Oh, the pain of food inflation!

Earlier this week, the Government revealed that Singapore’s inflation rate is 5.2 percent in March, 2012. From 1962 until 2010, the average inflation rate in Singapore was 2.73 percent with an historical high of 34.00 percent in March of 1974 (following the oil price shocks) and a record low of -3.10 percent in September of 1976.

I should point out that the terrible high inflation rate almost 40 years ago was matched by bank or finance company deposit rates that were sky high. I remember mum enjoying 13 or 14 percent per annum interest while property prices were only a fraction of today’s prices. Mum sold a Grange Road walk-up flat for $64,ooo while our local helper and her husband bought a 3-room HDB flat in Avenue 2, Clementi for $12,000.

By contrast, today interest rates are about 0.5 to 0.75 percent per annum on average and no one can buy any meaningful roof over their head with the amounts I cited. Not even a COE, let alone a car.

Be that as it may.

But what struck me truly starkly about inflation was my return to Imperial Treasure Windows of Hong Kong at Triple One Somerset on Monday for some comfort food.   

I hadn’t intended to go there but had a few errands to run in its vicinity. 

Then bad luck struck. I had removed my cash card from my IU be4 setting off because it had fallen below a certain value and its beeps were driving me mad. But I forgot to replace it with my other cash card with higher value.

And so I fell into a f-foul mood. That 50 cent ERP fee at the Orchard gantry would now have to be met with a hefty fine. FF mood not improved when I text LH for help “with a name, please” and got no response, because LH I guess doesn’t believe in extending help for such “petty” matters.

Errands done and feeling really sorry for myself, I needed some comfort food.

With Triple One just across the road from where I was, I was like a homing pigeon.

It’s been a while since I ate at Imperial Treasure Windows on HK.

The prices looked a bit higher but no matter.

I’m hugely a creature of habit and settled for Set B which comprised half a salted egg, one BBQ chik wing, some siew yoke (roast pork), some marinaded slices of squid and rice.

I was charged $8.50.

When the food came, I vaguely remembered there should have been an accompanying bowl of soup. But again, I was happy to eat some comfort food and didn’t want to stir up my FF mood again.

It wasn’t until today when i checked my blog that i discovered how prices have gone up at the Windows on HK cafe over less than 2 years.

When I first discovered the cafe in July 2010, I couldn’t stop singing its praise. As witness here!

Back then, the set I ate on Monday had come with a hearty Cantonese pork soup and was priced at $7.

I was quite miffed to discover a few months after that the rice and mixed meat dish had de-coupled from the soup. The main was priced at $6.50 while the soup was priced at $2. I ranted against the higher prices here.

Since then, prices have gone up even higher. Now the main is $8.50 sans soup. But then, that’s about what’s charged in most food courts, if one isn’t too careful with one’s selection, especially at brand name nasi padang stalls!

Even worse may come as suggested by this website  –which I must warn is trying to sell fear rather than hope.

And hope there should be. After all, didn’t I start this blog in 2008 with a post anxiously wondering if rice would reach $15 a kg after oil prices broke the USD100 mark?

Since that post, the world has been living more or less with oil prices above that defining level. Yet rice — if one settles for the no-frills variety — isn’t priced anywhere near $15. Yet! 🙄


7 thoughts on “Oh, the pain of food inflation!

  1. Auntie lucia

    you can appeal to LTA and should be able to change it to adminstrative charge or waiver if first time for the year.


  2. my $1.50 packet of nasi lemak no longer has cucumber, omelet is now just a pleasant memory, and the amount of ikan bilis is down to 9 weeny pieces. this used to cost $1.40 from my usual vendor, until he was told his rent had gone up $300 a month 3 weeks ago. till then the price of a pack had risen by 40cents over quite a long period and the amount of bits and pieces reduced or removed.

    when one talks of rising prices of food, particularly cooked food, it is nowhere near 5 or 5.2% or whatever the latest heart-attack hike figure is. think back, and you will realise your cooked meals have been going up by leaps of around 20%, even as the amount you get is reduced. if it is a lower increase in price (one should be so lucky!!), the serving will have been decreased by a fair amount.

    today’s $5 char kway teow pack looked like the $3 amount i got a year ago from the same vendor. it had 3 pieces of ham and 4 pieces of lapcheong. i searched desperately for the once generous number of pieces of fried fat. i found 2. wat was particularly annoying was there was no extra black sauce as requested. if he needed more money for that, he did not say so.

    a friend claims that the declining number of customers at hawker centres is due to pple wanting to eat in posher surroundings, like aircon food courts. i’m not so sure.

  3. Jax

    It is true that a rising number of younger colleagues prefer the aircon places ie food courts/eating house and willing to pay the higher prices irrespective of their salaries may be lower than the older colleagues especially in the CBD areas.

  4. Auntie Lucia

    Your are welcome and glad that your friend do know their boundaries although may be a little bit too rigidly.

  5. Uncle Wang, my LTA connected friend can be quite a pain! Once I had a bus-lane problem n asked for help. Instead of which friend said: “Don’t appeal. Just pay up!” I got so mad that I almost broke off friendship. heh, all I want is a little commiseration, not corruption. Latest ERP incident: friend did come back later to ask: “Heard from LTA yet?” I retorted: U just MYOB! 😛

  6. Uncle Jax: Every time I eat at Foodcourts or small cafes, I tend to compare total price of meal with what it would cost me to do same at home. A lot of the time, if I factor in shopping, storing, cooking and cleaning time and actual costs, i find it doesn’t make much difference, like for like. So mayb future homes shld shrink the kitchen? 😆

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