KF Seetoh Justifies New York Hawker Food Prices Such As S$22 Nasi Lemak
Despite the backbreaking work they put in, hawkers in Singapore continue to serve up plates of our favourite local dishes at affordable prices.
So when the same food was sold at vastly more expensive prices at the KF Seetoh-led Urban Hawker in New York, Singaporeans were understandably in disbelief.
The food blogger recently responded to the critics, explaining that these hawkers took risks by venturing abroad and that the prices are basically the market rate for meals in Manhattan.
Focus instead on cheap hawker food prices in Singapore than New York, says KF Seetoh
In a Facebook post shared on Monday (17 Oct), KF Seetoh went on to justify and explain the pricing mechanisms behind the food sold at Urban Hawker in New York.
Shifting the focus, he says that the attention shouldn’t be on dishes like Nasi Lemak, Chicken Rice, or Hokkien Mee costing S$22 (US$16) in New York.
Instead, it should be the fact that these same dishes cost only S$4 in Singapore, one of the most expensive cities in the world.
In a country where million-dollar HDB homes change hands frequently, and car ownership comes at a premium, KF Seetoh says that the hawker business in Singapore is not sustainable.
Nasi Ambeng stall apparently costs S$213K to set up in New York
Hitting back at those comparing prices, KF Seetoh explains that the hawkers at Urban Hawker have taken several risks. Spelling them out, he says,
Our Urban Hawker hawkers uprooted, braved new market and laws, regulations, licenses and culture half a planet away- carrying our food flag and seeking greener pastures to do business.
Suggesting that some of these commenters might have had their “salary stuck for too long” and are “in a rut”, he says that the hawkers dug deep into their own pockets to make the move.
This is corroborated by this report by Berita Harian. According to the article, the Nasi Ambeng stall in Urban Hawker costs the owners upwards of S$213,288 (US$150,000) to set up.
Although they’ve applied for government grants, the costs of rent and maintenance fees total up to S$19,198 (USD$13,500) a month.
As a lasting sentiment, KF Seetoh says that naysayers should feel a sense of pride and support these Singaporeans who’ve taken our food to the masses overseas.
At the end of the day, these hawkers are just looking for better opportunities around the world, especially since most hawker food meals in Singapore cost only a fifth of what they could be getting elsewhere.
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