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'Miserable servings': Woman calls out 'cai fan' stall for lack of food variety and rude staff

'Miserable servings': Woman calls out 'cai fan' stall for lack of food variety and rude staff
PHOTO: Facebook/Kong MaLa

[UPDATE: March 28, 10am]

In response to AsiaOne's queries, a FairPrice spokesperson clarified that all Rice Garden stalls offer a concessionary meal option consisting of one meat and two vegetable dishes, starting from $1.50 and $2.50 for Comcare cardholders and NTUC members respectively.

The dishes available for customers to choose from under this concessionary meal option are clearly identified with colour-coded tags.

FairPrice urged the affected customer to contact them to provide more details and said that necessary steps will be taken to ensure that food stall operators adhere to pre-agreed standard operating procedures.

They added that they expect all vendors to uphold the operating and service standards that have been set out for them.

"We are sorry to hear that the customer had an unpleasant experience with our food stall operator and would like to extend our sincere apologies," said the spokesperson.

Customers with feedback may contact FairPrice directly at their Customer Service Hotline at 6380 5858 or their website.

She had expected the food options and prices of the Rice Garden outlet at Albert Food Centre to be reasonable, especially since one of their target groups was the elderly. 

However, a woman, who goes by the name Kong MaLa, said she was sorely disappointed by not only the outlet's lack of variety, but also the staff's attitude. 

Rice Garden is an economy rice stall brand by NTUC Foodfare that provides subsidised meals. 

In a Facebook post last Friday (March 24), Kong shared that specific cardholders get to purchase the set meal consisting of two vegetables and one meat for either $1.50 or $2.50. 

The stall's menu, in a photo taken by Kong, showed that ComCare cardholders can enjoy the set menu for $1.50, while Pioneer Generation, Merdeka Generation, CHAS Blue and NTUC union members will be charged $2.50. 

The usual price for the same set costs $3. 

But after patronising the Albert Food Centre outlet four days in a row, the woman was surprised when she was repeatedly served the exact same dishes. 

"Do you expect the elderly to eat all meals with the same dishes daily? They may be poor, but they paid for their meals," she remarked. 

Want variety? Pay more 

When Kong, who is an NTUC union member, asked the stallholder about the promotion, she said they "impatiently" told her that if she paid $2.50, the stallholders would choose the dishes for her. 

And if she wanted to choose her own dishes, she would have to pay the original price of $3. 

On March 21, 22 and 24, Kong opted to pay $2.50 and let the stallholders choose food items for her. 

She noted that on all three days, she was given the exact same things — rice with cabbage, bean sprouts and sliced meat. 

As she was tired of eating the same dish, the woman decided to pay $3 for some variety on March 23 and to "[take] a break from [eating the] same food". 

In addition, an appalled Kong noted that the stallholders were "arrogant" and "showed attitude". 

"Don't show attitude as if they are begging you for food and they don't owe you a living. Look at those pathetic and miserable servings," she said. 

"Have more respect and empathy [for the] elderly who come for your meal." 

Kong also wondered what ComCare cardholders are served in their $1.50 meal, which is even cheaper than her $2.50 meal. 

AsiaOne has contacted NTUC for more details. 

Others think it's worth it 

While Kong is unhappy with the options NTUC Foodfare offers, others beg to differ. 


In a Burpple review on Nov 22 last year, a lifestyle blogger who visited the Rice Garden outlet at Pandan Gardens was full of praise about his experience

He had ordered rice with four dishes — curry pork, stir-fried snow pea leaves, steamed egg pudding and minced pork. 

While he was not a cardholder, his meal amounted to just $3.70, which he felt was "relatively cheap pricing". 

More 'budget meal' options at coffee shops

In a speech to Parliament on March 2, Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann shared the government's plan to increase "budget meal" options at coffee shops.

She said that as a condition for the renewal of their three-year tenancy, all older rental coffee shops due for renewal from May will have to provide four budget meals and two budget drinks. 

Two of the budget meals must be rice-based, and at least one must be halal. Coffee shops must also serve a minimum of two budget drinks – kopi-o (black coffee) and teh-o (black tea).

Budget meals at coffee shops are typically priced between $3 and $3.50, and basic drinks cost from $1 to $1.15. 

ALSO READ: 'Who goes ang moh country eat 'cai fan'?' Singaporean schooled for paying $20 for economy rice in Australia

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