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Food

6 Tapau Hacks That You Have to Try to Maximise Your Takeaway Meals

Last Updated: May 5, 2020

Written by Nicole Lam

Now that we are sequestered at home (for our safety, of course), sometimes we enjoy whipping up a meal in the kitchen. Other days are lazy days, where you just want to #tapuaplease—myself included.

Given that we are doing more takeaways than ever, here are six tips and tricks so you get the most out of your tapau haul.

1. Reusable Containers

With the number of takeaways increasing by the day, it’s hard to ignore the plastic waste that builds up from the many rounds of chicken rice.

Even though these are extraordinary times, we can still find ways to take of the environment. You’ve heard the spiel on reusable containers so I’m not going to belabour the points here.

Besides the obvious environmental benefits, there are so many gorgeous containers that are on the market. It could even serve as a mood lifter!

But, if you do have some at home, definitely utilise them first. For those worried about the cleanliness and hygiene of the containers, just remember to wash them well with soap and water.

2. Use Heat-Retaining Containers

This is an ingenious solution for those who need your fishball noodles absolutely piping hot when it arrives.

If your hawker centre is a little further away, you might want to consider using heat-proof glass containers that you can easily pop on the stove.

Fu Ming Cooked Food 2

Not only does this save time, but since these containers are glass, you can store the leftovers in the refrigerator without fear of any harmful substances leaching into your food.

Tapau Hacks Online 2

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If you want to save a step, I would suggest using thermos containers that keep your food hot, even by the time you get home. Even better, if your thermos has separate compartments—that way, you’ll keep your noodles and soup separate, so say goodbye to soggy, bloated noodles.

Not to mention, there are many local purveyors of reusable containers that you can check out such as Paper Bunny and Seastainable. It’s always good to #supportlocal!

3. Separating Your Food

Xin Yuan Jin 5

To ensure your food does not become a soggy mess by the time you get home, it helps to pack your food separately.

I like to do this with the fried fish pieces with my fish soup. I do like to soak them in the soup, but I find they get way too soggy during the tapau journey home, such that they are not enjoyable.

Wow Wow West Abc Brickworks Market & Food Centre 6

This would work for both soups and gravy dishes. For example, if you’re buying hor fun, separating the gravy would greatly enhance the experience at home. Even with goodies such as chicken chop, remember to have them served on the side.

4. Multiple Uses For Sauce

Hiang Ji Roasted Meat Noodle House - Roasted Pork with Char Siew rice tapau

This is the kind of thing you can do even after the Circuit Breaker ends.

If you find that your favourite hawker has given you extra sauce, don’t fret, you can still find other uses for it. For example, if you are buying roasted meat and was given some extra sauce, you can use them to marinate chicken wings or any other meat. It’s a tasty way to repurpose a killer sauce!

5. Freezing Your Takeaways

To minimise the need of leaving your house, I would suggest buying your hawker food in bulk and freezing them. This way, you can have ready-made portions of your favourite meals in the freezer and ready to eat in just five minutes. The lazy man’s meal prep, if you will.

Chey Sua Carrot Cake 15

One of the easiest things to buy in bulk would be the humble carrot cake (chai tow kway). Usually pretty inexpensive to buy in bigger portions and can be easily stored in the refrigerator.

After all, there is nothing like a piping hot plate of fried carrot cake from Chey Sua to perk up your day.

Whampoa Prawn Noodles 2 tapau

This works even better for Prawn Noodles, where you can freeze the soup and the noodle portion separately. That means you can have this flavourful dish on hand, any time you want.

Niqqi's The Cheese Prata Shop Singapore 3 tapau

This also works especially well for roti prata and curries—plus, you can keep your curries and serve them with rice the next day.

6. Jazz Up Your Tapau Food

Commonwealth Crescent Market& Food Centre Huang Da Fu 6 tapau

This last one involves a little creativity on your part and some time in the kitchen. If you find yourself spilling over with tapau food, why not combine all your scraps for a bowl of epic fried rice?

Or if you have leftover mee pok, why not combine it with some egg, chopped cabbage and you’ll have a kind of fusion okonomiyaki. 

You can really go anywhere with this. If you need some inspiration, you can take a look at some of our Simple Stay-home recipes.


Times are difficult and while the days are melding together, perhaps this list can add a little excitement and change to your tapau routine.

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