The Art of Ordering Mixed Vege Rice

I am a rice person, so I tend to eat mixed vege rice very frequently. So, let me share with everyone my personal experience of how to maximize the value of a plate of mixed vege rice.

Visit the stall near the end of lunch/dinner time.

Sure, some of the dishes may be sold out, but there will also be plenty of other dishes still available. Since the stall owner can’t keep the dishes until the next lunch/dinner time, it is in his interest to give away larger portions so that he won’t need to deal with leftovers later.

Get your guy colleague to order for you.

This only applies to girls. Stall owners tend to give a smaller portion to girls compared to guys. However, they charge the same price for both. So it is more value for money for a guy to place the order on behalf of the girl so as to receive a larger portion.

Ask for ‘more rice’ instead of ‘add rice’.

Most stall owners will interpret ‘more rice’ as a larger scoop of rice which will result in more rice. This is generally free. However, ‘add rice’ entails adding a second scoop of rice to the first, and this generally cost additional money.

Make sure the stall owner has space to serve.

In many mixed vege stalls, there are usually two or more people serving dishes as the same time. When you are ordering, make sure to order dishes that are near the person serving you so that he won’t have to stretch over his co-worker to reach your dish. If he is stretching to reach your dish, he probably won’t give you more than usual serving since it is that much of a hassle.

Order the meat first.

This is to create a good impression with the stall owner. By ordering the meat first, your are signaling to the stall owner that you will not be ordering the cheapest items on the menu. This puts the owner in a better mood, so he may give you a larger serving.

Order 1 dish at a time and wait until he finished serving.

Point to your first dish, then wait until the stall owner finish serving it before pointing to the next dish. Do not rush him. Often, the stall owner needs time to gauge the portion of food to serve. If you give him sufficient time, it is likely that he will give you a larger than standard portion. Hurrying him results in less than standard portions.

Pause in between ordering dishes.

Pretend to ponder in between dishes. This gives more time for the stall owner to serve your previous dish which likely will result in a larger portion. When he is finished and noticed that you are still pondering overyour next order, he may feel bored and add a few more slices of your previous dish while waiting for you to make your next choice.

Order the same dish twice.

Use this technique very sparingly. After order a dish, pretend to look distracted and point to the same dish again. The stall owner will likely tell you that he has already served that dish. However, occasionally, he may instinctively go through the motion of serving the dish again and make your portion slightly larger, all for the same price.

Order dishes that are about to run out.

It takes practice to estimate, but it is worth picking dishes that are left with about 1.5 to 2 portions. Chances are, that if there is only about 1.5 to 2 portions of the dish left, the stall owner will think ‘what-the-heck’ and just give you everything. The good is that you get extra servings, the bad is that sauces right at the bottom of the tray are very salty.

Order vege dishes that contain meat sauces.

Some vege dishes have some meat in it to bring out the additional flavour. But it is sold at the price of vege becos the meat is usually in small amounts and only present in the sauce. Tofu dishes are an example of such. By ordering such dishes, you are getting some serving of meat for the price of vege. Nice.

Do not order meat dishes that contain vegetables.

These dishes count as meat but is usual half served with vegetables. It is very not worthwhile, do not order it. An example is the stir fried venison with leek. Go for fully meat dishes instead.

Ask for curry sauce.

Many a time, when you ask for curry sauce, some other ingredients in the curry sauce will find its way onto your rice, such as small pieces of chicken or potato. Cabbage curry sauce will probably bring you some cabbages and longbeans. And it’s free.

Ask for meat sauces.

As mentioned earlier, some sauces are cooked with minced meat. It is near impossible to separate the mince meat from the sauce. So if you ask for meat sauces, you will definitely receive some serving of meat with it. And it’s free.

Become a regular customer.

Talk to the stall owner on occasions. With good rapport, the stall owner will recognize you as a regular customer and will naturally give you extra servings the next time you visit.

Hope you have fun at the mixed vege stall. :D



24 thoughts on “The Art of Ordering Mixed Vege Rice

  1. Pingback: Why a $2 lunch makes my day « Dear1 Dear2

  2. those people who call the author a cheapskate either:
    a. ‘ah sia kias’ who only eat atas food.
    b. idiots / kids who have yet to work in the CBD area to experience the whole ‘eating mixed vege rice’ process.
    c. trolls.

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  4. haha nice tips, i use them as well. btw i realised ordering ur favourite dish as the 2nd dish is the best. cause for the first dish, they tend to not give u a lot and the last dish u cannot use ur “pause” technique. just something i notice, not sure if its applicable to everyone

  5. The ‘regular customer’ is still the best tested-n-proven bet. Too bad I shifted house last week -.- now I have to make friends with my new economical rice dealer.

  6. Very detailed explanation. Mine style is different. Order less rice and they may be inclined to give you more of others cos they are afraid u will not be full. And just order the vegetable. It will cost less. And never order seafood or drumstick. It just cost so much more!

  7. I love mixed vege rice! Totally agree with chatting up the auntie or uncle and being a regular customer. Last time this chatty auntie would give me a bigger piece of fish for the same price but too bad that stall closed down.. Another point is, a little beauty goes a long way :p

  8. I will add some other tips:

    – order something that is not easily counted. generally if the item is easily counted, auntie/uncle tends to maintain consistent amount throughout the operation hours. And item with can be counted tends to be more pricey.
    e.g. choose sliced meat over drumstick, scrambled egg over tofu and so on

  9. you missed one very important thing!!

    ORDER UNCOUNTABLES LAST! :) like egg slice/ braised egg/ taupok/ tofu sliced.. cos the front 3 dishes will fill your plate.. the uncle think you dont want anymore.. den suprise him say “oh pls add one more taupok eg.” he cannot shortchange you cos 1 taupok is 1 taupok..

    same logic if you order 4 dishes.. the last dish always very small portion cos plate no space.. so order an uncountable!

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  12. Pingback: How to make Economical Rice even more economical | Bangkok Press

  13. If you have to spend a good amount of time agonizing and strategizing about how you can get a few cents’ more worth of food from an uncle who makes a living selling cai fan, you seriously need to get a life. How sad and parochial your life must be.

  14. Pingback: How to maximise your cai png order – Kopitiam Bot

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