April 2022: The Month of Food Panda

April 2022 was the month of Food Panda with my meals ordered almost exclusively through their food delivery app. I saved a ton of money and ate fairly well. This blog is an account of my orders and experiences.

Most of the time, I simply buy groceries at the Tops mini-mart in Limelight, a tiny shopping center a few minutes’ walk from my apartment, or hit the 7-Eleven for ready-to-eat meals or snacks. On those rare occasions (only once or twice per month) when I would order dinner from a food delivery service, I always used 1112 Delivery which has places like Pizza Company, Burger King, Swenson’s, Dairy Queen (I never ordered from the latter two as I am skeptical about ice cream arriving unmelted in this relentless tropical heat).

However, one night at the end of March I was really craving something from McDonald’s. I hadn’t eaten there in months (in the whole of 2022 up to that date, in fact) and was in the mood for a Double Cheeseburger. I knew that both the Grab and Food Panda apps serviced Mickey D’s so I downloaded the latter and read the FAQ’s before placing my initial order:

27 March 20:50: McDonald’s

289.00 baht
  • Double Cheeseburger: 129.00
  • Cheesy Ham Pie: 32.00
  • Sharing Box (Small French Fries, 6pc. Chicken McNuggets, 3pc. Chick Stick) 119.00
  • Delivery Fee: 9.00

Aside from the driver getting lost and the food arriving quite late and cold, I was happy for the alternative — a lot more food than I could get from Burger King at a much lower price (although, I will always be partial to a Whopper).

29 March 19:27: Sanny Vietnamese Sandwich First Branch in Phuket

187.00 baht
  • Value Set: 173.00
  • Delivery Fee: 14.00

I used to ride past Sanny’s small shophouse whenever I returned from work when our offices were still in the big Central Festival shopping mall at the center of the island. I’d been curious about bánh mì sandwich for quite some time (bánh mì is actually the baguette and not the toppings). For a short while last year, the local 7-Eleven carried a tiny bánh mì sandwich which was my only previous experience with this food.

Sanny’s menu included a value set with a Vietnamese grilled pork sandwich coming with French fries, 4 chicken nuggets, and Thai milk tea. I ordered the half-sandwich set and it was extremely delicious (and filling!). The driver also found my home without any difficulty, despite it being much farther away than McDonald’s a few nights before. My only real complaint was the large amount of plastic used to deliver the meal. I would come to find out that EVERY restaurant used a lot of plastic — all except for McDonald’s….

01 April 19:12: Sanny Vietnamese Sandwich First Branch in Phuket

  • Value Set (Large): 223.00
  • Italian Soda – Green Apple: 25.00
  • Delivery Fee: FREE!

A couple of nights later, I reordered Sanny’s Value Set as described above but opted to pay 50 baht more for the large sandwich. Wow! It was just too much food and I struggled to finish it. Still, pretty darn awesome and still my favorite of my Food Panda orders (we will see Sanny again).

I also added a very tasty green apple Italian soda to this order.

02 April 19:32: McDonald’s

  • Triple Beef Cheeseburger: 165.00
  • Sharing Box (small French fries, 6pc. Chicken McNuggets, 3pc. Chick Sticks): 119.00
  • Delivery Fee: FREE!

Ever since the Triple Cheeseburger and the Double Big Mac appeared on the local McDonald’s menu, I had wanted to try one or the other. Well, I finally broke down and ordered a Triple this evening. I really wish I hadn’t. The burger was just too much beef packed into a soggy bun. I ate about half of it before pitching the remainder in the bin. I felt so bad from the burger and I didn’t even attempt the box of fries, McNuggets and Chick Sticks until the next day. They were okay but not what they would have been warm.

04 April 20:19: Naka Chicken Rice Halal Food

  • Fried Chicken Biryani (Extra Size) with Omlette: 80.00
  • Roselle Juice: 25.00
  • Delivery Fee: FREE!

I decided to try some “Thai” food (by way of India) on this particular evening. The food arrived quickly despite the distance involved (somewhere around the Naka Market area). It was filling and you can never go wrong with locally-made roselle juice!

05 April 19:14: Sanny Vietnamese Sandwich First Branch in Phuket

  • Value Set (Large): 223.00
  • Delivery Fee: FREE!

Sure can’t go wrong with Sanny.

