SINGAPORE — As the cost of living in Singapore continues to rise, ‘cai png’ (or economical rice) would be a more affordable choice for ordinary Singaporeans who want to save money.
While there are numerous affordable and tasty ‘cai png’ choices available in Singapore, there are also some that are more costly. A recent post by a Reddit user revealed that a ‘cai png’ meal at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) cost an astonishing $16.
The Redditor expressed surprise at the high price, noting that it was a simple dish comprising one meat, one vegetable, and one egg.
“Cai png $16 though it’s MBS,” the user shared, feeling like they had been overcharged.
Based on the photo shared, the meal was apparently consumed at the Rasapura Masters food court at MBS.
Other netizens say it’s “typical high cost at MBS”
After the Redditor shared their surprise at the expensive price, other users on Reddit commented on the post, with some suggesting that the high cost is typical at MBS, as it is a tourist area with high rental fees for stall owners.
One commenter recommended that the Redditor try dining at a Western food stall instead, as they could get a chicken chop or grilled fish with rice and coleslaw for only $9.90, which is comparatively more reasonable and tastes great too.
In response, the Redditor explained that he was roaming around Rasapura Masters before settling on the ‘cai png’ stall, assuming that it would be the most inexpensive option available.
Netizens speculated that the price is for squid meat in his meal
A netizen speculated that the expensive price of the ‘cai png’ meal might be due to the addition of squid meats, which cost quite a bit.
The Redditor replied he just learned that three pieces of squid meats could cost around S$6-8, and advised others to be cautious and aware of the prices before ordering to avoid feeling overcharged.
A netizen humorously commented that the Redditor was “smoked” by the dish that masqueraded as a vegetable dish but turned out to have a significant amount of squid in it.
In response, the Redditor agreed and said that the dish appeared to be primarily vegetables with just a little bit of squid, and he had no idea that the price was mainly due to the squid instead of the vegetables.
Another netizen commented that the ‘cai png’ stall might have charged the Redditor for meat, egg, and seafood due to the addition of only three small pieces of squid.
“Don’t buy this. any other stall can find below $16 guarantee.”
‘How could retail workers at MBS survive? ‘
Some people also wondered how retail workers at MBS could afford to eat there, while others answered that MBS staff could eat for free in the staff dining room, which offers a decent buffet.
Another netizen shared his own experience, explaining that the free meals are typically only available to MBS’s direct staff, such as concierges, and not to retail shop workers.
He mentioned that when he worked there a few years ago, he received a staff discount card that allowed him to eat at Rasapura with a 5-10% discount, but the meals were still expensive, costing $6 and up for a single meal.
Higher rental fees at MBS
A concerned netizen noted that it is not the fault of the hawker that they charge high prices, but rather, the high rental fees charged by the landlord.
“They did not cook your meal yet they take up more than 50% of the price u pay.”
Another netizen made a rough estimate of the cost breakdown of the ‘cai png’ meal that the Redditor had at MBS.
He guessed that the cost of the food ingredients in the meal could be around S$3.20, leaving the remaining cost to be attributed to factors such as labor, rental, manpower, and profit for the stall owner.
One netizen suggested that instead of dining at the pricey food court in MBS, people might consider taking a quick MRT ride to nearby areas such as Bugis or Chinatown: