Come lunch time, us working folk are always faced with the same dilemma: What's for lunch? It's worse if you're trying to eat healthy; while it's easy for experts to tell us to buy groceries and prep our meals for the week on Sunday – some of us just don't have the time (or patience) to do that. Enter the new wave of KL's lunch delivery services, where nutritious, square meals are just a mouse click away. Here, we put some of the best lunch deliveries in the Klang Valley to the test.
If you’re struggling to keep up with your clean-eating resolutions, this is the food delivery service for you. Weird name aside, The Naked Lunchbox is one of the best lunch deliveries we’ve had. Making healthy eating easier with its delicious fare, The Naked Lunchbox’s menu (with new items added every two weeks) is designed for different dietary needs (raw, paleo, vegan, low sodium, gluten-free and dairyfree). Plus, they avoid the use of refined flour, sugar and salt. Don’t yawn just yet. Instead, The Naked Lunchbox uses ingredients like sea salt, honey and olive oil to make their dressing from scratch. Tip: Try the tomato salsa.
What we had: The Mulan (RM16.90), a dairy-free dish consisting of stir-fried greens and mushrooms with organic bario mountain rice and homemade curry gravy, was a surprisingly filling option. However, the highlight of our order from The Naked Lunchbox was the Taco Salad (RM16.90) (pictured). The salad with avocado, vegan cashew sour cream, eggs and fresh tomato salsa was nothing like a taco, yet our biodegradable lunch box was scraped clean.
Verdict: Healthy and delicious lunches delivered to our door? Yes, please.
First things first: We like the fact that Dah Makan offers the option of online payment and cash on delivery (not everyone wants to go through the hassle of online banking while on a deadline). The nifty website also provides choices for healthy snacks (we opted for salted gula Melaka granola from Amazin’ Graze), juices and artisanal sodas. Making life easier for us (which is basically the whole point of food delivery services), Dah Makan even offers food subscription packages for lunch and dinner, free delivery, and most importantly, a promise of food being delivered within 40 minutes of order.
What we had: Baked salmon on wild rice pilaf with steamed vegetables (RM18). A squeeze of lemon over the (slightly overcooked) salmon fillet and we were ready to go. Rice was rather dry, but we like the idea of having fresh steamed veggies for lunch instead of the usual kangkung belacan from the local nasi campur stall.
Verdict: Food was decent, but high points for convenience and a user-friendly website.
Serving mostly Western fare, KotakLunch is one of the newer lunch delivery services in town. Owner Wen Xin personally shops for ingredients at the market every morning, as well as cooks and delivers the meals. The salt-free and monosodium glutamate-free menu at KotakLunch includes options such as barbecue pulled chicken burger with apple slaw, grilled chicken with avocado and quinoa salad, fish tacos and more.
What we had: The Greek yoghurt grilled chicken with blueberry spinach salad (RM20) that we ordered arrived in a food container with extra compartments for one dessert (a blueberry muffin) and sliced fruits. There was also a pot of balsamic vinegar and nutmeg dressing that didn’t go very well with the salad.
Verdict: The chicken was a tad dry, but there’s a nice personal touch about the whole thing, from the box being hand-delivered by the owner to the compartmentalised food container that feels like you’re having lunch prepared by your mum.
The Rebellious Chickpea works this way: They whip up a weekly menu and customers can plan their meals in advance. Chef Allison buys ingredients daily from the market and makes dishes such as cranberry kampung chicken with quinoa, steamed patin with ginger, squid ink pasta, and so on. The weekly menu features ‘Surprise Me Wednesdays’, where customers get a mystery lunch on Wednesday, which helps to keep things interesting. So far mystery lunches have included filo pizza quiche and onion soup with crusty cheese bread.
What we had: Curry kampung chicken with pita bread (RM16). Think a large container of excellent curry chicken and a bag of three puny pita bread quarters. We suggest you supplement this meal with a naan from the mamak around the corner.
Verdict: Food arrived warm, and the curry chicken (with a large chicken thigh and cubes of pumpkin instead of the usual potatoes) was thick, creamy and satisfying. However, the lack of greens and tiny pita portions were a letdown.
From RM76.90 (serves three)
From Ili Sulaiman (winner of the Asian Food Channel Food Hero competition) comes a tiffin lunch delivery service, Dish by Ili. Offering wholesome home-cooked food in multi-level tiffin carriers, Dish by Ili’s menu is a balanced mix between Western and Asian selections. Think Peranakan chicken curry and five-spice roast chicken. Apart from being environmentally friendly, using tiffin carriers also means that one gets more food, which means it’s great for sharing. They also have individual portions from RM16.90 (without the tiffin).
What we had: Gai Yang, a Thai-style grilled chicken (RM76.90). Lunch came in a four-level tiffin carrier containing fragrant pandan-flavoured rice, ulam (with pretty fantastic sambal belacan), matcha marble cake, nicely marinated Thai-style grilled chicken (there were hints of lemongrass, mint, garlic and fish sauce), a handwritten note and, weirdly, no cutlery. Highlight: The tiffin is ours to keep.
Verdict: Food arrived hot, portions were huge, but the steep delivery fees (our total bill came up to RM92) came as a shocker. Maybe order this as a surprise present for someone in need of a tiffin carrier and a homecooked meal.
Subscriptions from RM56 per month
With a nutritionist onboard, Food Matters offers healthy meals based on monthly subscriptions. How it works is this: You pick a subscription (choose from four to 20 meals a month) and using your meal credits, pick from six available dishes of the day (good to know: there's always one vegetarian and low-carb option). In total, there are close to 40 dishes on the menu, and the best part is you can pick the days on which you'll be needing lunch (and skip the days you’ll be away). Go for the complete subscription for a better deal – RM200 a month gets you 20 meal credits (RM10 per meal).
What we had: The Moroccan meatballs with couscous pilaf (pictured), tom yam pasta with tempeh, and salmon cilantro fish cakes with quinoa miso salad are all dishes we'd gladly order again. However, we're not huge fans of their brown rice dishes (like the Hainanese chicken rice for example) and those that feature baked skinless chicken breast, which both tend to be dry. Maybe adding your own sauce will help.
Verdict: Food may be hit-and-miss (they don't always arrive warm either), but it's nice to plan your weekday lunches for the rest of the month and not have to decide where to eat every day. There's also that added bonus of consuming only lean meats and skinless chicken breast. Warning: Don't expect your food to arrive as pretty as pictured.
More lunch deliveries to try
Chopstick Diner specialises in salad-based lunches like sushi burrito, roasted eggplant and pumpkin salad with tahini dressing, Vietnamese chicken salad, and more. It also stocks juices from Crush, as well as chia seeds and sesame seeds as nutrient-packed toppings for the salads.