Takeout food has become the norm since we went on lockdown in March. In the old days, we used to think about what new restaurant to try out next, but now, we’re on our mobile phones, scouring our food delivery apps or scrolling through Instagram in search of something new, whether it’s sushi bake or sourdough bread, a ramen kit or DIY steak.
While it’s tempting to try the newest food trends out there (seems Korean cream cheese garlic bread is a thing these days), in my own home, I’ve chosen to take things a bit easy, rather than chase every “buzzy” new dish that comes across my feed. Instead, it’s about looking for dishes that my family can enjoy as a whole, ones that are well prepared, priced reasonably, and that don’t scrimp on ingredients.
I tend to order from sources closer to home that don’t require too much travel, and that offer something we can’t usually cook at home. It’s a win-win: I get to support food businesses in need, and I give the kitchen a bit of a break from the daily meal preparation cycle.
Admittedly, I do use the big delivery apps, especially when we only decide what to eat last minute (which happens a lot)! But if you’re able to plan ahead, then it’s worth trying out the following food finds that have gotten only positive reviews from the family. Just note that some of them may require you to pay in advance and book your own courier to pick up.
Hainanese Chicken Rice by Wah Liao Kwe
The chefs of La Spezia were supposed to launch their Singaporean eatery this year. But due to COVID, they’re focusing on giving us an advance taste with this superb tender white chicken, either whole or half, that comes with fragrant Hainanese jasmine rice, garlic ginger sauce, and chili sauce.
Bento boxes by Ohayo
This neighborhood eatery has become one of the family’s favorite go-to’s for Japanese fare. Pretty much everything on the menu is worth ordering—ramen, gyoza, maki, coffee jelly, and their version of a sushi bake, Kani Mango and Salmon Torched Platter. But when we’re looking for something quick and convenient, we just order a bunch of their very generous bento boxes—chicken teriyaki, chashu don, beef gyudon, miso salmon, katsu don, and beef misono (yes, we’ve tried them all!). They come complete with miso soup, rolled omelet, potato-octopus salad, spinach goma-ae, pickles, and kombudashi rice.
Steak, Eggs and Rice by The Food Trip
When you have a big family like mine, it pays to order just one big tray with everything in it. This inaugural dish from Amado Fores’s new venture, The Food Trip, does just that with its combo of pre-sliced USDA prime ribeye steak, scrambled egg crepe, steak fat chicharon, leeks, and Japanese rice with a side of that excellent homemade steak sauce. Good thing I did a double order of the ribeye steak, because everything was wiped out by the end.
Pizza and pasta by Francesco’s
We live close enough to Francesco’s that it has become a no-brainer to pick up any of their topnotch pizzas and pastas, prepared by the Italian chef Francesco Rizzo. It’s hard to choose among the variants, but we recently enjoyed the Rigatoni with truffle cream and pancetta, and Parma Pizza with prosciutto and arugula. What’s best is the short distance which makes it feel like our orders came out of the Francesco’s kitchen just minutes ago.
Biryani by c
There was that one day when we were hankering for biryani, that layered rice dish from India laden with spices. This home-based food business delivered with a generous tray of Vegetable Biryani (also available in chicken and mutton), which we supplemented with Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Kebab. While we ordered the dishes mild, their special blend of spices still shone through all the dishes.
You may also like:
Kapampangan specialties by Culinarya Pampanga
This collective of chefs and cooks from Pampanga are bringing their heritage dishes to Metro Manila. They sent over comforting classics like Pastel de Lengua and Homestyle Roast Beef by Chef Judy Uson, and Kalderetang Baka and Humba by Chef Cherry Tan for an early taste. And I can’t wait to order more from what’s turning out to be the definitive one-stop shop for everything that’s good to eat in Pampanga.
Spanish signatures by Gallery by Chele AT HOME
Chef Chele Gonzalez has been offering an expanded takeaway menu of Spanish signature dishes, alongside his more modern creations. He sent samples to try like the Mejillones Tigre or spicy mussels fried in breadcrumbs, Scallops and Black Ink Risotto, his must-taste Fabada from his mother’s recipe, and one of the best Burnt Basque Cheesecakes in town. His menu may seem a bit more luxurious than others, but it’s always nice to enjoy something special every now and then. You can order directly from the website gallerybychele-athome.com