In a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus cases in Malaysia, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced the implementation of a movement control order on 16 March 2020, effectively placing Malaysia on lockdown from 18 to 31 March 2020. Singaporeans, being Singaporeans, flew into a state of panic, renewing the mass-buying hordes that have begun their rampage of supermarkets across the country since last night.
Regardless of whether you’ve bought into the buying frenzy, I think it’s important that we calm the inherent kiasu-ness inside us all and think about what we really need. Whilst I understand the fear and survival instinct that is propelling people to go ham at supermarkets, we shouldn’t hoard our groceries as if the world is about to end.
Consider those people who are now subjected to the Stay-Home Notice (SHN), or those who have been afflicted with symptoms and have chosen to self-quarantine—they’re in dire need of these essentials for the 14 days they aren’t allowed to leave the house.
If you’ve just been issued an SHN or been self-quarantined, I’ve compiled a brief grocery list of essential items you should purchase before you get sequestered away in your house for the next two weeks. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does consist of basic items that I think will serve you well.
1. Basic Cooking Necessities: Two cartons of eggs
For the safety of food delivery drivers and your own wallets, I’d highly suggest making your own meals during your Stay-Home Notice. These essentials may seem quite intuitive, but you’d be surprised how much garlic and onion you need if you’re going to cook every meal for 14 days, even more so if you’ve got a family to feed. Some other cooking necessities would include oil, vegetables, meat, eggs and milk, though do be wary of best-before dates with fresh food.
2. Carbs: 10kg of rice for a family of four, four loaves of bread
The one food staple Asians can’t live without—carbs. Whether it be rice, noodles, pasta, potatoes or bread, I doubt you could survive a 14-day quarantine without carbs to fill you up. Of course, don’t buy too much and bite off more than you chew (pun intended).
3. Frozen Foods: Six packets of gyoza
If you’re sentenced to roam around your house for two weeks, you’re bound to get peckish and you’ll need something to munch on. Frozen food will be your best friend; I’m talking frozen chicken nuggets, frozen fish fingers, frozen gyoza. Just throw them in your air fryer for the perfect mid-day snack.
4. Canned Foods: Five cans
Although it might sound like a cliché, the truth is, canned food is really convenient for almost any meal in the day. If you’re not feeling up to cooking up a storm while in quarantine, you can whip out some canned tuna to spread on your bread, or heat up some Prego sauce to drizzle over your pasta with a side of Campbells Mushroom Soup.
But remember to eat in moderation, lah. There’s a lot of preservatives that go into a can of your favourite braised peanuts.
5. Beverages: 28 cans or five 1.5 litre bottles
If you’re a victim to your sweet tooth cravings, make sure you stock up enough beverages to last your quarantine period. These include coffee or tea, soft drinks (especially if you’re one of those crazy Coke drinkers), alcohol to drink your worries away and whatever else you think you might need.
In case you were wondering, refrigerated bubble tea only stays fresh for up to 24 hours, so prepare yourselves for a sad two weeks.
6. Toilet Paper: One pack of 10 rolls
This essential doesn’t need much explanation, but please only buy what you need for you and your family; other people need toilet paper too.
7. Feminine Hygiene Products: Sufficient for your cycle or up to 14 days
For my ladies out there, you’ll never know when Mother Nature will decide to take you for a ride and send your hormones into overdrive two weeks earlier than what your period app predicts. To save yourself the embarrassment and the inconvenience, it’s always good to buy more because you can always keep them for the next month.
8. Snacks: Five packets of Kettle Chips
Last but definitely not least, get sufficient snacks for your entire household because you’re bound to get restless throughout the day and even in the night. The usual suspects—chips, chocolate, sweets, ice cream, or yoghurt and even fruits as healthy alternatives to whet your appetite.
Some of my personal favourites include Red Rock Deli Chips, Nestle Aero Peppermint Chocolate and the classic Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream to make myself feel better because we need all the happiness that we can get.
Most of the products I’ve mentioned can be found on all main grocery delivery sites, like RedMart, NTUC Fairprice, Cold Storage and Amazon Prime—I’ve got your back. Hopefully, these essentials will tide you over your period of quarantine, and you’ll emerge coronavirus-free!
In these trying and nerve-wracked times, all the more we should find it in ourselves to be considerate towards those around us because this critical period will soon pass. Stay safe, and may the odds be ever in your favour.