Where to order affordable food during Circuit Breaker, including free meals for the needy

Teng Yong Ping
Lifestyle Editor
Many hawker food stalls are now delivering food due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Singapore. (Photo: Catherine Lai / AFP)

SINGAPORE — During the Circuit Breaker Period, which will last from 7 April to 1 June, you would need to either cook at home, takeaway from food stalls and restaurants, or order food deliveries. If you are tired of cooking, or would rather not leave home and potentially get infected with the coronavirus, your best option would be to get food delivered to your home.

Since the economy isn’t doing well now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of you would prefer cheap food even while ordering in. Common options for food delivery are the Big Three apps (GrabFood, Deliveroo and Foodpanda) as well as restaurants and fast food chains.

But as demand surges for food deliveries, more services are being offered to help both businesses and consumers tide over this period. We’ve compiled a list of places where you can get affordable food – or even free meals from Good Samaritans, if you’re really in financial need. (If you need a slightly fancier meal delivery for a special occasion at home such as birthdays or date nights, check out this list of restaurants.)

Carousell’s #SupportLocal initiative

E-commerce platform Carousell today announced the launch of its #SupportLocal campaign, to aid business owners whose operations have been disrupted by COVID-19. In partnership with food service supplier Unilever Food Solutions, Carousell will onboard over 2,500 F&B businesses onto the newly created Local F&B category on its platform. The onboarding process will ensure that business owners who have not had prior experience with online operations are still able to list on Carousell for increased visibility. With Carousell listings, F&B owners will be able to provide on-demand takeaway services without having to pay a premium or commission to external vendors.

Hawkers United

Hawkers United - Dabao 2020 started as a Facebook group that compiles hawker stalls or businesses that deliver food during Circuit Breaker. The group now has a website. The food vendors featured are those that lack marketing channels or are not on the usual food delivery apps. Hawkers United lists businesses with their contact details so that you can order from them directly. The food establishments are organised by district, so zoom in on the area that you live in to see what food is available in your area.

A hawker at Lau Pa Sat prepares a take-away meal for a customer on 7 April 2020, the first day of Singapore's circuit breaker period. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

Stay Home Makan SG

Similar to Hawkers United above, Stay Home Makan SG is another Facebook group that posts hawker stalls and their contact details so you can contact them for food deliveries.

SG Dabao

SG Dabao is yet another community-initiated web portal for food vendor listings to tide people over during the COVID-19 crisis. The group also has a Facebook page. SG Dabao hopes to save local hawker businesses in this difficult period. According to SG Dabao, they do not take a cent from the hawkers and delivery riders that they feature. Food vendors can get their business featured by WhatsApping SG Dabao at +65 8108 4318.

WhyQ hawker delivery

WhyQ offers deliveries from a wide range of stalls at hawker centres and food courts. Its selling point as compared to the bigger food apps is that there is no minimum order amount, so you can go ahead and order a single meal just for yourself. You can also schedule your food delivery for a certain date and time in advance. Do note that there is a $1.50 charge for every separate portion within a single order.

SG Local Shops

SG Local Shops is a Telegram chat-bot with AI that allows you to view food vendors and restaurants in your area and order food from them. The bot tells you the contact details of nearby food places for you to call or message them directly. Just converse with the bot in the Telegram channel like it’s a real person answering your queries! Add the Telegram bot at @SGLocalShops_bot. You can contribute details of the hawkers in your neighbourhood if you know them here: https://tinyurl.com/SGLocalShopsForm

Islandwide local food deliveries

Allied Foodservice Equipment has rolled out an initiative where they have collated a list of F&B establishments that are offering in-house delivery, mostly island-wide. Businesses featured include heartland stalls serving zi char, nasi lemak and fishball noodles. The Excel sheet containing the list of businesses can be found here: bit.ly/supportlocaldelivery. Many of these F&B establishments rely heavily on in-house marketing as they are not on third party platforms, so hopefully this initiative will help these businesses out while getting more meals where they’re needed.

Hawker Food Delivery

Hawker Food Delivery is a new online food platform that aims to feature eateries from iconic hawker centres such as those at Old Airport Road and Tiong Bahru Market. This service delivers only to condominiums, though. The website is currently rolling out delivery service by district, with the service currently available in Districts 11, 21, 10 and 19 in Phase 1, followed by Districts 9, 16, 18 and 23 in Phase 2.

Free meals from Beng Who Cooks

Hawker Jason Chua and his co-founders at Beng Who Cooks are offering free meals and deliveries for those who need it. (Read our interview with Jason here.) They’re offering this Circuit Breaker service under the Instagram account, Beng Who Cares Foundation (@bengwhocaresfoundation) – just DM (Direct Message) them on Instagram with your order before 7pm to get your meal delivered the next day. This charitable service from the hawkers is based on the honour system – they won’t ask you why you need the free meal. The stall at Hong Lim Market & Food Centre started out selling poke bowls, but chef Jason changes the menu frequently to keep it fresh.

Belanja Eat

Belanja Eat is a ground-up charitable initiative set up by a group of friends who wanted to spread some cheer to the needy during this difficult period. You can claim a free meal from participating hawker stalls, or you can belanja someone (to treat in Malay) by donating to participating hawkers so that they can provide free meals to someone who needs it. Belanja Eat works on an honour system too – no questions asked, just visit a participating hawker stall and ask for the free meal.

Tiding over Circuit Breaker and WFH: