As a rule, we tend not to pay much attention to food. It is bought when the pantry needs restocking, or, if out-and-about, stopping at a restaurant is a choice to make. Food is just one of those things we know we need in order to survive and the tendency is to deal with it out of necessity. Since starting this journey, we generally eat lunch out and buy groceries to eat supper in, so we've become very cognizant of the huge variations in pricing from one country to the next. Singapore is one of those countries in which food prices are quite high. But, even in that, there are some major differences. Buying groceries in a supermarket, we found, is more expensive than at restaurants (we would have thought the opposite to be true, even though restaurants add a ten percent service fee and seven per cent tax on top of menu prices), especially in the Hawker Wok Centers where most Singaporeans eat (tourists and many foreign residents tend to choose the more high end , and thus pricier, restaurants). For those not familiar with Hawker Wok Centers, these are a conglomeration of small family owned food stalls, all under one roof. One of the problems with Hawker Wok type dining, at least for us, was the food tended to be devoid of vegetables. So, we needed to stock up on vegetables and fruits for our nighttime meal. When we rent apartments, grocery stores need to be within walking distance. In Singapore, there were two supermarkets within a quarter-mile of our abode. In both, food prices were unbelievable!! Chicken breasts came out to around fifteen dollars per pound, while steak was as much as fifty-six dollars per pound, and hamburger was as high as twelve dollars per pound. Fruits were not much better. We found three pears for ten dollars (three!!); two peaches for eight dollars; and worst of all, cherries at nearly sixty dollars per kilo (that's two and a quarter pounds, making it almost thirty dollars per pound)! Unbelievable!! How can Singaporeans afford to live?
As this picture demonstrates, hamburger was selling for $12.95 for 1/2 a kilo - that translates to nearly $13 per pound!
Believe it or not, this was a special promotion: two packages of sausages (four to a package) for $24 - translation: three dollars per sausage! Unreal!
"And the winner is...cherries for $59.98 per kilo ( or $30 per pound)."
A runner-up to the cherries was this package of ten strawberries for $29.80 (that is nearl $3 per strawberry) - we found another package of seven strawberries for $28 ( or $4 per berry).
Look at this one - three peaches for ten dollars (and that is on sale per the sign).
This one really got me - $128 for one melon!!!
If you carefully watch prices, restaurant eating can be affordable. The Marche chain offered lunch specials....
...such as this roast beef plate for $12.90.
But, by far, the cheapest places we found to eat lunch were at the Hawker Wok Centers. The Marshall Road Hawker Center in Chinatown was one of the more popular eateries.
And the most popular dish was Chicken Rice...it was EVERYWHERE. (If we never see another chicken rice lunch, it will be a blessing).
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.