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Best and Worst Foods for Delivery

February 15, 2022

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Lots of us turned to food delivery services during coronavirus lockdowns. And probably learned a few new things about delivery food that does and doesn’t travel well. Let’s look at the best home delivery meals, those in the middle, and some of the worst food to have delivered. 


The Best

Asian Food. Who among us hasn't gone to the refrigerator in the morning to enjoy a few bites of the Chinese takeout from the night before? Absolutely delicious! While you don't want your Asian dishes delivered cold, be it Chinese, Thai or Pho, this kind of cuisine travels well.

Barbecue. Barbecue is great for delivery for the same reasons as Asian food; some people actually prefer cold barbecue over having it served hot. And it reheats well. From brisket to ribs and chicken smothered in barbecue sauce, you'll likely be happy when it arrives.

Tacos. Tacos are built for travel. Soft flour and corn tortillas hold up to juices better than hard-shell tacos, but all the wraps help to keep the warm fillings warm as the tacos travel to your door.

Soup. And stews. Any food that comes in a hot, steamy liquid form is perfect for holding up during delivery time. If it's hot enough when it leaves the restaurant, it just might be the perfect temperature for eating when it arrives.

Lasagna. Similar to soup, lasagna often needs a considerable cooling-off period between cooking and going into your mouth. So, no problem if that time is spent in transit. Also, lasagna pasta is sturdy stuff and fares well with reheating.

Pizza. No brainer. Hot, cold, crispy, chewy—pizza is awesome no matter how it arrives.

Spread of Chinese food takeout boxesPhoto Credit: ahirao -


Meals in the Middle

Salads. How well the salad travels all depends on the packaging. If the salad is assembled to travel, with ingredients kept separate, especially the dressing, then you'll get a fresh, crisp salad you just need to toss when it's delivered. If a salad is prepared in a regular way at the restaurant, it may come to you as a soggy mess.

Fried chicken. You should avoid fried food when considering delivery; it rarely arrives crisp and crunchy like it does when served fresh in a restaurant. But fried chicken holds up better than most fried foods, especially if it's packaged in a container that keeps the breading crispy and the juices locked inside.

Deli sandwiches. The difference between a good delivery and a bad delivery here comes down to the bread. Order something with thick hearty bread and it'll absorb any juices and give you a great sandwich on the receiving end. Go with thin bread and you're apt to receive a soggy sammy.


The Worst

Pasta. While lasagna is technically a pasta dish, it's the exception to the rule with delivered food. If there's sauce on the pasta, the sauce will continue to cook the pasta and you get overcooked pasta. Without sauce, the pasta that's left to sit during delivery gets gooey.

Eggs. It's a good thing very few people order takeout breakfasts; cold eggs are a terrible way to start the day. And let's not even talk about how bad eggs can smell even after they've been sitting for just a short time. Fresh is best here.

French fries. Anything fried, really, but many of us know all too well the disappointment of getting a food delivery, and instead of crunching into crisp, piping hot fries, you get cold limp spuds. The same is often true of Fish 'n' Chips. And mozzarella sticks that have hung around too long might make you swear off fried food forever.

Grilled meat. Barbecue travels well, yes, but you can't say the same for most grilled meats. Steak in particular is grilled meat that loses a lot of its appeal after traveling in a Styrofoam carrier. The problem is that the meat continues to cook after it leaves the grill, so if you order your steak medium it'll likely be closer to well-done when it arrives.

Seafood. While fried seafood will probably arrive safe but soggy (calamari is especially bad), shellfish and any medium-cooked fillets begin to grow dangerous bacteria quickly. Best you eat any seafood fresh from the kitchen.

Ice cream. And milkshakes. More no-brainers as you’re likely to get melted messes. If you want dessert with your order, cookies, cakes, and pies all travel well.

Container of calamari in a to go bagPhoto Credit: DAVID -

All home delivery meals do not travel the same. Maybe you’ll keep that in mind the next time you get a craving to order some home-delivery food.

Written by William McCleary for Knockaround.

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