Newton Hawker Center, Singapore
I am posting this news article from the local newspaper about a group of American tourists who were fleeced at a seafood staff at Newton Hawker Center. Avoid Newton Hawker Center at all costs!
March 17, 2009
SIX Americans who sat down to a seafood dinner at Newton hawker centre on Saturday just about fell off their chairs when they were presented a bill for $491, including $239 for eight tiger prawns.
Mr Michael Rigby, 30, an exhibition specialist from Oregon who comes here regularly for work, said: 'It was more than what it would have cost us at a restaurant in the hotel.'
He said that when he asked the stallholder whether the bill had a mistake, he only got a shrug in reply. Seconds later, the man returned with four others, who he said looked to be in their 40s and well-built.
He said: 'I guess they didn't want us to leave without paying.'
Ironically, he and his wife, Dewi, 36, had set out to show their friends - Mr Sal Rubio, 53, his wife, daughter and son-in-law, all here for the first time - how safe, clean and honest this island city was.
The food centre was crowded then, so when the helpers from stall 43, Tanglin Best BBQ Seafood, showed them to a table, they felt obliged to order from them.
Besides tiger prawns, they had four crabs, baby squids, half a steamed chicken, four bottles of beer and fruit juices.
Mrs Rigby, referring to the price of the prawns, said: 'They were prawns. It was not like we dined on lobsters!'
She added that halfway through the meal, the stallholder even plonked two grilled sting rays on their table.
'We told them that we did not order them and they were quickly taken away. Afraid we would be charged for them, we asked for an itemised bill. When it came, we were shocked,' she said.
Mr Rubio, who is from Arizona, told The Straits Times that the prices seemed comparable to those of an American restaurant and thought nothing of it - until Mr Rigby queried the bill.
Unique Suggestions: Avoid Newton Hawker Center at all costs!
Fun Alternatives: Hawker food is characteristic of Singaporean culture. There are so many hawker center all over in Singapore. Tourist brochures often cite Newton Hawker Center as it is in close proximity to Orchard Road. Never go there - the stall holders are thuggish and employ strong arm tactics when you dispute the bill.
Try Makansutra - the hawker center next to the Esplanade. The best hawker stalls are hand picked to set up their stalls there.
Many tourists come all the way to this food center to get themselves ripped off, because many guide books are "advertising" on this food center. Do not be fooled as the price of the food in this food center may cost double as many as other food center. Why the food is priced so expensive is because it will never lack tourists coming there to be ripped.
Unique Suggestions: Eat at other hawker center. The one at chinatown is good and Tiong Bahru hawker center is very famous for its cheap and tasty food.
Fun Alternatives: If you really cannot find a hawker center, go to shopping center food court to savour the tasty food that Singapore have to offer. If not, the buffet in your hotel is not bad and you get to taste many different food at the buffet(usually about S$20). Go to www.sgcheongster.com on where to eat.