Our Desk | The opportunities in #quaranfood

Lynzy Valles

The outbreak of the global pandemic felt in Macau during the last weeks of January has brought forth several changes which many now consider the new normal.
Covid-19 has driven life online, including meetings, classes and even work.
The trend has always been there – to be productive via the web – but this time, that trend is much stronger.
Many have used this opportunity to work in ways that they have never thought they would.
A significant number of employees have gone into a no work, no pay scheme as a result of the pandemic on the city’s economy, which led to a downturn for many businesses.
It was only recently that I noticed that on several Facebook group pages, many are selling their food specialties – particularly homemade desserts – something that was not really a trend before the pandemic.
Many have used their time wisely by learning new skills (particularly cooking skills) and then successfully selling the results online.
In a few particular Facebook groups – which generally cater to Filipinos in Macau – the posts becoming more recognized are food item posts.
Normally, these Facebook groups feature rooms vacant for rent – or should I say bed spaces for rent – or different products from Taobao that they would purchase and resell.
Yet recently, many have been selling homemade food – particularly those not normally found in Filipino stores or restaurants. And though it may still be available in these stores, many prefer to buy them online due to the cheaper price, with some offering delivery if it is near their residences.
From homemade bread to traditional Filipino desert Halo-Halo, to Graham de Leche, and even deep fried pig knuckles – all of these all-time favorites of the community have been available online.
And apparently, many are ordering from these sellers, as they just need to confirm the pick up/delivery place and time.
“Hm?,” and “PM sent” are the most common comments one would see in the comment box of a post.
Really, these posts on a Facebook group are just filled with traditional Pinoy dishes that one who is far away from home could not resist.
But it does not end there.
Whatever food is becoming a trend back home has also arrived in the city.
Residents in the Philippines have used their time to follow whatever comfort foods were considered “quarantine food trends”, which includes the famous dalgona coffee.
One of what the country considers a #quaranfood item is the popular sushi bake.
As described on the web, Sushi bakes are deconstructed sushi rolls which have been baked in a casserole dish, with layers of vinegared sushi rice, crab sticks, salmon, and fish roe or tobiko. Sushi bake is eaten by scooping the aforementioned bake into a sheet of nori seaweed.
Even that is being homemade in Macau and sold through online platforms among the community.
However, aside from the community purchasing food items from the sellers, the main motive, I believe, that drives people to purchase from the platform is to help and financially support others.
Since many are on a no work, no pay scheme, those who are lucky enough to secure a stable job amid the pandemic are the ones strongly supporting these people by ordering from them and not from restaurants.
And I think that is a pretty good characteristic of the community. The way that the city has called for gaming operators to support SMEs, the community has that initiative as well – it just isn’t as grand.

Categories Opinion