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Home-cooked meals options for the public

29th March, 2020


KOTA KINABALU: Food delivery service such as GrabFood and Foodpanda has become a popular demand among the public ever since Movement Control Order (MCO), which requires the public to stay home, went into effect on March 18.

However, there are others that opt for home-cooked meals that also provide cash-on-delivery (COD) service.

Doing food delivery service within this period, however, is unlike any other usual days as the service is only allowed within a restricted time, which is 6am to 5pm only. This order is enforced to curb the possibility of spreading the COVID-19 virus to other people.

To safeguard himself and his customers from being exposed to COVID-19, food COD service provider Alexander Carl Gutual II will always make sure to use hand sanitiser before handing out food orders.

“I will also put on face masks and gloves whenever I’m out for delivery while making sure that I have hand sanitisers with me at all times.

“I will spray some sanitiser to the hands of my customers before they are handed their food orders,” said the 27-year-old chef from Penampang.

Alexander, who just started doing food COD service a week before the MCO went into effect, makes homemade fish, chicken, and pork burgers.

“As a responsible food provider, I will always ensure the cleanliness of the food. The food must also be within the right temperature so that it is safe to be consumed,” he noted.

As of a week after the imposition of the MCO, he has sent out an average of 50 packs per day around Penampang areas but the numbers of order are still lesser than the usual he would get.

“As a food provider, I feel that I am responsible to help ensure that meals are still accessible to those in need, especially those who stay at home,” he expressed.

As many food delivery companies mainly provide delivery services in the city areas only, many of those in the outskirts of town choose homecooked food COD service as an alternative.

Nasthasia Azura Fadzli, 24, who has been in the business since 2014, has been delivering ‘nasi campur’ and a variety of pastries to several villages around Penampang, Kepayan and Putatan.

She said, it is surprising that she is still receiving an outstanding amount of food orders throughout the MCO order, considering the situation.

“Besides making sure to always use hand sanitiser, I will try to maintain a one-meter distance during delivery to minimise contact.

“This is a challenging time for everybody; but I believe with everyone obeying the order, things can go back to normal,” said Nasthasia, who also works as a hotel reservation agent.

Another food provider also stressed that minimal contact throughout the delivery service is important to avoid transmission of the virus.

Rihanna Jasmi, who hails from Tawau said, she encourages her customers to pay via online banking for their transaction, instead of having to exchange cash money.

She stressed that cleanliness is also her top priority when it comes to food handling; she makes sure that her crew always wash their hands with soap before doing their work.

“Now, only two of the crew are involved in food handling and I always make sure that they are in good health before they start working,” the 46-year-old disclosed.

The food delivery business has been her and her husband’s source of income since November last year; they mainly sell stuffed tofu and potato cheese balls.

As they currently reside in Penampang, the delivery service stretches from Kinarut to Sepanggar but since the MCO was enforced, they now have to limit their delivery from Putatan until Inanam areas only.

“On average, after the MCO went into effect, we make about 50 per cent of our usual profit.

“But there are also days when we receive overwhelming orders mainly because those who are working want to reduce their travel movement,” Rihanna explained.

The tuition centre operator also mentioned that their delivery service is usually done three times a day but now, it is limited to only once.

“Thankfully, our customers are very understanding and still give their cooperation throughout the tough times we are facing during this MCO.”

Another home-cooked meals operator, 46-year-old Mohd Daud Sallah from Kota Kinabalu, always makes sure to check his body temperature before delivering his customers’ food orders.

“I have a thermometer that I use every time before I deliver food orders to my customers; I will send photos of my latest temperature reading to my customers to assure them that I am healthy.

“I will also put on a face mask and gloves whenever I’m out. This is a measure that must be taken to reduce the possibility of spreading the virus to other people,” he said.

Mohd Daud started selling ‘nasi ayam goreng berempah’, ‘nasi lemak’, and ‘nasi ayam penyet’ on a cash-on-delivery basis six months ago.

His daily delivery service covers Kota Kinabalu, Putatan, Kepayan, Luyang, and Penampang areas with six to ten orders per day.

“The challenge of doing this service during this MCO period is that I am at risk of being exposed to the virus whenever I meet my customers.

“As a preventive measure, I encourage my customers to pay via online banking to minimise contact,” he noted. Mohd Daud also advised the public to obey the order by staying home and maintaining good personal hygiene.

“I have seen a video about how China managed to overcome the spread of the virus within four weeks’ time when such order was enforced.

“I believe Malaysia too can overcome this problem, as long as the people obey this order,” he said.

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