Economy rice stalls are the rage in our local hawker centres. A mind-boggling spread of fried, stir-fried, stewed and steamed dishes, economic rice has an everlasting appeal to the general public due to its affordability, convenience and variety. Every plate of economic rice is unique and served to suit your personal preferences. Gone are the days when you have to painstakingly remove the coleslaw in your fish and chips and the chilli in your hokkien mee. With economic rice, you are able to choose from a wide selection of toppings without having to fret about wasting the food that is simply not to your liking.
Stalls like this are proliferating all over our sunny island, but have you ever wondered how they came to be? When you think of economic rice, images of lovingly prepared home-cooked food would probably come to mind. Economic rice, therefore, evolved as a way for the general public, especially the working population who hardly have the time to eat, to obtain a quick and affordable meal option outside of home.
Dishes are cooked and laid out on bain maries in clear display. Customers would then point out to the specific dishes they would like to accompany their rice. The final price depends very much on the dishes you select and sometimes, extra charges apply when you take-out. Vegetable dishes are the cheapest; chicken and pork are slightly higher up the scale; and needless to say, seafood dishes are the priciest. Staying true to its name, economic rice meals are generally the cheapest deals available at Singaporean hawker centres and coffee shops, especially if one is judicious in choosing the less expensive dishes.