What have you missed the most about eating out during the Coronavirus lockdown?
I don’t think I’m missing a lot when it comes to eating out.
I don’t usually eat out in fast-food restaurants. Unless, there’s no other option because my doctors warned me to avoid high-sodium, high-sugar, and highly processed fast food meals.
I rarely eat in establishments with meals costing higher than P300, except for the occasional pasta or vegetarian food to treat myself twice a month, for thanksgiving, or to try something new but not too luxurious.
So, what I miss most is eating out at roadside and community eateries which I do for pretty good reasons.
1. They serve home-cooked meals — and a great variety of meals that vary from day to day. They serve pork and beef dishes, which I rarely eat, alongside chicken, fish, and vegetables.
No two of these small, corner restaurants would serve exactly the same dish or line up of dishes. Since these are small family owned stores, their dishes are their home specialties.
Even their fried chicken or pancit canton would be different in taste, texture, and ingredients!
The variety of options is something I miss from having the same meals at Ministop or Jollibee day in, day out.
2. They serve only freshly cooked food — so the vegetables, soups, fish, and chicken would be fresh from the market. All served piping hot from the stove!
There’s no reason to fear dishes are only reheated from yesterday, or that ingredients have been in stock for longer than a month, too.
The best ones I miss cook their vegetables just right, still brightly colored. The orange-yellow of squash, the dark and light green of bitter gourd, and the bright light yellow of cabbage: all crispy to bite!
And with all their nutrients intact from being cooked just perfect!
3. They serve food at very affordable prices — so, even if it’s still a few days from payday and you can only afford P50 for a full meal, you can still sit and leave sated and full!
More so, I can order steaming half rice to go with half of a veggie dish and one whole fish with free soup to boot.
You can mix and match dishes without busting the loose change you have for the rest of the week — and you never even have to repeat viands at all!
Speaking of repeating orders, yes, I do miss the Spaghetti Shop for their 30+ variations on the classic spaghetti at Glorietta! But, they have closed down now, too bad.
I might not have enough money for it anyway, with the focus of the lockdown on food essentials like fruits and non-perishables for the home.
4. They make you walk before and after eating — so you don’t just slump back on your seat or bed after eating if you’re at home or at work.
Especially now that I need every bit of exercise to reduce my belly fat, a little walk goes a long way for health.
Similarly, it’s a great alternative for getting food delivered to you. The steep price of getting food delivered is just too much for me.
Since I live alone, the delivery cost would almost be the same or higher than the meal itself a lot of times!
5. They are everywhere — but always very near!
Almost every street would have one or two of these, especially with the community quarantine setup, demand is on the rise.
The nearer the better to avoid people from going far and catching the virus and bringing them home.
They make going local really rewarding and easy to do!
Given these challenges, I’m glad these community eateries and restaurants — these you call turo-turo as the fast food version of the sari-sari convenience stores – are starting to open up again.
One by one.
6. They are a blessing for those who don’t have refrigerators or cookers — especially for single people, they are heaven sent.
When you’re renting a room, sometimes these electric appliances aren’t allowed or would cost extra.
And when you don’t have a fridge to store leftovers or stock, you need to eat out.
And, without your own stove, oven, or rice cooker, you can only bring in food you can consume by yourself.
So, the turo-turo is my tummy’s best friend.
Let’s support them!
Image Source: TripAdvisor.com.ph