Enjoying Sembawang Shi Fu Ge 食福閣 Zi Char with Foodpanda Home Food Delivery Service15 March, 2015
I hate calling food delivery hotlines to order food e.g. pizza – during busy periods, you waste lots of time waiting on hold and when you finally get hold of someone on the line, you have to pronounce your orders clearly (especially if there are many similar dish variations) or worse, you have to decide on the spot when the restaurant staff reads out the entire menu to you. Even after you have finished ordering your food, you might just realised that there isn’t enough cash at home to pay the delivery guy and you have to scramble to put together all available cash at home!
With Foodpanda’s food delivery service, the entire ordering process is much more simplified into 4 simple steps. Start by putting in your postal code and Foodpanda filters their restaurant list to just those that delivers to your address. You don’t have to google for phone numbers to call if your favorite restaurants offer delivery service and even if they do, do they deliver to your address. All these info are made available within seconds just key inputting your postal code. Don’t worry – unless you are at Pulau Tekong, there are always a few restaurants that deliver anywhere in Singapore. You will also be able to see which restaurants are closed at the time you are ordering your food – you can make preorders from the restaurant instead.
There is a large variety of restaurants (I think about 350+) in Foodpanda’s restaurant list and they cover a wide variety of cuisines e.g. Japanese, Western, Indian and of course Fast Food. Who says home food delivery is only limited to pizzas and burgers anymore 🙂 There is no longer the need to flip through phonebooks (be it hardcopy or online versions) to look for phone numbers as you can interact with them all via the Foodpanda website.
There are even hawker food delivery available at Foodpanda – we decided to use Foodpanda to order from our favorite Zi Char food. Zi Char (that is how it is pronounced but spellings take many forms e.g. Zhu Chao, Tze Char) food literally means “Cooked Fried” and that is how the Zi Char dishes are prepared. You will typically find a Zi Char food stall in coffee shops/hawker centres where they churn our ala carte Chinese dishes like hor fun, fried rice, cereal prawns. There are also dedicated Zi Char restaurants like the one we tried with Foodpanda – Shi Fu Ge 食福閣 at Sembawang (Jalan Tampang) – sometimes Shi Fu Ge is also referred to as Yi Jia Le Seafood Delivery (一家乐煮炒外卖) & Shi Fu Ge (食福阁) but in Foodpanda, it is just Shi Fu Ge.
Shi Fu Ge’s menu is very extensive – they have more than 180+ varieties of Zi Char food and most of them come in 3 sizes to choose from. For each dish e.g. Hor Fun, there are at least 3-8 different ways of cooking it (with different ingredients too). This is where I really appreciated Foodpanda’s service where Shi Fu Ge’s menu is laid out completely in the website. I can take my time to decide what to eat and the quantity to order. Shi Fu Ge’s bestseller dishes are also set aside in its own category “Bestseller” so I know what are the must eats. Shi Fu Ge had also taken the effort to describe some of their dishes very “vividly” – as you can see from the picture with the first dish “Golden Chicken Cubes”.
Delivery fees vary with restaurants – for Shi Fu Ge, it is $2 with a minimum order of $10. Free delivery if you spend more than $30 with Shi Fu Ge at Foodpanda.
Another function I like about Foodpanda is the option to do advance orders. I needed my Shi Fu Ge dinner to be delivered by 7pm and the Shi Fu Ge restaurant requires a 2-hour lead time to prepare the food (so the latest I have to order is by 5pm to get my dinner at 7pm). However, I will be in a meeting from 4 – 6pm and won’t be able to make my Foodpanda orders then. This is where Foodpanda’s advance orders function comes in handy – I am able to send my orders to Foodpanda at 2pm and they will inform Shi Fu Ge of my orders at the necessary timings.
So I made an advance order for the Shi Fu Ge Zi Char dinner feast for my family. My order was sent over to Shi Fu Ge from Foodpanda at 5pm – 30 minutes after Shi Fu Ge restaurant was opened (Shi Fu Ge opening hours: 10am to 1.30pm; 4.30pm to 9.30pm daily). I ordered at 2pm (when Shi Fu Ge was closed) so my order went into the preorder queue with Foodpanda.
I called Foodpanda to check on my orders at 5pm after I had not received any order confirmation email/SMS – the call operator at Foodpanda Singapore’s hotline (658-YUMMY or 6589 8669) picked up my call promptly, explained for the delay politely and addressed my issue by sending over the order to Shi Fu Ge quickly. I received the order confirmation email almost immediately after I put down my phone.
The Shi Fu Ge food was supposed to come at 7pm but the Shi Fu Ge delivery guy was late and only arrived at around 7.45pm. This isn’t Foodpanda’s fault as they had taken care of the order process – Shi Fu Ge is in charge of the food preparation and delivery. The late delivery didn’t matter – the food was still hot upon arrival and the delay only whetted our appetite to tuck into our Zi Char dinner especially after a long day at work. Here you see in the picture below – David (not the delivery guy) with S$200 worth of 12 different Zi Char dishes from Shi Fu Ge!
This is the dinner feast the 8 of us are looking forward to. Each dish is properly packed and sealed in their respective plastic/cardboard containers by Shi Fu Ge – chili (of the cut green and red + assam type), plastic spoons and wooden chopsticks are also provided so we can dive straight into our dinner without having to prepare our own utensils.
Besides Shi Fu Ge’s Curry Fish Head, Claypot Sea Cucumber with Fish Maw, we also ordered their 2 bestsellers – the Golden Chicken Cubes and Honey Milk Pork Cubes – these are absolute must-orders if you are buying from Shi Fu Ge – the Golden Chicken Cubes are deep fried and stir fried with salted egg making the dish very savoury. We ordered a small quantity (S$13.30) and the serving size is adequate for 8 persons as we have 11 other Zi Char dishes on the table too. Shi Fu Ge is well known for its crab dishes especially their Crab in a Bag Imperial Pot ($132) but we decided not to get our hands messy with crab sauces this time round.
If you want to order food on the go with Foodpanda, you can also do so with their Foodpanda apps available at Google Play store, Apple App store or Windows Phone store.
What I like most about the Foodpanda app is the reviews section – what confirmed our decision to order Shi Fu Ge was the reviews – we saw mostly favourable reviews e.g. food is good, portions are generous but we also saw a number of complaints about the delivery time (more than 2 hours) so we had managed our expectations on Shi Fu Ge food delivery time. Payment methods and opening hours are also cleared spelt out in the Foodpanda app.
The ordering mechanism through the Foodpanda app is also very clear – using the Foodpanda app, you don’t have the luxury of “space” compared to ordering via their website on your laptop so they have designed the interface to be quite intuitive e.g. a huge tick (with quantity ordered) is shown right next to the dish you ordered so you will not miss out and repeat your orders while swiping the list of dishes.
One key drawback of using the Foodpanda app is the limitation in the size of the dish you can order – at least that’s the case for Shi Fu Ge. On the Foodpanda website, I can order small, medium or large quantities for the Honey Milk Pork Cubes dish but on the Foodpanda app, i can only order small quantities for the same dish – this also applies for many other Shi Fu Ge dishes. I guess this is to keep the Foodpanda app interface simple and not to make it too unwieldy especially if you are ordering on the go.
Overall, we are happy Foodpanda customers (for the excellent ordering experience) and enjoyed the Shi Fu Ge’s Zi Char dishes!