary options in a CB situation. Yet, if you are veterans at this ordering-in business like we are, you probably know by now that some things are not meant to be… ordered in.
And here’s why.
We aren’t talking about that kind of $9.90 steak from your neighbourhood Western food stall where you don’t get to say “medium-rare” but just “uncle, give me more ketchup”.
Here, we mean the premium steak from your favourite atas restaurants (because suddenly, everyone is okay delivering to your humble home in Boon Lay wor).
For that price you’re paying, too much is at stake/steak here. Your piece of meat will look as sad as you do when it lands on your dining table, rough and tough on the palate. Because steak is meant to be eaten a la minute.
And unless your delivery person grills it on the spot for you, it’s going to taste more like rubber, less like blubber.
Also, minus more points if you only have a blunt butter knife and not a proper steak knife at home.
Any dish above $25
And since we are on the topic of pricey steak, unless it’s a special occasion, chances are you won’t want to order in anything too expensive.
The reason: such dishes are usually plated swee-swee and eaten at a place with high class ambience, music, waiting staff and menus with food names you point at because you don’t know how to pronounce them.
After a rough ride on a bike, your $50 white asparagus-and-snow crab-with-edible-flowers will look like your dog’s puke.
Any dish below $2.50
Some food delivery services charge a higher fee if you place a “small” order. Unless you have a massive craving you cannot tahan or you made a lot of money in bitcoin investing, you don’t need a financial advisor to tell you why it’s not wise to order a $2.20 croissant but pay $4 for the delivery itself.
Before we got all cautious and kiasi and put on face masks, rubbed our hands with disinfectant and pressed lift buttons with our laser stares, we were scared of contaminated raw food (you try running to the toilet sink and toilet bowl every five minutes!).
Even with traffic slowing down on the roads these days, you still can’t be sure if your delivery person is going to take a long time getting your sashimi to you. The world is already a scary place now; you don’t want to have food poisoning too.
Anything deep-fried and crispy
Even the world’s best batter will turn into soggy mush after being on a bouncy bicycle for 20 minutes in our hot Singapore sun. After all, the only thing that should be nuah is you on your sofa watching Netflix, not your bag of fish and chips.
No point crying over spilled milk. Or soup. And it happens even when the café or restaurant seals in everything with clingwrap. Also, soup is usually poured into disposable containers at a high temperature and if the container isn’t made of BPA-free plastics, you may be drinking more than tom yum soup, you know.
Anything from a restaurant that doesn’t bag its food
Before you go all drama on us for asking for more plastic or paper bags, please understand that contact-less delivery means you don’t want to take over anything from a stranger at your door.
Which means you strategically place hooks on your gate.
Which means your food can be left on these hooks.
Which means your food can also be hooked on your gate or door handle.
I’ll never forget that time when I ordered a famous bagel that came only in a flimsy thin paper wrap and the poor delivery guy tried for minutes to prop it up between my gate grilles. Works for newspapers but not an overstuffed bagel, please.