$0.50 for quail egg? Diner flames mala stall over 'predatory pricing'

Instead of enjoying his bowl of mala, one man got heated about how much money he had to pay for the meal. 

The disgruntled diner, Luqmanul Hakim Bin Othman, took to Facebook on Tuesday (Feb 28) to rant about the mala hot pot stall in Northpoint City’s food court. 

One of the biggest gripes that he had with the stall was how he was charged 50 cents for each quail egg that he had ordered

Luqmanul had nine quail eggs in his bowl of mala, which meant that he paid $4.50 for the eggs alone. 

The 24-year-old student told AsiaOne that his order consisted of maggi noodles, bok choy, mushrooms, shredded tofu, fish and quail eggs — which came up to $20.10. 

When reviewing the bill, he found it “very odd”, as he usually pays less than $20 for a similar order. 

“On the occasions when I paid $20, it was a bigger portion,” he said. 

Luqmanul also found several discrepancies in the receipt he was given. 

For instance, the bok choy, mushrooms and tofu were classified as “meat/seafood” items, which are more expensive than the vegetables that are priced between $1.20 and $2.20 per 100 grams on the stall’s menu.

There was also a $2 charge for two “sausages”, which Luqmanul said he did not order. 

He added that he should not have been charged $6.20 for pangas fish in his order, as it was “definitely not 147.6 grams” — a number which he derived from the stall’s menu. 

According to the menu, seafood costs $4.20 per 100 grams. 


When asked if he confronted the stall assistant about his bill, Luqmanul said that he refrained from doing so because he did not want to hold up other customers who in the queue. 

He also told AsiaOne that he wasn’t too concerned about getting a refund from the stall, but he was more worried about the price of food in the heartlands, as well as the “integrity and ethics” of the stall owners. 

Over in the comments section, others shared their experiences with ordering mala hot pot, with one saying that he once paid a whopping $35 for four types of vegetables and one type of meat. 

Others chimed in with suggestions of places in Yishun that are selling the dish at cheaper prices. 


$26 for mala bowl from Food Republic 

Last September, a diner at City Square Mall’s Food Republic was stunned after he was charged $26 for a mere seven ingredients in his bowl of mala

Speaking to Shin Min Daily News then, the man named Chen Weijian said he ordered luncheon meat, fish cakes, shrimp, sausage, cauliflower, spinach and instant noodles. 

Confronting the stall’s employees about the exorbitant price of his meal, Chen was reportedly told: “Mala hotpot is usually this expensive”. 

However, Chen was not satisfied with the answer, noting that he usually only pays slightly more than $10 for a similar order at coffee shops. 

Shin Min also spoke with an employee from the stall, who said that this was the first time that someone has ever complained about their prices. 

He also added that Chen had chosen expensive ingredients like cheese sausages, which cost $1 each. 

Apart from that, Huang explained that food costs have been rising and the cost of shipping for some imported ingredients has increased as well, so charging more for food is reasonable.

ALSO READ: ‘Economic noodles selling at non-economical price’: Singapore diners complain of high food prices, shrinking portions

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