What's your favourite poverty meal that you'll still eat regardless of your financial status? - Seedly
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Anonymous

Asked on 10 Aug 2020

What's your favourite poverty meal that you'll still eat regardless of your financial status?

It doesn't matter how simple it is. Sometimes it's a great reminder of where we come from...

Rudi Tan

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    Hi anonymous,

    I can't say that I was ever poor, because I was fortunate enough that my family did pretty okay. Even when my dad's business folded, and my mom got retrenched in her prime... I was lucky that I managed to score bursaries and scholarships to fund my own education, and eventually put myself through university.

    So growing up, I never experienced poverty like a lot of less fortunate Singaporeans might have had. And I'm grateful for that.

    However, I did live in Thailand for a while as a research assistant, back when I was still in poly. And I did it on my own dime. FYI: when I entered on a scholarship, I wasn't taking a single cent from my parents, and worked during the school holidays for pocket money.

    Granted, the programme and my school paid for my accommodations in a hostel as well as for my air tickets. And the research institute did give me a living allowance.

    But I certainly wasn't living like a king there and I wanted to make sure that whatever money I had lasted for as long as possible.

    Even though things in Thailand were cheaper than in Singapore, the living allowance (about THB6,000 or ~S$264) wasn't that much either. For context, if you ate at the university canteen or on the street, you'll spend about THB100 to 150 per day — this was back in 2007 - 2008. And since accommodations are taken care of, technically can survive lah...

    I did miss home-cooked food though (my grandma's cooking to be specific). But I can't fly her out there. So with my limited funds, I would always make sure that I have a bottle of this:

    Source: Sinhua Hock Kee Trading (S) Pte Ltd

    Yep.

    That's a bottle of Triple A Pickled Lettuce. Or if you live in a typical Chinese household, like me, then you would probably know this as cai xin. A bottle costs about S$1.50 to S$1.65 and you can easily find it in your local supermarket (or I'm guessing... any Asian supermarket worldwide).

    And that's something which my grandma would pair with rice porridge for a very simple lunch.

    Source: cookpad.com

    So that's what I did too for a cheap meal or when I missed home (and my grandma). Plain rice porridge (or jok) was super easy to find in Thailand, and was really cheap (about THB30 or S$1.32).

    If I'd like a little protein in my jok, I would get some pork meatballs or an egg cracked in it. And it'd only cost THB40 or S$1.77.

    So... what's my favourite poverty meal that I'll eat regardless of my financial status?

    Rice porridge with a side of cai xin

    Because it reminds me of my times as a research assistant in a sleepy university town north of Bangkok... and of my grandma.​​​

    1

    Frankie Rappaport

    Frankie Rappaport

    14 Aug 2020

    Beautiful, yes, the simplest things in cuisine ... and investing ...
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    Michael Wong

    Michael Wong

    Level 7. Grand Master

    Answered on 12 Aug 2020

    Instant noodles. Never gets old! :D

    0

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    Jit Thong Ling

    Jit Thong Ling

    Level 5. Genius

    Answered on 10 Aug 2020

    What comes to my mind immediately is $2.50 chicken rice, $3 cai png and $1.10 kopi. These classics are part of our heritage and I have no qualms eating them everyday.

    2

    Bin Rui

    Bin Rui

    11 Aug 2020

    That's exactly what comes in my mind too!
    Johnwei Chong

    Johnwei Chong

    12 Aug 2020

    That’s my typical day to day meal except weekend even I’m earning quite ok. I spend what I left after all other allocation.
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    In Brunei, we have an almost nasi lemak equivalent called nasi katok. The origin came from olden times when peddlers would "katok" door to door and sell cheap $1 rice + chiken + sambal in brown paper.

    We've got plenty of other abominations that costs higher but nothing beats the plain one. I do still eat it from time to time.

    ​​​

    0

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    Chicken rice at $2.5/$3. Till today it's still my almost daily meals..

    Rice and dishes at $2.70/$3.20 which is 2 vegetables 1 meat and provides the daily nutritious.

    Ever survive also on just plain rice add light soya sauce or with sweet potato that I go dig up and cook, or fried rice only at $0.50. I'll still eat those regardless of time / age or financial status.

    After all, we eat to live. We don't live to eat. If we get to live and eat , it's a blessings.

    Cheers.

    0

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    Yang Teng

    Yang Teng

    Level 9. God of Wisdom

    Answered on 10 Aug 2020

    White porridge with pickled lettuce/salted egg. Looking for other recipes too!

