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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Case poll finds 'cheap, good' food in S'pore

Despite complaints that prices of food have gone up, people can still get a decent meal for $2.50
The Straits Times - June 10, 2011
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Case poll finds 'cheap, good' food in S'pore

DESPITE complaints that prices of food have gone up, people can still get a decent meal for $2.50.

A survey released by the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) yesterday found that 331, or 54 per cent of the 611 non-air-conditioned food stalls it checked sold dishes for $2.50 or less.

The remaining number of stalls priced them between $2.60 and $6.

The consumer watchdog ran the survey in April. It was carried out with the help of 10 mystery shoppers - a mix of volunteers and its officers - on randomly selected stalls.

Portion sizes and the quality of food were not taken into account.

The check focused on the prices of single portions of five common dishes here: plain roti prata, chicken nasi beriani, chicken rice, fishball noodles, and a plate of rice with two portions of vegetables and one of meat.

The majority of stalls were transparent about their prices.

The survey found the cheapest chicken nasi beriani sold at Selera Rasa in the Old Airport Road Food Centre for $3, beating 63 other stalls. Most charge $4 or $4.50 per plate.

The survey, said Case's executive director Seah Seng Choon, was done to point consumers to cheaper food options.

'We want consumers to know that it is still possible to get cheap and good food here,' he said, adding that the association gets a handful of calls weekly from people with feedback about the rising cost of food.

The survey results will be posted on Case's website at www.case.org.sg

Recent bad weather in countries that export food to Singapore has sent prices soaring for a wide range of food items, ranging from oil to vegetables.

Just last week, some hawkers who had pledged to maintain their prices for six months said they found it tough to do so.

The secret, said Mr Wong Choon Huay, the owner of Wang Fishball Noodles in Dean's Cafe on Toh Guan Road, lies in self-service and portion control. His stall had the lowest prices of all the fishball noodle stalls surveyed.

The 54-year-old reduced the number of fishballs per serving from three to two last week, and does not hire workers. He sells about 100 bowls of noodles daily at $2, and makes $1 per bowl.

He said the price of a fishball has risen from nine cents to 13 cents over the past few months.

'If I want people to eat at my stall I cannot increase prices. Hopefully I sell more and earn more,' he said.

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