Even when Singaporeans are overseas, we can never seem to shake off our attachment to economy rice.
But is it worth paying $20 to relieve that few minutes of homesickness?
In a TikTok video uploaded on Monday (March 20), Singaporean Gilbert Zhuo was visiting Australia when he stumbled upon a stall selling economy rice that costs A$20.50 (S$18.40).
From a previous video, it seems that Zhuo was paying a visit to Sydney.
“Did you guys know that the cai fan (economy rice) in Australia costs about $20?” Zhuo said in the video. “And this is not inside the Central Business District (CBD)”.
The video has since garnered 49,000 views and 117 comments.
In the comment section, many netizens questioned why he would even eat economy rice there, to which he said his love for economy rice “does not fade with distance”.
Others also told him to be less biased, pointing out that the price difference is an unfair comparison due to higher minimum wages imposed in the Land Down Under.
Nonetheless, some Singaporeans still appeared to be shocked with the exorbitant price, claiming that they do not recall prices being so high when they visited the nation in the past.
Some also suggested that the portion might be bigger, which makes it worth the splurge.
However, in another TikTok video subsequently uploaded by Zhuo, the portion does not seem to be significantly larger.
He also revealed that he had purchased the meal with two pieces of meat and a serving of vegetables.
In another video, Zhuo also posted about the price of water in Australia, which roughly “costs about A$4” a bottle, while a cup of sugarcane juice costs up to A$8.50 on average.
Speaking to AsiaOne, Zhuo said that the economy rice in Australia is “more Westernised” and that there was more fried food.
According to Australia’s Fair Work Commission, the current minimum wage in the country is A$21.38 per hour or A$813.60 per 38-hour week before tax, which is one of the highest in the world.
Sydney was also the world’s tenth most expensive city for expats in 2022 – ironically still lower than Singapore, which tied New York for the top spot on the list.
Home-cooked food while on vacation
It seems that Singaporeans are too used to affordable food prices, which translates to culture shocks when we step foot in another country.
Similarly, in September last year, a Singaporean couple attempted to save money by cooking local food while on vacation in “crazy expensive” Switzerland, a move by which many netizens were not totally convinced by.
In a 33-second TikTok video, the duo shared clips of them whipping up local favourites such as bak kut teh, curry and laksa while holidaying in the European nation.
They claimed that a meal they had in the country set them back $35 and “mediocre food in touristy spots” are also “ridiculously priced”.