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With the COVID-19 circuit breaker kicking in, dining in is no longer allowed. Here's how you can bring back your packet food without messing up your car.

Category: Miscellaneous Advice


Sure, you can order your food from Foodpanda, but imagine this. It's two weeks into the COVID-19 circuit breaker period and you have a sudden, strong craving for some Fong Seng Nasi Lemak across the island, and there's no way to order it through food delivery services due to the distance. So, what do you do? You collate your family's order and drive over to dabao (or tapau, this refers to takeaway food)!

But wait a minute, there are many things that can go wrong when ferrying packets of fragrant coconut rice in your car - the packets can topple and make a mess of your car, the smell of food can linger or worse still, your favourite sambal chilli might leak out, staining the precious seats of your car. Fret not, today, we shall impart you some of our knowledge of dabao-ing food with your car.

*Effectiveness of each method is rated from the worse - 1/5 to the best - 5/5.

Placing it on the seat of your car - rating: Noob

Placing your food on the seat is not really a great idea - one slam of the brakes is all it takes to mess up your car!
The simplest way that most will think of is to simply place the packed food on the seats. But this is practically a disaster waiting to happen! With little to no support from the relentless g-forces of your moving car, chances are your packet food will end strewn onto the carpet, leaving a mess behind, along with the anger of your growling stomach.

If this is how you plan to bring back your dabao-ed  food, you can improvise it a little by strapping a seatbelt over your food, as though they are your child, but trust me, it wouldn't help much.

Food hauling capacity: 4/5 (if you use the rear seats as well)
Safety (of food): 1/5 (try not to brake too hard)
Smell: 2/5 (remember to open your windows!)
Should you do it: No, unless you are the protagonist of a certain racing anime who delivers tofu on mountain passes.

Place food on the floor of the car - rating: Amateur

Your food can't spill onto the floor if it already is on the floor. *cue the thinking guy meme*
The better method is to place the packet food on the floor of the car. This is clearly an idea that has went through some serious thought process. The low centre of gravity (CG) combined with the ability to spread the packet food apart (to maintain a low CG) means much lower chances of the food toppling.

However, some might feel that placing food on the floor seems unhygienic. Furthermore, if it is at the passenger footwell, the smell will be sucked in by the aircon blower, ensuring that your car never smells the same as before.

Food hauling capacity: 3/5
Safety (of food): 2/5
Smell: 1/5 (don't turn on your aircon!)
Should you do it: If you have no other options, this is probably the best solution.

Built in hanger - rating: Seasoned driver

Hanging your food is one of the safest ways to ensure nothing gets spilled - just don't drive so hard that the bag comes off
Many cars come with built in hangers. These can sometimes be found near the grab handles at the roof of the car or near the headrests of the car. Using these hangers allows gravity to do its job and help keep your food safe. As long as the hanger is reliable, your food will be safe.

If you require more food hauling capacity, you can even get hanger expanders to allow you to hang not just one, but many packets at the same time! However, if your hanger is located near the grab handles, your food might potentially obstruct your view (of your blindspots) when driving.

Food hauling capacity: 2/5 (3/5 if using an expander)
Safety (of food): 3/5 (there's a slight chance of the food swinging off the hook)
Smell: 2/5
Should you do it: If you are dabao-ing packet drinks, soup or dessert, this method has the highest probability of keeping your carpet clean. Just don't drive too spiritedly.

Thermal box in boot - rating: Pro

If you do not have a thermal box, using other boxes will help keep your food the right side up
Your friend might ask you "why do you even have a thermal box in your car's boot?" Because you are a professional dabao-expert, that's why.

By using a thermal box (or an icebox), and getting some used newspaper as inlays, you can not only keep your food upright, but also keep it warm. And the best part of all? Minimal smell - it's all trapped in the box (do remember to air it every now and then though)! Even if an oopsie occurs and your food gets spilled, your car will still be safe.

Food hauling capacity: 4/5
Safety (of food): 4/5
Smell: 4/5
Should you do it: Is there even a need for this question? This is how you dabao food like a pro!

** Exercise caution when ferrying your food. This writer will not be liable for any food spillage in your vehicle.
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