It’s been nearly one and a half years since the pandemic began and I’ve gone this entire time without a Covid-19 scare… until now, that is.

Somewhat of a hypochondriac by nature, I’d thought I was safe with all the precautions I’d been taking — masking up, getting jabbed as soon as I could and limiting my excursions out of the house.

But with the recent surge in clusters and community cases, I can’t say I was surprised when I got the news that I’d been in contact with a Covid-19 case.

After some frantic Googling to figure out if I was going to be issued a quarantine order — spoiler alert: I was not issued one in the end — I decided it was better to be safe than sorry.

Fact: Ministry of Health (MOH) only contacts you to issue you a quarantine order if they deem you to be at a high risk of infection.

Also a fact: even a minuscule risk of possibly exposing my 60-something-year-old parents to the virus wasn’t an odd I was willing to gamble with.

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And so I decided to quarantine myself in my room for the next few days, limiting my interactions with my family to the bare minimum and masking up if I had to leave the room.

With my family out at work most of the day, this also meant that I was left to my own devices when it came to procuring my daily essentials.

And let’s just say I’ve never been more grateful that you can pretty much get anything delivered in Singapore.

From snacks for those late-night munchies to antigen rapid tests (ARTs), my week-long self-isolation went without a hitch thanks to the masked heroes from foodpanda who brought it all to my doorstep with the push of a button.

Day 1:

It was a day of many firsts — my first time wearing a mask at home, first ever ART (fortunately negative), and first time trying a new F&B establishment in my neighbourhood.

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I have to admit, I usually default to the same three hawker stalls around my home in Bishan. But with the plethora of delivery options on foodpanda stretching from my neighbourhood to Ang Mo Kio and even Upper Thomson Road, I decided to #supportlocal and try something new — umisushi it is.

And I’m glad I did. To save on delivery costs, I ordered all my meals for the day in one order: a beef bowl and assortment of sushi that I could easily refrigerate for later.

The beef bowl ($9.70 on foodpanda) proved to be surprisingly tasty and managed to lift my spirits — perhaps this self-isolation thing wasn’t so bad after all.

Day 2:

On a Japanese food kick, I decided to order myself some tonkotsu ramen ($12 on foodpanda) from ATO Bistro over at the nearby community club — a restaurant I’d passed by a few times but never had the opportunity to try.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the soup neatly separated from noodles in a nifty two-tiered container.

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The rich broth and tender pork slices certainly made for a nice lunch as I people-watched from my window.

It was only the second day of isolation, but I have to admit that my initial positivity had all but evaporated and being cooped up in my room all day already had me going a little stir crazy.

Day 3:

I’ve never really appreciated the luxury of having all the essential stores like Watsons, Cheers and NTUC FairPrice a mere five-minute walk from my home. That is, until I was stuck in self-isolation, out of ART tests, with no one to buy it for me.

Fortunately, I discovered a Guardian store on foodpanda’s shops section. Plus, first-time users enjoy a flat $12 off a minimum $20 spend with the promo code TAPINTOSHOPS.

I picked up a couple of other necessities, hit ‘order’ and had my haul hanging on my gate within 20 minutes — not too bad considering I didn’t have to take a single step out of the house.

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Day 4:

Things were getting pretty dreary on day four. For one, I was still unsure if I would be contacted by MOH. For another, I was still not in the clear yet. (Although my ART on Day 1 was negative, the ART isn’t as sensitive as a Polymerase Chain Reaction test and false negatives are possible.)

Well, as they say, good food makes everything better. I didn’t need another reason to treat myself to a Coco Glow acai bowl ($11.90 on foodpanda) from An Acai Affair. I also got myself a pint of acai, the perfect addition to my usual breakfast smoothies.

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For some retail therapy, I headed to pandamart to order myself some snacks:

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● myEureka Gourmet popcorn classic for a solo Netflix sesh

● Haitai honey butter chips, just because

● The Ice Cream & Cookie Co macadamia nut crisp ice cream

● A box of Starbucks Matcha Latte Premium for the Starbucks experience at home

● Some cooking essentials like pasta, instant noodles and cheese

● Bananas for a dose of nutrition to balance out all the other sinful snacks

It definitely helped that it was my first pandamart order, so I was able to shave $12 off my bill with the promo code TAPINTOMART (valid on orders $20 and above).

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Day 5:

With my pantry fully stocked, I decided to distract myself from the boredom by whipping something up in the kitchen.

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Breakfast was a smoothie (a banana, acai, frozen strawberries, an apple, green tea and honey), while lunch was my take on that viral TikTok carbonara instant noodle recipe, paired with an instant matcha latte that tastes remarkably like the one Starbucks serves in-store.

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Day five was also the day I finally left my house to get a PCR test done — finally a brief respite from being cooped up within four walls.

Day 6:

What better way to celebrate a negative PCR test than a hearty plate of pasta?

To my surprise, Da Paolo, a popular pasta bar located at Dempsey, popped up as I was scrolling through the foodpanda app mindlessly. Turns out they have a kitchen in Jalan Pemimpin, a stone’s throw away from my home.

I went for their al granchio ($28 on foodpanda), a perfectly creamy tomato pasta dish chock full of crab meat. Yum.

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Day 7:

With a second ART that predictably came out negative, I had enough peace of mind to finally end my self-isolation.

Continuing my quest to eat my way around my neighbourhood, I decided to mark my last day of isolation by ordering some fried chicken to share with my family.

Jackson’s Fried Chicken was another F&B establishment I’d never seen before, but looked promising.

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Fortunately, their four-piece chicken combo ($26.50) did not disappoint. With crispy, juicy chicken that rivals KFC’s, Jackson’s is one place I’ll definitely be patronising again soon.

The best foodpanda finds of the week

While my self-imposed ‘exile’ was not all fun and games, one of the pros was getting to explore my neighbourhood’s F&B offerings – all from the comfort of my bed.

With dining out permitted again, I’ll definitely be paying An Acai Affair and ATO Bistro a visit, as well as ordering from Jackson’s Fried Chicken and Da Paolo again.

And if you’re a matcha addict like me, trust me and get yourself a box of Starbucks Matcha Latte Premium ($4.95 for a box of four sachets) for the Starbucks experience at a fraction of the usual cost.

The downside? Now that I know how easy it is to get everything I need delivered, I think I’m well and truly spoiled.

​​The article is brought to you in partnership with foodpanda. 

kimberlylim@asiaone.com

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