Due to some unfortunate family circumstances, I’ve been by myself at post for a while. Which means that I have to feed myself. Cooking for one has a few advantages. I eat what I want to, for example, and when. But cooking for one also takes a lot of time, it’s harder to plan, and I wind up with a lot of leftovers. Luckily for me, there are a lot of other people like me in the city, and the local market has responded. Enter: meal delivery services!
Unlike food delivery from a restaurant, where you order something from their menu, and the restaurant delivers what you order, a meal delivery service delivers prepared meals based on a preset menu.
I tried one service last year, and hated it. What I received tasted like the stuff you get on an airplane (note that I did not use the word “food” in that description). But after cooking for myself for a while, I was really tired of it, and I wanted to free up some time to do more meaningful things. So I rolled the dice and tried again with different company. After one week, I can say that the experiment has been a success. The service that I used this week is called “SmartMeal.” They have several options, including “healthy,” “body-building,” and vegetarian. I opted for the low-carb plan. Here’s the menu:
I ordered the lunch and dinner option. I like a plain breakfast, usually granola, which I make for myself. Every morning this week, a delivery guy came with lunch and dinner.
The delivery went smoothly, except for Tuesday, when the guy didn’t show up. I called their “hotline,” and was told that the delivery guy (who, like most other people in the city, drives a scooter) was in an accident. A different guy stopped by my office an hour later to make the delivery. My regular guy was back in service on Wednesday. On a different scooter. I’m sure there’s an interesting story behind that.
Anyway, the meals come in containers of microwave-safe plastic.
Here’s what I ate this week. First, lunches:
The food was very tasty, and the portions were OK. The cuisine was sort of fusion. Because it’s Vietnam, there was always a sauce of some kind. That’s just the Vietnam way, I guess. There was a lot more meat than I’m used to eating, and less vegetable, probably because of the low-carb option. But more fish than I used to eat, which is good. I’ll still have to buy fruit, and I might eat salads on the weekends to balance it out. I might also try the vegetarian option. But for now, I think it’s worth trying it for another week.
The price is pretty good, too, if you’re an ex-pat. I pay 850,000 Vietnamese Dong for five lunches and five dinners, with no charge for delivery. That’s about $37. This is outrageously expensive by the standard of the local market. I could cook for myself for less than half of that. But by US standards, it’s a great deal. I’m eating well, and healthily, for less than $8 per day. Plus I don’t have to shop, cook, and wash dishes. The company will also take back the containers (I hope they’re recycling them responsibly).
Now that food preparation is off the schedule for now, I have no excuses not to work on my own projects. Onward and upward.