I am sure every Singaporean (except the Muslims) has eaten at a mixed rice stall aka Cai png—for the non-Chinese like me, it can be a little tricky, especially when you can’t speak Chinese.
Sometimes, I wonder if I am being overcharged and at times when I am served the wrong dish (there is only so much pointing you can do when there is a glass barrier in front of you), but I will suck it up and just eat it.
My best bet is to drag one of my Chinese friends so he can be the point of contact for me.
So many questions/problems for what might seem like a straightforward thing.
Reddit user, Mynxs, recently posted a thread—I sell Cai png AMA (ask me anything).
The questions came pouring in and he seems like an expert of sorts since he helps out with his parent’s cai png stall.
The thread is messy—like every other Reddit thread, so let me make your life easier by picking out the ones that might seem the most pertinent.
What is a typical day like at the stall for you and your parents?
His family wakes up at 6:30 am and start prepping for breakfast at 7 am. Lunch prep involves washing and cutting of vegetables, cooking and et cetera.
“Then hit the lunch crowd, Chiong for 2 hours. After lunch at about 1.30 we prep the veg for the next day,” he said.
Do you scoop more for some customers? If so, what are the qualities you look for?
The answer is yes! Apparently, when he is in charge of scooping the rice, he will give extra rice for chiobu (a colloquial term used on pretty girls) and people who are generally happy-looking.
If you look rude aka RBF (resting b*tch face) or if you hog up the line, you will only get the minimum serving.
This makes so much sense! The rice-size isn’t consistent because sometimes I get more and I am always extra friendly to people in the F&B industry—it is a tough job and they don’t deserve any prissy attitude.
So, you want more rice? Be happy.
What did your worst customers do?
“Give me $100 for a tree fiddy meal in the middle of lunch rush” he said. Yeah, imagine the trouble, especially during lunch hour. ‘
Then there are some who start counting coins at the cashier!
What did your best customers do?
Before I tell you what he said, I am proud to say I adhere to his opinion.
“Prep the note they’re going to pay me in their hand so I can prep the change before they get to me,” he said.
Cumulatively, this saves a lot of time!
What happens to the leftovers?
Now, here’s the confession that might not go well with many of you.
Leftovers are inevitable in any food business. He goes to say that leftovers will be given to the cleaners and dishwashers—free-flow buffet.
Some items do get resold. According to him, some shops wash the sauce off the meat so it can be reused on the second day.
Fried chicken gets a good bath in sambal—voilah, a new dish!
So basically, it all depends on the owner of the stall. If he thinks its edible, then it is good to go.
How well do you wash the vegetables
“Mmm, as best as we can with the amount of time we have,” he said.
A politically-correct answer, my friend.
He mentioned that most vegetables get two washes, considering it gets washed en mass. Some vegetables are easier to clean—kangkong and spinach are the hardest to clean.
If you find worms, its probably the aforementioned vegetables, as they have crevices in the stems, and there might be bugs nesting inside despite being washed.
So, your best bet would be broccoli as it easy to wash and it is loaded with zinc to boot.
How come Cai png can be cheaper than Nasi Padang
According to him, halal meat is more expensive and shop owners have little supply in their favour in contrast to their large demand.
So now you know the secrets of a running a Cai Png stall.
And for those who are wondering if he would take up his family business when he retires—it is a no.
“Cai Png is a life skill that you use when you’re out of options,” he said.
Once again, thank you Mynxs, for the wise words.
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This article was first published on goodyfeed.com
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