Despite ordering the same variety of food multiple times from Kimly Mixed Rice stall at Pasir Ris Drive 6, Gary Huang BK said that he kept getting charged different prices for each meal.
Upset by the pricing, he took to Facebook on Tuesday (Feb 21) to complain about the price discrepancies.
"I've patronised this stall for a while now and this is what I've discovered: I could be charged $5 on day one and $9 the next day for ordering the same food," he said.
"It depends on which guy is taking my order!"
On Tuesday, his 'cai fan' cost him a whopping $10.20.
Speaking to AsiaOne, Huang said that he has never been charged more than $10 for 'cai fan' from this particular stall.
"I am aware that their prices are inconsistent, however, I feel that this problem is getting worse," he added.
His $10.20 order consisted of rice with a slice of fish, bok choy, long beans and tofu strips.
"I understand inflation is high and the one per cent GST hike has kicked in. But $10.20 for one fish and three vegetables? That's like Ion Orchard or Takashimaya's food court prices!" he lamented in his post.
After his "initial disbelief", Huang returned to the stall to ask for a receipt.
The staff he approached proceeded to open up the packet of food and stared at it for some time before asking a colleague if Huang had been charged correctly, he said.
This colleague, Huang recounted, then started shouting the cost breakdown "at the top of his lungs", and Huang promptly told him that he just wanted a receipt.
Huang told AsiaOne that this $10.20 meal is probably the most expensive 'cai fan' he has had from a heartland coffee shop.
Huang, who declined to reveal his occupation, also pointed out that he noticed prices at coffee shops, food courts and hawker centres in Pasir Ris are allegedly more expensive than other heartland estates in Singapore.
"I can attest to that as I travel around our island on a constant basis due to the nature of my job," he explained.
In the comments, several agreed with Huang about his 'cai fan' being too expensive.
However, some pointed out that Huang's meal cost so much because he had opted for fish.
On the price discrepancies, one netizen suggested that perhaps some 'cai fan' sellers apply "dynamic pricing" – or surge pricing – by varying the price of a product to reflect changing market conditions.
Said this netizen: "If the demand [is] too high [and] dish supply less, [they'll] charge u $10.20. Demand low and supply high, [they] may charge u $7.20.
"I always choose fish soup, chicken rice, bak chor mee with proper pricing listed".
AsiaOne has reached out to Kimly Group for more details.
$24 for nasi padang
Last December, a woman was shocked to find that her nasi padang she ordered from a stall at Bedok Food Centre cost $24.
She had ordered fish egg, tofu and sambal goreng with rice.
The stall vendor told her the fish egg would be expensive, but she was still stunned when she saw the bill.
Another nasi padang stall owner told AsiaOne that fish roe isn't cheap.
"Prices depend on the size of the fish roe," she shared, adding that a regular piece can range from $5 to $8, and larger pieces of fish roe — which can be shared among two to three people — can go up to $15.
She doesn't earn much from selling fish eggs either.
"If we sell the fish roe for $8, the cost price is around $6," she told us.
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