SINGAPORE: Cai png, or economy rice, isn’t just a meal in Singapore. Like in many other South East Asian countries, it’s an institution.
And because we probably all have our experience with cai png, many netizens responded when u/EducationFit5675 wrote, “Share your Caipng horror stories. Should Caipng be regulated? How?” On r/Singapore on Tuesday (July 11).
The most interesting comment, however, came from a Reddit user whose family owns a food court. He wrote, “The cai png stall will ALWAYS bring in the most profits each month without fail compared to all the other stalls, and yet people think cai png is value for money?”
A lot of the answers had to do with high prices.
One commenter wrote that he had been charged a higher price than the customer in the queue before him, even when they got the same thing.
“This girl in front gets tomato fried egg, tofu, long beans, 3.20. I picked the exact same stuff, 4.60. Cannot tahan, ‘oi auntie, you give me extra one dollar rice ah, that girl get same thing as me leh.’ The auntie give me death stare then roll eyes and say ‘sorry 算错‘ without looking back at the plate.”
“I had a long time suspicion this auntie give preferential price based on whatever whims she had, nvr thought would be so brazen,” he added in a follow-up comment.
Sometimes, what the customer wants has been lost in translation.
A commenter wrote, ”Cai Png store near an army camp. A Regular pointing at fried egg and confidently said ‘uncle give me zha dan’”. Zha dan means bomb in Chinese.
“When I was a kid I used to ask for Goon Dan (boiled egg). My mum just laughed really hard and only corrected me after I said it a few times,” chimed in another.
Another wrote, “Hidden meat dishes: when you find that the long beans + tiny minced meat = meat dish, also steam egg + bits of luncheon meat. They should put all veg together on one side meat on the other and fish in the middle, actually hor fish should be put on a revolving pedestal with blinking lights.”
“sprinkle some minced meat on tofu = meat dish. sprinkle some minced meat on okra = meat dish,” a Reddit user agreed.
Another wrote that he, “Order steamed egg and broccoli, expected to be charged as 2 vegetables, but was charged 1 meat and 1 vegetable. I asked, ‘Isn’t it 2 vegetables?’ Cashier replied that broccoli is more expensive. I quietly paid.”
“I buy sweet n sour pork but only got 5 small pieces,” complained another, which set off a whole new thread.
“Went to a cai png stall and pointed to a skinny piece of pan-fried salmon. The lady shouted, this one $10, ok?,” a commenter wrote.
“Buying at any stall without price listed is just asking for trouble,” a netizen warned.
“The price is dependent on whether the auntie calls you sayang. Otherwise, pay the non-malay tax,” opined another.
“Ikan bilis with peanut counted as fish dish,” added a Reddit user.
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