As our country continues to “fatten” the COVID-19 curve instead of flattening it, many restaurants and bars have been forced to temporarily close or pivot to an operation that is more sustainable to survive. Amidst this bleak scenario, though, enterprising individuals have found a tasty opportunity to start food ventures adjusted to the new COVID reality. But what’s interesting is they’re not selling just traditional comfort food (which is to be expected), but they’re coming up with creative new offerings that the public is getting excited about. Here are four new players with delicious on-demand fare that’s convenient and relatively affordable, too.
Milky Dust Donuts by Twinkle Lacsamana
Twinkle Lacsamana has been working in hotel marketing and public relations for the past 10 years. But with the hotel industry crippled, Lacsamana has been furloughed since May. This forced her to think out of the box to find a way to get through this lockdown period. Inspiration came in the form of a YouTube video demonstrating how to make kkwabaegi or twisted Korean doughnuts. Lacsamana ended up creating Milky Dust Donuts, her own line of pillowy soft, oval-shaped flavored donuts coated with her now signature “milky dust” powder. She started with vanilla milk, ube cheese, pure chocolate, and dark mocha fillings, but soon launched more premium variants you won’t find anywhere else: strawberry milk, berries and cream, and peanut butter cup. My early favorites include the vanilla milk, dark mocha, and peanut butter cup flavors.
Stock at Home PH
Instagram @StockatHomePH, Viber (0917) 583-3881
Stock at Home PH launched with just one item on its menu: Khao Soi. Food stylist Sharlene Tan Aspe and her husband Popo fell in love with this famous Northern Thai laksa-like noodle soup after visiting Chiang Mai. The couple were running a food commissary, supplying restaurants and cafés, when ECQ suddenly put the business to a halt. With a lot of free time on their hands and with pressure to continue their means of livelihood, they developed a Khao Soi kit that they initially sold to friends and family. As word spread, they found themselves getting orders from strangers who gave them good feedback, which encouraged them to make it into an official business. They thought their Khao Soi would be a good introductory offering for people looking to try a different kind of noodle soup.
Tan Aspe shares, “As a person in charge of a household, I know how hard it is to think and plan meals on a daily basis, so Stock at Home will be offering easy almost-ready meals to give you a break.” She says “almost ready” as you still need to do some minimal cooking and assembly. I can confirm that the Khao Soi Gai (gai or chicken) was one of the easiest meal kits I have assembled so far, as it was ready to eat in less than 15 minutes after opening the kit. Stock at Home now also sells Four Cheese Lasagna and Creamy Spinach Dip that I have yet to try.
The Food Trip
Instagram @thefoodtrip.mnl, (0917) 700-7698
Less than a year after Amado Fores surprised us with the opening of his very first restaurant venture, the regional Italian a mano in Power Plant Rockwell, here he is with another passion food project, this time inspired by the lockdown. The Food Trip is a delivery-only platform that allows Fores to share the dishes he misses from his travels. Initially meant to be just a fun project to share with his friends and family, The Food Trip is now open to the public. The menu is limited to dishes that not only travel well, but are also good to share among 4 to 6 people at home, just like its inaugural offering, the STEAK, EGGS and RICE tray. This runaway hit is comprised of USDA prime ribeye steak, scrambled egg crepe, steak fat chicharon, leeks, and Japanese steak rice, with a side of homemade steak sauce. Watch out for the soon-to-be-launched Chicken and Egg tray.
Growcery MNL is a one-stop food shop, offering everything from bread to bangus to ramen. “Before the ECQ, we were already planning to launch an online bakery under our Chuck’s Deli & Bakery brand,” says Growcery MNL’s Kat Alcantara. When COVID-19 happened, Alcantara and her family were caught off guard and ran into distribution challenges with their respective businesses, namely, Arce Dairy and Sarangani Bay, along with Alcantara’s Mesclun Catering. That’s when they decided to bring all these family-owned brands together under one online marketplace.
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The Growcery MNL website initially started with grocery items like bread from Chuck’s Deli, Arce Dairy ice cream, Sarangani Bay bangus, and frozen cooked meals by Mesclun. But the site has now expanded to include frozen meat and seafood, as well as popular Japanese and Korean goods. Also available are restaurant meal kits from well-loved brands like Ramen Nagi, Mamou, Recovery Food, Menya Kokoro, Vargas Kitchen, and Potato Corner.