Inflation or robbery? $11 'cai fan' from Ang Mo Kio coffee shop sparks debate among netizens

The Redditor shared that he "was expecting" to pay up to $6 for his meal.
PHOTO: Screengrab/Reddit/Singapore Raw

Economy rice or 'cai fan' is a staple for many Singaporeans, simply because it's known to be convenient and affordable. 

Not so for one diner who claimed he was charged an exorbitant price for his packet of economy rice.

Taking to Reddit on Wednesday (June 15), user Dagachi_One posted that he paid a hefty price of $11 for economy rice at a coffee shop in Ang Mo Kio.

From the photo that Dagachi_One shared on social media, his lunch consisted of rice with fried Batang (mackerel) fish and a yong tau foo dish.

"Inflation or robbery? I know fish is expensive but come on, this is too much", he lamented, while replying to a netizen that he "was expecting" to pay up to $6 for his meal.

The price for a cai fan meal consisting of a meat and a vegetable dish would typically cost between $2 to $4 at most neighbourhood coffee shops although adding a seafood dish would add a couple more dollars to that bill. 

In the comments on Dagachi_One post, several netizens were shocked at how much this Redditor had paid for his lunch.

"Indisputably a rip off. That's such an exorbitant cost for a plain-looking dish," a netizen said, while another wondered who would pay $11 for cai fan.  

PHOTO: Screengrab/Reddit/Singapore Raw

But several netizens felt that the exorbitant price was reasonable due to the "premium" items of fish and yong tau foo in the packet.

PHOTO: Screengrab/Reddit/Singapore Raw

Other netizens also shared that they would have paid $3.50 to $6 for a similar packet of cai fan in a neighbourhood coffee shop.

Dagachi_One is not the only one lamenting about the increased cost of his meal in recent months.

In June, a diner at a restaurant in Changi Airport complained about his bill there which included "very small cups" of Milo and filtered coffee priced at $4 and $4.50 each respectively.

But why is dining out becoming more expensive these days?

Speaking to the Straits Times in March, several hawkers shared that inflation and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis have impacted their businesses

Singapore's core inflation jumped to 3.3 per cent in April – the highest level since February 2012. And the war in Ukraine has led to a global supply disruption of grains, vegetable oil and fertilisers. 

As such, maintaining current food prices would be a "heavy burden" for them, the hawkers added.

But there might be a solution to coping with the rising food prices – by cooking at home.

In an interview with AsiaOne last month, housewife Raihan Ibrahim shared that she opted for frozen ingredients instead of the more expensive fresh ingredients to save on her grocery bill. 

Cooking just one dish for every meal has also helped her family cope with the rising food prices, the 44-year-old added.

ALSO READ: Singapore inflation rate 2022: What is it and why does it matter?

chingshijie@asiaone.com