'They're bullying your helper': Indian food stall charges maid $3.50 for bean sprouts and rice, sparks outrage online

PHOTO: Facebook/Noel Goh

With the rising cost of living, everything is getting more expensive, including food. 

But would you fork out $3.50 for plain white rice and bean sprouts? One netizen, Noel Goh, thought the price was unreasonable, calling it "daylight robbery". 

In a Facebook post on Monday (Dec 5), he shared that his helper purchased the meal from Thenral Briyani Palace at Sixth Avenue. 

An image of the food showed the rice in a takeaway box topped with a scoop of beansprouts. 

In the comments, Goh told a netizen that as his helper was new, she was too scared to walk away during the incident.

Goh added that when the stall's employees were questioned about the price, they replied: "All things [are] expensive". 

He also shared that the high prices had nothing to do with an increase in rent as the landlord told him the stall's rent remained unchanged. 

Goh wasn't the only one who felt the price point was exorbitant.

Several netizens shared the same sentiments in the comments, while some advised Goh to ask stallholders for a price breakdown in the future. 

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook/Noel Goh

Another said the stall employees had bullied Goh's helper and encouraged him to capture evidence in the future to complain. 

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook/Noel Goh

One netizen also pointed out that despite the stall being located in an upscale area such as Sixth Avenue, there was no reason for the bean sprouts to cost so much. 

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook/Noel Goh

AsiaOne has reached out to Goh for more details.

In comparison, a review left on Thenral Briyani Palace's Facebook page on Aug 16 this year showed a similar order of white rice and bean sprouts.

However, there were also additional ingredients such as potato, cabbage, and curry, with the diner sharing that he paid $4.50 for that meal. 

PHOTO: Facebook/Thenral Briyani Place 

Woman agreed on price: Food stall employee

An employee at the food stall, however, told Shin Min Daily News on Monday that he had informed the domestic helper that ala carte orders will be more pricey.

According to him, the woman visited the stall on Sunday afternoon and told him that she wanted a vegetarian meal but couldn't finish the food.

"Therefore, she ordered bean sprouts and rice topped with curry gravy," he said.

The stall, which mainly sells set meals, offers vegetarian meals — consisting two vegetables, curry gravy and rice — for $4.

"We told her we'd be charging $1.50 each for rice and bean sprouts, and $0.50 for curry gravy, and she agreed.

"Her employer, however, came to the stall to question us about our charges. After explaining our pricing to him, he left. But we didn't expect him to put up a complaint on Facebook afterwards," he said.

PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

Disposable containers getting more expensive

One reason why F&B businesses may be charging more for food is the rising cost of disposable containers. 

In a separate report on Monday, Shin Min stated that raw materials and transportation costs have risen due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. This in turn has caused prices of disposable containers to rise by 15 per cent.

Speaking to the Chinese evening daily, a zi char stall at Blk 628 Ang Mo Kio said they spend $140 a month on disposable boxes and currently charge 20 cents per box. 

Another hawker who sells chwee kueh said that as they need to pack the chili and preserved vegetables separately, two boxes are required each time. 

"Two or three months ago, our takeaway fee ranged from 30 cents to 50 cents. Although some customers were dissatisfied, we really couldn't do anything about it," the hawker revealed. 

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melissateo@asiaone.com

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