SINGAPORE - With dining at restaurants banned for extended periods because of the Covid-19 pandemic, more people have turned to whipping up gourmet meals at home.
The demand for premium ingredients has fuelled the rise of indie online epicurean specialists selling directly to consumers what were once available only to restaurants and hotels.
Now, with just a few taps on your smartphone, you can get anything from live hairy crabs to lobster to top-grade wagyu delivered to your door step.
With the surge in interest in Korean culture, including its food, more sellers now specialise in importing premium products from South Korea.
The most prominent is SoGoodK, which brings in seasonal products and delicacies. It is currently selling Sangju shine muscat grapes, musk melons and fresh chestnuts as well as ganjang gejang, a delicacy of raw crabs marinated in soya sauce.
For a wider range of Korean fruit and vegetables, check out BlueBasket. There are hard-to-find but affordable items like pumpkin sweet potato and cucumber pepper. Or you can shell out for premium Shine muscat grapes and honey apples.
Carnivores are spoilt for choice with online butcheries bringing in choice meats from different parts of the world, often at lower prices than those in supermarkets.
East Side Butchers is a good place to start, as it frequently holds sales for top-quality meats. For example, it had a one-for-one deal early this month for Miyazaki wagyu A5 striploin, which is among the top grades of Japanese beef. You can also buy the lauded Silver Hill duck from Ireland that is served in many top Chinese restaurants here.
If what you seek is Challans duck from France, served in fine-dining restaurants here, try The New Grocer. The purveyor also sells Bresse chicken from France, which is considered the best in the world by Western chefs.
Meanwhile, Le Petit Butchery not only sells meat like Australian wagyu and Spanish duroc pork, but also seafood like shucked raw lobster from Canada and Sri Lankan yellow roe cold crab that rivals what you get at top Teochew restaurants.
It sold Shanghai hairy crabs when they were in season in October and November, as did other newcomers like Crustakings and Hairy Crab Singapore.
Fans of premium fish maw, which can cost more than $1,000 a kilogram at Chinese dried goods stores, will be happy to know that Singapore barramundi farm Kulhbarra sells fresh ones that are thick and firm at $15 for 80g, a fraction of the price.