    0

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    Nigel

    Nigel

    Level 4. Prodigy

    Answered on 12 Aug 2020

    Maggi curry noodles with egg

    Takes 3 minutes and easily cost under $3 but the feeling of eating this is priceless

    2

    Rachel Aw

    Rachel Aw

    12 Aug 2020

    Best combi ever! 😍
    Nigel

    Nigel

    20 Aug 2020

    Exactly @Rachel Aw haha
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    Mohd Khairul

    Mohd Khairul

    Level 3. Wonderkid

    Answered on 11 Aug 2020

    When my dad was retrenched we ate white rice, drizzle with sweet soya sauce and top it off with a fried egg. Should eat it while everything is hot!

    0

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    Imma caipng boy. All my caipng are in .png format too.

    1 meat + 1 veg = meal for the next 5 hours

    0

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    Bread with kopi, milo or hot choco.

    1

    Jason Tan

    Jason Tan

    11 Aug 2020

    Plain Whiterice with egg. when times are hard, we must never forget that they are people who are getting the shorter end of the stick. At least we do not need to live in hunger and anxiety
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    Aaron Leow

    Aaron Leow

    Level 8. Wizard

    Updated on 13 Aug 2020

    $0.05 Instant coffee every morning. I buy stocks in Starbucks instead of sipping on $5 lattes.

    Some eat to live, some live to eat. I'm the former 95% of the time.

    I do not see it as a poverty meal, it's simply being smart about your finances. I've dinned in expensive restaurants which honestly, are not worth their value in taste. There are nice ones, but truthfully, the curve is exponential and not something which I can appreciate fully. What they cannot do in taste, they make up for in ambience. This sounds like 92% of fund managers who never beat the index but come in nice suits and shiny brochures.

    Being a true blue Singaporean, I would very much prefer char kway teow which has been perfected over a period of 30 years in the family from a humid, stuffy hawker than a posh restaurant who throws in their rendition from a discipline of fine dining. There are some dishes which should stay traditional.​​​

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    J

    Jason

    Level 6. Master

    Answered on 12 Aug 2020

    1) White bread with butter/kaya/peanut butter spread

    2) White bread with Ayam brand tuna

    3) Mixed Veg Rice (From hawker/ market & small eateries) and don't order fish

    4) $2-$3 Chicken Rice

    5) BeeHoon/Mee with 1-2 side dish of your choice

    For drinks wise, plain water to save money & stay hydrated :)

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    Yu Yan

    Yu Yan

    Level 2. Rookie

    Answered on 11 Aug 2020

    Mixed rice

    0

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    Yong Kah Hwee

    Yong Kah Hwee

    Level 8. Wizard

    Answered on 11 Aug 2020

    Tuna + White Bread. Can last for 2 meals :)

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    CA

    Clive Ang

    Level 4. Prodigy

    Answered on 11 Aug 2020

    Defintely something from Macdonalds savers menu. Used to get $2 McDoubles when they were still a thing! Ate it as a student with my friends at Ajisen because i could not afford the ramen. Good times!

    0

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    $2 McChicken a la carte and $1 junior coke without ice

    ayam brand canned tuna (olive / sunflower oil)

    tub of yoghurt to last several meals.

    nowadays, I try to prep salad at home or simple boiled stuff. Can save some moolah now that I'm not working in any formal capacity.

    0

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    I don't think choice of food has anything to do with financial status period lol.

    While I enjoy the very frequent hawker meals, I rarely indulge and prefer to prepare my meals at home, which is also surprisingly easy and cheap.

    My go to's are:

    • Air fry anything with minimal oil and no condiments

    • Boiled eggs (I love this)

    • Cold-pressed tofu

    Also, don't say poverty la. :')

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    Sk

    Sk

    Level 4. Prodigy

    Updated 3w ago

    Chee cheong fun definitely!!

    ​​​

    0

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    One portion of chicken breast + rice + cabbage dinner

    Understand this is probably not the cheapest option but it is my pretty reasonable poverty meal because at least I got the protein + carbs. Depending on how much you eat and portion, one meal should be about $1+, where the costs mainly come from chicken breast, so to reduce cost, reduce chicken breast

    Cook and portion into tuppleware containers, then put into freezer weekly so you can quickly microwave it when you need to.

    Can spoil yourself with some Teriyaki Marinade or Soya Sauce from time to time too :')​​​

    0

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    This is my favourite poverty meal that I still eat today - 2 soft boiled eggs!

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