Chinatown Laksa Stall Owner Called Rude By Customer Explains Why She Can’t Simply Give Out Empty Bowls
Last week, a Facebook user went on a rant against a Penang laksa stall in Chinatown, accusing the owner of overpricing her dishes and being rude.
According to the OP, her mother had asked for an empty bowl but was refused and shown attitude by the owner.
The owner has since had the opportunity to tell her side of the story.
She also explained why her food has become more expensive, addressing the OP’s complaints about a bowl of laksa now costing S$10 instead of S$7.50.
Chinatown laksa stall owner can’t simply give out empty bowls due to halal certification
On Sunday (24 Sep), Shin Min Daily News reported that they went down to Super Star Original Famous Penang Laksa to speak to the owner, Ms Pan.
In the OP’s Facebook post, she claimed that her mother and her friends had ordered two bowls of laksa to share.
However, when her mother asked for an empty bowl, Ms Pan turned her down and allegedly showed “attitude”.
They argued because of this, with the hawker purportedly shouting, “If you think you are so good, you come and cook yourself.”
Speaking to Shin Min Daily News, Ms Pan shared that in the five years she’s been running her stall, she has never provided empty bowls to customers, even her regulars.
This is because her stall has halal certification, so she’s worried that someone might use her bowls to eat other non-halal dishes.
“I have many Malay customers,” she said. “It would be bad if someone saw a customer filling one of my bowls with pork.”
The 56-year-old added that she washes all her bowls herself. “If everyone wanted to borrow an empty bowl from me, wouldn’t I be very tired?”
Ms Pan also said that after she had informed the OP’s mother of this, the latter asked loudly, “What kind of laksa are you selling?”
That’s when Ms Pan unleashed her “if you think you are so good” comment.
“I don’t think I’m in the wrong!” she asserted.
Laksa prices have gone up alongside cost of ingredients
As for why her laksa now costs S$10 instead of S$7.50, as seen in an old photo that the OP shared, Ms Pan said it’s already been a year since she increased the price.
S$7.50 was a pre-Covid times price, she shared. Since the cost of ingredients and raw materials had gone up, she had to adjust her rates accordingly.
Ms Pan said that her laksa consists of a variety of ingredients, which contributes to “invisible” hidden costs. This includes ginger, shallots, asparagus, belacan, and more.
“I use the freshest ingredients,” she stated. “The noodles are imported from Penang. I don’t use frozen fish. It takes three hours to slice the fish and remove the bones to make the soup, which has to simmer for at least six hours.”
All in all, the process of cooking Penang laksa is complicated and not profitable. Thus, Ms Pan believes her prices are still reasonable, and old customers have yet to complain.
“I hope Singaporeans will get to enjoy the most authentic Penang laksa.”
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