Stalls to raise prices but they are still the cheapest

Lau Khee Kwai's RM2 Wantan noodle sell out fast. The price he charged at RM2.40 and RM2.60 are in bigger portion with extra ingredients.

A CHICKEN rice seller and a wantan mee hawker known for selling their dishes at one of the lowest prices on Penang island are planning to hike up their prices by 30 sen after Chinese New Year.

The chicken rice seller who wished to be known only as Ah Hock plans to raise the price by 30 sen to RM2.80 per plate while wantan noodle seller Lau Khee Kwai, 60, plans to raise his price to RM2.30 per plate from RM2.

They cited the higher prices of ingredients for the price hike.

Both Ah Hock, who operates a stall at the Hup Kee coffee shop in Pulau Tikus, and Lau, who runs a stall at the CF coffee shop in Weld Quay, just opposite the Chew Jetty, are enjoying brisk business.

Ah Hock’s customers are not complaining as they find that the new price is still lower compared to the RM4 or RM4.50 charged elsewhere.

He sells the chicken rice with slices of cucumber and bean sprouts.

Retiree Jit Singh, 67, said one could hardly find a plate of chicken rice priced below RM3.

“The taste is not bad. I find it on par with some of the best chicken rice eateries in town.

“I think he has not raised his price for almost five years,” he said.

Ah Hock, 32, said he had told his customers about the price hike and many of them were quite receptive.

“Chicken used to priced at about RM6 per kilo but it has since shot up to about RM8 per kilo.

“Besides, the price for soy sauce and vegetables also increased,” he said.

Ah Hock said he had to sell between 20 and 25 chickens a day to earn a profit.

He added that he did everything single-handedly, from preparing the chicken and slicing cucumbers, to serving the customers with his sister, who wished to be known only as Lee, 28, and another helper.

“I need to share the profit only with my sister and pay wages to the part-time worker,” he said.

Lau, who is better known as Iao Kwai, serves wantan noodles with a normal portion of noodles, char siew (barbequed pork), some vegetables and a sprinkling of spring onions.

“I have maintained the price at RM2 for more than 20 years. But, the prices of ingredients have gone up,” he said.

Lau said he and his wife Teoh Kim Keok, 63, had been selling wantan noodle for more than 45 years, back when when the price per plate was only 10 sen.

“Most of my customers are labourers and they don’t earn much. They just need food to fill their stomach,” he said.

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