Would you pay to customise a dish even when less ingredients are used?

HOW many times have you been in a queue at your favourite hawker stall, only to find the person in front of you is placing a series of “bespoke” orders – “satu tambah ini, yang lagi satu kurang itu” (one add this, another less of that)?

This definitely causes a bottleneck and slows down service as the hawker has to accommodate the individual orders by preparing them individually.

Hence, a witty char kway teow seller in the Fajar Shopping Centre in Singapore has found a novel solution to this problem – a customisation levy!

While everyone understands that they will be charged for adding on ingredients (eg fried egg on top), some were very surprised that they were charged extra even when the order contains LESS ingredients.

Uncle Tan dishing out his popular Penang Siam Road ‘char koay teow’ (Pic credit: TravelswithSun)

Some disgruntled netizens were unhappy that there was a surcharge for special orders which included “no bean sprouts” in their plate of the fried noodle.

This surcharge has caused some netizens to question the pricing scheme. It must be said, though, the prices are clearly indicated on a signboard.

The Singaporean hawker, known only as Wu, has clarified that the pricing is not a means to take advantage of customers but merely a method to keep her business sustainable.

She explained that instead of preparing multiple standard orders at a go, she has to prepare each order individually to accommodate customised orders that greatly slows down the cooking process.

This sound fair enough and with “bespoke” orders a very common practice here, maybe a small surcharge will avoid picky diners from making “less this, more that” type requests.

Malaysians need to remember that the hawker stalls are also trying to make ends meet in current trying times and any unnecessary demands that may affect the bottom line should be avoided.

If indeed one must have a dish specifically prepared, then one must be willing to pay for that service regardless if the request is “less this and less that”. – Oct 9, 2023

Main pic credit: Rasa Malaysia

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