05 April 19:23: Style Kru’s Bakery at Chillva Market

  • Cream Cheese Brownie: 20.00
  • Chocolate Chip Brownie: 20.00
  • Fudged Chocolate Cake: 35.00
  • Chocolate Soft Cookies: 20.00
  • Delivery Fee: FREE!

One of the fun things about Food Panda are the various challenges and rewards. I ordered some dessert this evening as I would earn points for “2 Times Tuesday”. The treats actually arrived before the meal so I waited another 10 minutes or so for the Sanny’s order to arrive. These desserts were extremely tasty (although I found the very large cookie to be very, very dry). They were so rich that I ended up saving a couple until the next day (brownies are a great breakfast!).

07 April 20:18: Pandamart (Phuket 1)

  • Coke Soft Drink Original 1.5 liters: 27.00
  • Orion Custard Soft Cake Banana Flavor: 45.00
  • Doritos Nacho Cheese Chips: 20.00
  • Lays Stax Sour Cream & Onion Chips: 20.00
  • Farmhouse Sandwich Bread: 21.00
  • Delivery Fee: 9.00

Food Panda also has services delivering groceries from their own facility as well as from other local supermarkets and mini-marts, area stationery and clothing stores, etc. On this particular evening, I was too lazy to walk to 7-Eleven to buy a large bottle of soda so I decided to test out the Pandamart. They didn’t have the 1.25 liter size of Coke (which 7-Eleven sells for 29.00 baht) but had the larger 1.5 size which is a struggle to fit into my tiny fridge. I added a few snacks as I wanted to justify the delivery fee (no longer free this month — you can only use it an X number of times).

Since the end of the school year in mid-March, I have been on holiday and so haven’t left my apartment much (and Food Panda certainly hasn’t helped in that regard!). However, on the Sunday right before the Thai New Year Festival (on 13 April), I headed for one of the beaches on the island’s west coast. While walking to the local bus station, I spied a huge Food Panda mural on what used to be a bank. As I approached, I realized this must be their command center (at least in this part of Phuket) as well as the location of Pandamart. Duly impressed.

10 April 21:40: Lucky 13 Sandwich (Floresta)

  • Ham and Cheese Panini: 180.00
  • Mexi Chicken Wrap: 180.00
  • Fries ‘n’ Crispy (Chicken Nuggets): 150.00
  • Delivery Fee: 17.00
  • Discount: -102.00

I’d been debating whether or not to order from Lucky 13 for days, mostly because of the price. I was intrigued by the Mexi Chicken Wrap so that ultimately swayed me. That, and finding a discount code. Ultimately, the chicken wrap did not taste in the least bit “Mexi”. Oh, well. This was my biggest splurge with Food Panda.

16 April 17:19: Naka Chicken Rice Halal Food

  • Fried Chicken Biryani (Extra Size): 60.00
  • Roselle Juice: 25.00
  • Delivery Fee: 10.00

It would be nearly a week before my next Food Panda order (and it was a return to cheap but good Thai food). I’d spent most of that week enjoying the Songkran (Thai New Year) at one of our beach resort towns as well as celebrating my constant companion’s birthday. (During which time, I had my first French toast and my first Spicy Italian submarine sandwich since pre-pandemic times.)

19 April 18:16: Somtum Kanjana

  • Pork Fried Rice: 50.00
  • Grilled Chicken Breast: 50.00
  • Extra Sticky Rice: 10.00
  • Delivery Fee: 14.00

More Thai food a few days later. Always interesting to see what “extras” are included in certain staple dishes. This one didn’t include spring onions or the chilis in fish sauce but there was a lime wedge (which Naka had forgotten a couple of nights before). As usual in Thailand, the chicken breast was chopped “ODD”, resulting in dangerous bone shards.

21 April 18:55: Steak Khao Rang

  • Fried Dory Fish Steak with Tartar Sauce: 99.00
  • Delivery Fee: 10.00

There are plenty of cheap steak restaurants in the Food Panda app and I was searching for a decent pork steak when I decided I would rather have fish & chips. This wasn’t advertised as such but looked to be good value for the money so I went with it. It was very good although a wee bit on the small side. The crinkle-cut French fries were the best I’d had in the month thus far.

25 April 17:40: Khao Yum Songkhla Na Phuket

  • Pork Fried Rice: 60.00
  • Delivery Fee: 9.00
  • Discount: -6.00

This was my earliest-in-the-day and my least expensive Food Panda purchase to date. Really tasty and filling, too. They didn’t skimp on the extras either.

