Here’re the price differences in primary school canteen food in 1990s and 2010s, & you’re not going to like it

Regardless of race, language or religion, I am sure Singaporeans of all ages remember their recess times in school fondly, for it was the long-awaited time we all looked forward to where we could fill our stomachs with cheap and affordable food.

However, if you were a 90s kid, you might not take the primary school canteen food prices of today so well. Here are some price hikes that might set you reeling.

Cold drinks
When I was in primary school in the 90s, I bought a class of rose syrup drink for 10 cents; a large plastic cup for 20 cents if I were really thirsty. Today, a small cup of soya bean milk will cost you 50 cents, and some canteens don’t even have them – the cheapest cold drink is a packet of fruit juice that costs 80 cents.

One of my favourite stalls was the noodle stall, where I could choose between fishball noodles or a watered down version of laksa, which was still quite tasty. A small bowl was 40 cents and a larger bowl 50 cents – a price pupils can only dream about today. Any kind of noodle is going to set you back $1, and that’s even before you include any toppings.

Vegetable rice
My luxury stall because it usually cost more, I used to get a slice of luncheon meat, stir fried potatoes and one more dish plus a great dollop of sweet curry for 80 cents; this also includes the Muslim stall. That’s not going to happen anymore folks because it now costs 40 – 60 cents per dish, and 30 cents just for the rice.

This was one place back then where I could spend 5 cents and actually get something, usually a wrapper of three pieces of peanut candy, which served as my little dessert. That too, is no more, as schools no longer allow tidbits to be sold, and anything at the snacks stall is going to cost you at least 50 cents.

Novelty stall
I classify all other stalls such as western food or even Japanese food as novelty stalls because those mentioned above are usually the staples. The novelty stall in my primary school was the chicken rice stall, which was a huge hit because it was tasty…and had killer fried chicken drumlets and winglets.

A plate would cost me 80 cents back then, $1.50 with two winglets if I had saved up enough money over the week. Today, a basic meal at this kind of stall will easily set you back $2 without anything else added.

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