Economy rice, better known as chap fan, is a Malaysian favourite when it comes to lunch. You can pair your serving of steamed white rice with vegetables, meat, and fish dishes of your choice and walla! As its name suggests, they’re usually the cheapest option for a complete meal in a food court or kopitiam (coffee shop).
Although it’s a relatively affordable option, economic rice seems to no longer match its name. Many have pointed out that when you get the same dish every day, it’s priced differently whereas when you opt for different dishes, it costs the same! What is the meaning of this conspiracy?
A while back, a Malaysian Youtuber known as Goat only knows shared a video called “4 ways to eat cheap meals” on his channel, revealing several ways to make your chap fan order even more economical to get your money’s worth and these tips are definitely still relevant today! These tips only apply to chap fan places that allow you to dish your own servings so do keep that in mind if you’re planning on trying these out.
1. One Tablespoon Principle
First things first, it might look like a buffet, but it’s not. So don’t take too many dishes or you’ll be surprised at the exorbitant price afterwards. Follow the one tablespoon principle, the boss usually calculates one portion (for example, two dishes and one meat); but if you take more than a portion, it’ll cost more. And it’s not cost-effective to take less!
Hence, follow the principle and take only one tablespoon for the same dish! The size of the spoon for each condiment is not much different, and the amount of one tablespoon is approximately equal to the amount of one serving. But remember, you don’t want to take a full spoon, about two-thirds is almost the same.
2. Mold the rice yourself
Next, make sure you get the rice yourself and mold it using a rice bowl, this way, the condiments can be placed next to the rice, and visually you will not feel that you have taken a lot. Hawkers usually try to scatter the rice onto your plate and proceed with placing the condiments on top of the rice, so that the “visual effects” will seem like you have a lot going on on your plate. Hence, charging you extra.
3. Don’t take single items
Thirdly, if you really looking to save a buck, it’s best to not take single items, such as fish, hotdog, luncheon meat, fried eggs, spiced lobak, etc.; these types of foods will relatively cost more.
4. Choose your chap fan shop wisely
According to the channel owner’s observation, he noticed that the price of chap fan speciality stores is usually more expensive than the miscellaneous rice stalls at hawker centres.
In addition, you may go to the same stall but the money-calculating bosses may vary, hence the calculated price varies significantly.
If you use the above methods and find that it is still very expensive to eat, you might as well switch to another store but whatever the case is though, try smiling and greeting the person serving you before ordering. That might be the only foolproof way to get more than what you’ve asked for at a reasonable price!
What do you think of these 4 hacks? Let us know in the comments!
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