26 April 17:34: Bang Nara Halal Food

  • Beef and Chicken Big Burger with Cheese: 75.00
  • French Fries: 39.00
  • Delivery Fee: 9.00

The next afternoon saw me placing another “early in the day” order, this time trying a burger stand burger. I have shied away from these for a very long time — sticking with the chains if I need a burger — but have been curious about the quality and quantity. I knew the location of this place as it’s just the next street up from where my building is (and right across from the former Provincial Prison), just a small cart with a cooker on top. It took a while for them to cook it and I watched the app as the driver began the journey (there is a nice GPS locater to track deliveries). As soon as he left the stand, I headed down the four flights of stairs to ground level. He arrived just as I got to the lobby!

The wrapped burger was HUGE as was the amount of French fries; I ate about half of the latter before opening the wrapper to take a look at the burger. Oh, my goodness! As I unwrapped it, sauces began leaking onto my desk / dinner table. It was just covered in ketchup, mayonnaise and Sri Racha sauce! I generally don’t like eating really messy things that drip — and this was so soaked in sauce that the bun was very soggy — but this was so damn delicious that I can overlook the presentation. I will order from them again but will request “No Sauce” next time. They also included a small zip-bag of more ketchup and mayo (which is still in my fridge for next time). There were so many fries that I used them to help mop up some of the sauce from the wrapper.

28 April 16:29: Bang Sa Had Yai Fried Chicken 3rd Branch

  • Fried Chicken Biryani: 40.00
  • Crispy Fried Shallots: 10.00
  • Shredded Chicken with Sticky Rice: 20.00
  • Deep Fried Chicken Breast: 25.00
  • 2x Sweet Chicken with Sticky Rice
  • Delivery Fee: 17.00

This one was another real winner with good biryani (although I didn’t need to add the shallots as plenty were already included as free extras) and tasty chicken. I ended up saving the shredded chicken and one of the sweet chickens with sticky rice for the next day, putting them in the refrigerator so the ants wouldn’t find them. The sticky rice became solid bricks overnight but the chicken toppings were still tasty. It was a lot of food for very little cost (and you can see the price differences from what I had been spending earlier in the month!).

29 April 19:06: Pandamart (Phuket 1)

  • 2x Coke Soft Drink Original 1.5 liters: 52.00
  • Heinz Tomato Ketchup: 53.00
  • Tipco Cool 40% Apple Juice: 42.00
  • UFC Pineapple Juice: 62.00
  • Delivery Fee: 9.00

Another lazy night — was very thirsty and had been drinking bottles of water all day. I still had some money in the “beverages” budget for April so decided to order from Pandamart rather than making the 4-minute walk to 7-Eleven. I think I am becoming more and more Thai every year that I stay here! At any rate, this is enough soda and juice to last me until at least tomorrow night and the ketchup will keep me going for months…

30 April 18:41: Ber Ka Bang Sam Kong

  • Burger Set (description said “Burger Bun, Meat, Cheese and French Fries”): 89.00
  • Delivery Fee: 17.00

Decided to try another hamburger. This is one of the few places in the app that do not charge extra for beef or cheese. There were a ridiculously small number of regular French fries (I counted 12 but then found two more stuck to the side of the burger). They weren’t anything special. The burger had a single patty and had a fair amount of ketchup and mayonnaise on it already but it was not the soak-fest that my previous one had been.

I could actually taste char on the edges of the beef patty which was highly welcome. As with the other non-McD’s burgers I’ve had this month, this one had regular sliced cucumbers in lieu of pickles. I don’t blame them as I have not been able to find any sliced pickles in the supermarkets for at least a year or two. You used to be able to find gherkins but there was a brief period when a really good brand of sliced dill pickles were available at the Central supermarket. Wish they would come back….

To summarize, between 27 March and 30 April, I ordered deliveries using Food Panda a total of 17 times. Total cost (including delivery fees) was 2,978 baht so that works out to an average of 175.18 baht per order. That’s pretty good but would be a lot lower if I avoid McDonald’s and Lucky 13. Even my beloved Sanny sandwiches get to be a bit too expensive so maybe I will only order those once per month. As a result, however, my overall grocery bill is much, much lower than in previous months (two of the above were also “grocery orders”.

Food Panda, you can count me in as a fan!

One thought on “April 2022: The Month of Food Panda

  1. Pingback: Sunday Summary #1 | Mark Joseph Jochim

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