I tried the S$10.50 takeaway box for buffet food from a S'pore high-end hotel. It was shiok.

Disclaimer: not everyone will be as lucky as I was. And this is not a sponsored post.

Adelene Wee | October 15, 2022, 05:35 PM

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As a buffet fan, I was intrigued when my friend texted me about Treatsure, an app that allows customers to take away food from eateries to prevent food wastage.

So, I decided to try it out.

Photo via Treatsure app

After glancing at the restaurants available on the app, which were mostly located in high-end hotels, I decided to go to Asian Market Cafe at Fairmont Hotel in City Hall.

I arrived at Fairmont Hotel around 1:55pm on a Wednesday afternoon, only to be told that they ran out of takeaway boxes for the day.

Puzzled, I checked the app and saw that it provided the option to order and pay for the box.

After checking with the staff again, they told me that they only had six boxes to offer for the day and the lady in front of me scored the last one.

I went home in disappointment.

Photo via Adelene Wee

Photo via Adelene Wee

Feeling even more determined to not suffer from FOMO, I decided to try again.

This time round, I arrived at 1:30pm on a Friday -- slightly before we're allowed to start dabao-ing food at 1:45pm.

I was the first in line and the staff told me they had five boxes to sell for the day.

At around 1:40pm, there were five people behind me and a staff member told the last one that they would only open up more slots if they had extra food to offer.

Photo via Treatsure app

At 1:45pm, I was directed to checkout a Treatsure box on the app and made my payment at the counter.

I was then handed an empty box and proceeded into the restaurant.

Raw seafood & carvings not included

I (sadly) skipped the raw seafood section as I was told that they're off-limits to those using Treatsure.

Photo by Adelene Wee

The staff told me that I could add on meat carvings for S$5 but I was determined to not spend a single cent more.

I am who I am.

Photo via Adelene Wee

Photo by Adelene Wee

My first stop was the live station serving sambal stingray, sambal prawns and sambal squid.

I filled my first two compartments with prawn and squid.

Photo via Adelene Wee

Because no one should go to a buffet and eat rice etc.

I skipped the rice and noodles section because crabs > carbs.

Crabs and prawns

Photo via Adelene Wee

Photo via Adelene Wee

I felt a surge of dopamine as I spotted buttery white pepper crab, turmeric prawn and seafood tofu.

As a seafood fan, I dedicated two compartments to the crabs and prawns.

Having only one compartment left, I walked around the restaurant, contemplating how I should fill my box's last compartment.

What others did

Photo via Adelene Wee

While making this very important decision, I glanced at what other customers, i.e. buffet ransackers, took and noticed that their mix consisted of mains, vegetables and seafood.

I overheard a short conversation between someone who paid full price for the buffet (whom we'll call A) who was shocked that another person (whom we'll call B) was scooping food into a takeaway box, and it went something like this:

A: Where you get the takeaway box?

B: *mumbles something incoherent*

A: You buy from counter?

B: *nods*

And then there was an uncle who wanted to leave the restaurant without filling up his box.

I suggested that he pick more items, but he waved the suggestion away as he explained he wouldn't be able to finish everything on his own anyway.

He also told me that he heard about the app from a friend.

Just desserts

Photo via Adelene Wee

Photo via Adelene Wee

The dessert section was quite crowded when I walked over.

As someone with a bit of a sweet tooth, I decided that cheesecake, hazelnut cake, ondeh-ondeh cake and cherry tart was my final pick.

Or should I say, final picks.

Photo via Adelene Wee

Here’s my filled box at the end of my expedition.

Wanting to get my money's worth, I added some ang ku kueh, kueh salat and balanced a few more pieces of seafood on top of what I already had.

If I am modest, I can finish this in two seatings.

I walked out of the restaurant feeling triumphant as I was mentally prepared that I would have to go home with a box of carbs and vegetables.

Photo via Adelene Wee

Here’s my final.jpg box for the day.

Advice from my mum

Photo via Adelene Wee

I texted a picture of what I thought was my masterpiece to my mum but she had a different view.

She replied that I should have taken chicken or fish instead as the desserts looked like "cheap things" to her.

But hey, they made me happy.

Was I judged for walking around with an overflowing box of food?

Answer is no.

The staff and other diners didn't look my way at all.

Maybe they had good peripheral vision or whatever.

But everyone was busy with their own stuff and I was probably the only one judging myself for walking out of the restaurant with a box overfilled with food.

The real walk of shame began when I moved around the mall, attempting to find a plastic bag as I did not bring my own.

PSA: plastic bags are not provided so please bring your own.

I was so worried, I texted my colleagues, "Guys, I'm walking around with the crab leg hanging out from my dabao box."

They assured me nobody cared, and they were right.

After sharing photos of my food with my colleagues, they bombarded me with questions.

Here are the most commonly asked ones:

Can I pile my food as high as I want to?

No one stopped me even though I piled up so much food that I couldn't close the box. That being said, pile at your own risk as not everyone will get as lucky as I did.

It would potentially be quite embarrassing if you dropped anything on the floor too.

Pro tip: Take a quick walk around the restaurant to know what’s left before taking up the precious space in your box.

Can I book a slot in advance?

You can’t. You just have to pray that the restaurant still has boxes to offer you when you get there.

Will I get crabs and prawns too?

This is purely based on luck, and I consider myself quite lucky as I didn't know what was left before I made my payment.

I’ve heard stories of some who used the app and ended up with boxes of carbs instead.

All I can say is, good luck.

Top image via Adelene Wee