Tiap Chay: The Chinoy Meal Delivery

By Michelle Tan 30 June, 2017

Nowadays, we are often too busy with work or other aspects in our life that we have no time to prepare food for ourselves or for our families. In fact, not everyone knows how to cook and would resort to canned goods. Some are fortunate to have maids, who can prepare their food. However, there are times wherein your maid had to take a long leave or probably would have to leave you permanently. What happens to these people who doesn’t know how to cook or who doesn’t have the time to prepare their meals? Well, they would move to our alternatives such as buying from fast food chains or cafeterias or sometimes subscribing for the diet delivery services to take care of their meals.

But what most people don’t know, before diet deliveries became popular, Chinoys already have the concept of family meals delivery, or more popularly known as “Tiap Chay”. These are weekly, monthly or even yearly subscription of family meal deliveries, wherein they are to receive two to three viands that are usually good for three to four people.

Growing up, I was fortunate to have a maid, who would prepare our meals. Given that my mom doesn’t know how to cook, we rely heavily on our maid to prepare our breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even then, the Tiap Chay concept was not new to me. Every time I visit my grandparents’ office, I would see these three-layer stainless steel containers, or what we called pombrera, near the entrance. Every 10AM, someone will pick the pombrera from the office and would later return it before the clock hits noon. That was the time that I was introduced to the concept of Tiap Chay.

My mother explained that for the past few years they have been availing for the Tiap Chay services in the office as my grandmother is already old. They are preventing her from exerting too much effort to prepare meals for her children. Instead, they want to spare her from going to the market and waking up early to cook by availing for the meal delivery.

Tiap Chay service has already existed and has been availed by Chinese families even back in the 60s and 70s.  Back then, having maids are not as common. Not all mothers know how to cook and some parents are too busy to buy the ingredients and prepare the food. While the service was not as popular as the diet delivery meals that most of us are familiar of, it is still present until now. There are a lot of restaurants, especially in Banawe and Manila, that are still offering this service. There are also some online business offering the Tiap Chay delivery services to San Juan, New Manila, Ortigas, and Banawe among others. Prices range from Php200-Php280 for 2 viands that are good for four people and Php300-Php380 for 3 viands, one of which is a vegetable dish, that is also good for four people. Given that the establishments who offer these services are usually Chinese restaurants, the food delivered are also the usual Chinese food that Chinoys grew accustomed with. 

Recently, our maid has also decided to leave. Since my mother doesn’t know how to cook and we don’t have the time either, we have also availed for the Tiap Chay service near our home.  Every night, we are excited to come home and to see what food is inside that three-layer container. The variety of food combination and the element of surprise both adds to the excitement.  I guess it is also because it gives us the illusion that we are “eating out” almost every day. Bring back the Tiap Chay practice in our home brings back old childhood memories when I linger around my grandparents’ office wondering what time will they claim the stainless steel container or what food will they service us that day. Admittedly, it’s really convenient since we don’t have to shop for all the ingredients in the market or the groceries. Isn’t it nice not to worry about your meal when you get home from a bad traffic during payday Friday or when you get home late from work?

If your maid is currently enjoying her long leave or if she doesn’t plan to come back at all, or maybe if you are a working mom, who doesn’t have the time to prepare the meals, why not look for restaurants that still offers Tiap Chay.

How about you? Do you have the same experiences? Are you looking for one? Drop your comments and share your experiences to us!

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Last modified on Friday, 30 June 2017 22:37

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