The VICE Guide to Right Now

These Are the Foods Bored People Are Making in Self-Quarantine

What’s with all the people baking bread?
25 March 2020, 7:54am
Food Trends, Self-Quarantine, coronavirus
(L) Photo by 서담SEODAM on YouTube. (R) Photo by Kate Remmer on Unsplash

Have you been scrolling through social media a million times a day because of social distancing? If you have, then you’ve probably already seen the extremely Instagrammable Dalgona coffee. Yes, it’s that fluffy latte that everyone’s suddenly super into. You can say the coronavirus made this beverage go, uhm, viral.

People all over the world are now self-isolating amidst the coronavirus outbreak. And as they grapple with cabin fever and chronic boredom, some stay-at-home food trends are taking off. These are mostly pantry-friendly dishes that are easy to make using equipment that are available in most home kitchens. Some are trendy, while others are long-forgotten classics. But they’re all pretty good, can help get you out of a funk, and perfect for your next video call potluck.

Dalgona Coffee

Things you’ll need: i__nstant coffee, granulated sugar, hot water, milk, hand mixer or latte frother.

It’s not hard to see why this went viral. Just look at that poofy dollop — it’s made to be Instagrammed.

Inspired by the traditional South Korean Dalgona candy, this fluffy latte has taken social media by storm. People are now whipping up their own versions of the beverage and sharing recipes on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.

Grabbing a drink from a coffee shop requires actually stepping foot out of your house, so this is the next best thing for a caffeine fix. The best part is, you don’t even need any fancy ingredient or equipment — just instant coffee, sugar, water, milk, and a whisk.

If preparing coffee isn’t really your thing, watching videos of people making Dalgona coffee is therapeutic on its own.

Rice Cooker Cake

Things you’ll need: f__lour, sugar, eggs, milk, rice cooker

As unconventional as it sounds, baking a cake with a rice cooker isn’t totally unheard of. For years, recipes online have taught people how to do just that.

What used to be just a creative way to bake cakes became a viral food trend in February, when the coronavirus outbreak was at its peak in mainland China. Cakes baked to fluffy perfection in rice cookers were all over social media. The hashtag #ricecookercakes has since racked up about 1 billion views on Chinese microblogging site Weibo.

The appeal of the rice cooker cake is obvious: the steps are really simple and you don’t need an oven. While the spread of Covid-19 seems to have slowed down drastically in China, rice cooker cakes may make a viral comeback for the rest of the world.


Youtiao (Chinese doughnut stick)

Things you’ll need: flour, eggs, baking powder, milk, butter, water, salt, oil, deep fryer or air fryer.

Another favourite among Chinese netizens stuck at home is Youtiao, a staple breakfast food for many people in Asia.

These deep-fried dough sticks are usually served piping hot in breakfast shops and enjoyed with a glass of soy milk or congee.

Shop closures and home isolation have left people craving for that simple, indulgent bite of oily goodness. But it turns out that youtiao isn’t that difficult to make at home, as Chinese netizens took to Weibo to share their homemade versions of the breakfast food.

For the culinary adventurers who aren’t afraid to get a little greasy, this one’s for you.

Pantry Pasta

Things you’ll need: pasta, oil, spices and seasoning of your choice, boiling water, large pot

Pantry pasta is probably one of the best comfort foods you can make at home right now. It’s the ultimate fuss-free meal for when you’re sick of instant noodles.

Just combine any leftover ingredients in your fridge or pantry into a simple pasta recipe and ta-da! Dinner is served.


Things you'll need: yeast, flour, water, sourdough starter (for sourdough bread)

In some places, flour and yeast are running out due to an unprecedented interest in bread-making while people are staying at home. Especially popular is sourdough bread, which requires a few days of waiting before baking.

Home cooks told The Washington Post that baking bread provides hearty nourishment for their loved ones, which gives them some semblance of control during this period of extreme uncertainty. Then, there’s the physical process of kneading and interacting with the dough, and the anticipation as the bread slowly rises and readies itself for consumption.

Amidst coronavirus-induced anxieties, bread-making appeals to our most primitive instinct of nurturing and providence. That and it's just plain delicious.

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