It’s getting really hard to buy food with $2 nowadays. I remember some years ago (5-6yrs?), it was still possible to find decent food at hawkers for $2. Nowadays, it is almost impossible. It’s really quite a daily pocket pinch to have to fork out a green ($5) or red ($10) note just for a simple lunch.
Several reasons contributed to the gradual disappearance of cheap food. First is the rate of inflation in recent years. Food prices and oil prices have been on the raise. Second, which I think is the more important reason, is the local upgrading program. Most people should have noticed that once a hawker centre is “upgraded”, the food will cost more there. This is because the rents of these stalls were increased as part of the “upgrade”. Then the stall owners will have to pass on the extra costs to the customers.
Personally, I would have preferred hawker centres to remain simple, safe and hygienic, and continue to serve cheap tasty food. And this is the reason why I preferred to take a 5 minute walk to the hawker centre across the road to buy my $2 lunch every day.
Mixed vege rice @ 2 vege + 1 meat = $2 and the portion is pretty big – see how the food is overflowing the box.
A standard meal of 2 vege + 1 meat still sells for just $2, and no extra charges for taking away. This is so much cheaper than the $3.50 I have to pay for the same meal at the foodcourt in my office building. A simple calculation will reveal that I will save ($3.50-$2)x22days=$33 a month just like that!
My china colleagues prefer to eat at the foodcourt, I really don’t know why. Do they have too much money to spend? Do they prefer the air-con environment? Are they just lazy to walk?
Recently, I’ve stop lunching with them, for a few reasons. First, I really prefer the taste of hawker food. Somehow, hawker food taste so much better than the foodcourt. Second, of course is the cost. Third, I really have nothing I want to chit chat with them about. It’s really tiring when I have to stop every other sentence just to explain a local term that we use or translate parts of my sentence to mandarin.
Back to the topic. I’ve seen many mixed vege rice stalls secretly “increasing” their prices. Some will give a smaller and smaller serving of rice and dishes. Some will include slices of meat into their seemingly vegetable dishes so that now the dish will be charged as a meat. I’ll stopped patronizing such stalls as soon as I discover their dishonest ploy.
Luckily, this mixed vege rice stall near my workplace is still honest with their business. And for that, they’ve earned my loyalty. Good taste, good portion, and most of all, good price! I’ll rather spend the savings from lunch with my family instead.
p.s. also see my art of ordering vege rice. :P