Chicken rice, which is commonly considered to be Singapore’s national meal, is renowned for being both delicious and economical. According to the statistics company CEIC, a plate of poached chicken and fragrant rice will run you back 3.35 Singapore dollars, or $2.30, at a hawker center.
Prepare to pay if you’re wanting chicken rice in New York City.
Urban Hawker, a newly opened food emporium on West 50th Street in Manhattan, serves a range of Singaporean cuisine. One of these is chicken rice, which costs $17 a plate.
According to Bloomberg, the restaurant opened to the public on September 28 and served as many as 500 orders of chicken rice every day. Insider met with a number of Singaporean hawkers who serve chicken rice, many of whom were astonished by the prices of Singaporean foods abroad.
The weekend morning bustle at Changi Village Hawker Center.
One Singaporean, who wished to be identified only as Tan, works at a chicken rice booth in an eastern food mall. Tan stated that it would be “impossible” to charge New York City prices in Singapore.
“Singaporeans do not desire these costs. If you increase the price, people would accuse you of robbing them “Tan remarked.
Tan said that chicken-rice stalls with prices exceeding S$4 often cater to tourists.
Despite rising food prices in Singapore, many hawkers have struggled to maintain prices affordable for local consumers. As previously reported by Insider, the cost of components in the city-state has soared by up to 50 percent due to COVID-19, the supply-chain problem, and the conflict in Ukraine.
“Prices are growing increasingly absurd, and the cost of everything has soared. But try selling chicken rice for more than $4, and people would protest,” Tan continued.
Sky Wu, a Malaysian who oversees many chicken-rice carts for UTaste, a local coffee business, speculates that the meal is so costly because food and beverage employees in New York are often compensated more than their Singaporean counterparts.
Indeed reports that food and beverage helpers in Singapore earn an average of SG$1,945 per month on average. According to Indeed, food and beverage assistants in New York City earn an average of about $4,500 per month. According to the Singaporean news source Lianhe Zhaobao, one of the shops at Urban Hawker, Prawnaholic Collections, pays its kitchen staff a monthly salary of $5,000.
The Singaporean vendors’ primary reaction to the New York City prices was bewilderment.
“Do they sell the whole chicken?” Wu stated. That is extremely pricey for a single plate of a few chicken strips and plain rice.