NOW $5 IS BARELY ENOUGH FOR A MEAL AT THE HAWKER CENTRE

The Chinese media recently published an article reporting public concerns that one can barely get a meal at hawker centres for $5 these days, due to inflation.

In response to media interviews, members of the public said that $5 is required for a meal nowadays. But this amount is only enough to buy meals at hawker centres, and not at food courts.

According to the statistics released by MAS, consumer prices fell 0.3% in November, the first deflation in 5 years. However, food prices are still rising, and in November, it inflated by 2.9%. This is even higher than last month’s figure of 2.8%.

Those interviewed by the media said that it costs at least $5 to have a meal at hawker centres, barely enough to fill the stomach. At food courts, it definitely costs more.

To survive, many forsake going to the more comfortable food court environment so as to help keep the cost of a meal within $5. Public respondents sighed that they can only adapt to the environment, and to accept the unacceptable.

Khoo Kah Yang, 57, said that he normally will choose hawker centres for lunch during work, because it is more economically priced. He added, “Prices now have increased. A meal costs at least $5 to eat out. Even then it is only barely enough to fill the stomach.”

Nonetheless, occasionally he will go with his colleagues to a food court to eat because some of them can’t stand the heat.

Neo Choon Hong, a 58-year-old supervisor said that $5 is definitely not enough to spend at the food court. “Now a plate of chicken rice costs $5.50 in the food court and plus drink the total will cost at least $7 to $8. But the environment at the food court is more comfortable, not so hot and cleaner,” he added.

Although the general public do not mind to pay more for a meal at the more comfortable food court, most of them prefer hawker centres.

Tong Chin Guan, a 25-year-old undergrad told the media that hawker centres have more choices and cheaper. Since young, he has been having his meals in hawker centres.

“A lot of well known foods of Singapore are in the hawker centres. The food standard in food courts is more commercialised. At the hawker centres, one bowl of tasty Wan Ton noodles costs only $2 to $3. Add in a cup of coffee will cost another 90 cents more. So, $5 is more than enough,” Mr Tong commented.

Moses Lim: $5 may not be enough to fill the stomach

Well known food critic Moses Lim thinks that in Singapore, $5 is enough to eat a meal but not enough to fill the stomach fully. Based on his observations, Singaporeans normally are willing to eat at food courts due to the convenience, hot weather, the varieties of food and a more cozy environment.

“But during weekends and public holidays, Singaporeans still like to visit hawker centres for nice food, and long queues can be seen forming at the stalls,” he added.

Alan, a food critic who organises food tour for readers said that with the increase in standard of living and food courts providing a cozy eating environment, Singaporeans generally accept eating at food courts.

There are places that sell $2 chicken rice

There are still places that sell $2 chicken rice, and mixed vegetable rice at only $2.30. Long queues are usually seen forming at such stalls, reflecting the high demand for cheaper meals in Singapore.

A walkabout of hawker centres by reporters revealed that $2 chicken rice can be found at the Chinatown Complex hawker centre. One mixed vegetable rice stall at the Albert Complex hawker centre, sells 3 vegetable and meat selections with rice at only $2.30. With its very affordable pricing, long queues are often seen at the stall.

Generally, the popular food found in hawker centres are chicken rice, minced meat noodles, char kway teow, wanton noodles, all priced between $2.50 to $4.

In food court, chicken rice, minced meat noodles, char kway teow, wanton noodles, are priced between $3.50 to $5.50. Including a can of soft drink at $1.60, $5 is not enough.

But at a typical hawker centre, one can buy a plate of chicken rice ($2.50), a glass of barley drink ($1) and a bowl of dessert ($1.50) with $5. Then again, the portion of chicken rice at hawker centre has shrunk somewhat these days.

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