Mr Terence Lim, founder of Qi Le Boneless Chicken Rice, was also surprised that prices are higher in Bishan compared with other neighbourhoods.
Qi Le also operates in Ang Mo Kio and Yishun, and each plate costs S$4.50. “There’s an overall increase (in operational costs), it’s not because of Bishan,” he said.
Ms Joan Lee, stall owner of Ming Kee Chicken Rice, said rent is likely more expensive in central locations, but that she expected food prices in Bishan to be similar to that of other residential hubs such as Toa Payoh and Ang Mo Kio.
“Location definitely plays a big part (because) a big chunk of overhead costs comes from rent,” she said.
QUALITY AND QUANTITY
Some chicken rice sellers pointed to the ingredients they use or the size of the portions they serve when asked about their prices being above the average in Singapore.
“When comparing prices, often they analyse the prices and do not take note of quantity or quality of the food,” said Ms Lee.
Ming Kee Chicken Rice serves its chicken on a separate plate from the rice. “More economical chicken rice usually have their meat served on the rice, so (the) meat portion is lesser,” she said.
Mr Neo Cheng Leong, who runs Leong Hainanese Chicken Rice, also said stalls that charge less probably serve smaller portions.
“I could also do that, serve thinner pieces of meat,” he said in Mandarin.
“Look at the thick slices of chicken, is S$4.50 expensive for this?” he said while showing CNA an order he packed for a customer. “If my customers are happy, I have peace of mind to sell it at this price.”