In Singapore, “economic rice” stalls are extremely popular. A mind-boggling spread of stir-fried, stewed, deep-fried, and steamed dishes, economic rice or “chap chye png” has an everlasting appeal because it’s quick, it’s affordable, there’s variety (on average, there are 20
twenty dishes to choose from!), and it’s as close to Mom’s cooking as you can get. Well, if Mom’s not such a great cook, the last reason might turn you off!
There are stalls like this all over the island, mostly in foodcourts, factory canteens, schools, and especially in HDB heartland (densely populated suburban housing areas) hawker centers and coffee shops. The dishes are cooked and laid out (some in bain maries to keep warm) in clear display. You pick 2 to 4 dishes to go with rice (most folks pick 3), and the final price depends on what dishes you chose. Vegetable dishes are the cheapest; going up the scale are chicken and pork, with the most expensive being seafood.
This was a quick dinner I had at a coffee shop in Clementi Ave 3. I guess this combo was rather pricey because of the fish. Taste-wise, it
was above average. The pork was tender with no gristly bits; the stingray wasn’t overcooked and the curry sauce was decently fragrant
but could have been more lemak (coconut milk).
Economic rice stalls are pretty generic; you can expect the same items from stalls A, B, C, to Z. The standard of cooking can vary, but generally safe, though I’ve tasted really bad ones before.
Ricky had this from the western food stall in the same coffeeshop. I didn’t nick his food this time, but he said portions were generous and
taste was good. I’d say it’s great bang for the buck!