With the rising costs of running a business, many hawkers in Singapore are either increasing their food prices or scaling back on the portions to survive — much to the chagrin of diners looking for an affordable meal.
But one cleaner recently had a meal that gave exceptional value for money at a hawker centre in Jalan Besar.
Taking to Facebook on Tuesday (Sept 6), Henry Tan shared that he noticed an elderly man's food while waiting in line to buy dinner at Jia Chicken Rice at Berseh Food Centre.
His photo showed that the meal, consisting of a plate of rice with roasted and steamed chicken, was also topped with a few pieces of roast pork belly and a whole soy sauce egg.
"I asked [him], 'Uncle you eat so much?'" Tan wrote and described his surprise after hearing that the man had paid "only $6.50" for the meal with generous portions of meat.
After a chat with the hawker, Tan learnt that this "meal deal" was not listed on the menu.
"This uncle works as a cleaner here. Just sell [the food to] him cheaper and let him enjoy it," the hawker said.
In the comments section, several netizens praised the chicken rice hawker for his generosity.
"I'll go support just because they're nice to uncle," a netizen said.
But there were others who pointed out that the meal is not exactly cheap.
"$6.50 sounds a bit expensive," a netizen said, while another felt that the portions in the meal were normal for the price.
AsiaOne has reached out to Tan for comment.
In other cases of hawkers spreading kindness to the community, a 'cai fan' eatery boss told AsiaOne in July that he maintained the $2 price for one meat, one vegetable at his store to help regular patrons tide through difficult times.
"When times are bad, we're doing it for their own benefit," Guo Fu Cai of Goldhill Family Restaurant said as he admitted that he has not been making enough to cover his overheads in recent times.
Another stall owner, Michael Poh of Poh Kee Chicken Rice at Toa Payoh also told AsiaOne in June that he is willing to give food for free or "work something out" with those who have difficulty paying.