The Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) recently published a study titled “The Cost of Eating Out: Findings from the Makan Index 2.0″, which examines the costs of eating out in Singapore’s hawker centres, food courts and kopitiams.

The study identified Sengkang, Tampines, and Sembawang as the top three planning areas with high Makan Index scores.

According to The Straits Times, Sembawang had an average lunch price of S$6.38 across 26 neighbourhoods.

However, Mr Ong Ye Kung, the Health Minister and Member of Parliament for Sembawang GRC disagreed with the study and took to the social media platform TikTok to refute it.

In a video, he can be seen at the Bukit Canberra Hawker Centre accompanied by fellow Sembawang GRC MP Dr Lim Wee Kiak.

“Recently, there was an article that says that food in Sembawang is more expensive, cannot be leh.”

He showcased a series of lunch sets on the table, including a prata kosong and egg prata, mee siam with a drink, and carrot cake with a drink, all priced at less than S$5.

Another set meal cai png with a drink cost S$4.80, and a fishball noodle with a drink priced at $5.

“More or less than $5 dollar, so therefore everywhere in Singapore you can find affordable food because we’re a food haven.”


Delicious, affordable food is everywhere across the island, including here in Sembawang 👍 🍜 #okwithoyk #makesembawangspecial #bukitcanberrahawkercentre

♬ original sound – Ye Kung Ong – Ye Kung Ong

Netizens share mixed opinions on Minister’s remark on hawker foods

In the comment section of Mr Ong’s TikTok video, some netizens ridiculed the Minister and MP for being out of touch with the struggles of ordinary Singaporeans who rely on dining out daily.

They argued that some meals marked at $5 are still considered expensive, and that to high-earning officials like the Minister, this might seem relatively cheap.

However, other TikTokers held a different opinion, suggesting that $5 is now the norm and that hawkers need to survive.

“Actually, adding a drink and still keeping the price under $5 is already considered cheap,” noted one TikToker.

Another compared the Minister and MPs to ordinary Singaporeans who may only dine at hawker centers once a year and stated that $5 is still considered cheap to them.

“prata set still too expensive”

Several TikTokers have stated that the prata sets are still too expensive, despite the Health Minister’s video showcasing affordable options.

While the Minister did not provide the exact price of the prata kosong and egg prata, some TikTokers have noted that if the price is nearly S$5, it would still be considered expensive.

Some TikTokers break down the price further:

Netizens warned Minister about the impact of cost of living on ordinary Singaporeans 

In addition to the concerns raised by TikTokers about the cost of eating out, there are also netizens who have raised concerns about the overall cost of living in daily life.

These concerns highlight the challenges faced by Singaporeans who are struggling to make ends meet amid rising costs of living.

A TikToker noting that he only earned S$1,200 per month, argued that S$5 may seem affordable for a meal, but for a family of four, it would cost S$20 per meal.

Over a month with 30 days, that would amount to S$600 just for meals, not including transportation, housing installment, utilities, and other expenses.

Furthermore, a netizen pointed out that with the current inflated food prices, it costs them over 35% of their monthly salary to eat out.

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