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'We just don't want diners to waste it': Chinatown hawker defends $2 charge for chilli sauce

'We just don't want diners to waste it': Chinatown hawker defends $2 charge for chilli sauce
A vegetarian stall at People's Park Complex received some complaints for charging diners an extra $2 for their special chilli sauce.
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

How much would you pay for extra chilli sauce? 

A vegetarian stall at the food court in People's Park Complex has recently gotten some heat for charging diners $2 for an extra spoonful of chilli sauce. 

The stall, which sells Thunder Tea Rice and other vegetarian dishes, offers diners the option to add extra ingredients such as vegetables, wantons and braised tofu, which are priced from $1 to $3.50. 

While the prices of the other ingredients are considered acceptable, some diners took issue with the charge for the extra chilli sauce. 

Despite the negative reactions from some, stall owner Cai Youzhao maintained that the charge is not a money-making tactic. 

The 37-year-old told Shin Min Daily News that he usually gives customers the chilli for free, and only charges them if they return for a third helping. 

"We just don't want customers to take [the chilli] and waste it. Previously a customer insisted that we should provide as much chilli as they want, and it's their choice whether they eat it or not." 

However, Cai said that there are customers who genuinely enjoy his chilli and have no issue paying extra for it. 

"We also prepare regular chilli sauce for customers at no extra charge," said Cai. 

Special chilli sauce requires more work 

Besides preventing wastage, Cai said that making the chilli sauce takes a lot of effort and time. 

"Our chilli sauce is vegetarian, it doesn't contain onions, garlic, eggs or shrimp paste. The main ingredients and chili and a lot of spices. It's also fried very carefully so it's not easy to make." 

The chilli sauce is made by Cai's mother, and it takes her about two hours to make one batch, as the stall is short on manpower. 

"In the past, when we had enough staff, we would sell the chilli sauce but we stopped taking orders to avoid overworking my mother." 

READ ALSO: 'I can buy a whole pack from supermarket': Diner outraged over $1 charge for chilli at East Ocean restaurant

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