S$19.60 for this economy rice: Pick your own ingredients cai png at Alexandra Retail Centre

Fast food, Chinese style.

Joshua Lee | October 20, 2023, 04:16 PM



If you've ever queued up for economy rice at the canteen and thought to yourself, "They should have a version of this where I can help myself", well, you're so in luck.

Yes, yes, it is already like this in Malaysia, but here in Singapore?

Hundred Grains, a new self-service Chinese fast food place, has sprung up on the second floor of Alexandra Retail Centre, which puts a spin on the classic cai png (economy rice) concept.

By Livia Soh

By Livia Soh

Self-service, pay by weight

The catch?

Even though the food is laid out like a free-flow buffet spread, you pay according to weight, based on the amount of food you load up on your plate.

By Livia Soh

This does away with the luck of the draw and being at the mercy of the food handler, who scoops the food.

Up to 60 dishes

According to the Alexandra Retail Centre's website, Hundred Grains offers a selection of 40 to 60 dishes showcasing flavors from Sichuan, Hunan, and Guangdong, China.

Dishes include spicy ginger chicken feet, sweet skin duck, mouth-watering chicken, as well as boneless fish with two peppers, among other dishes with unique flavours.


Enjoy more proteins and less of the pesky peripheral accoutrements that comes with the dish?

Want more greens but not the carrots?

Never getting the right amount of sauce, as it is always a drizzle too much or too little?

Well, at Hundred Grains, you can just help yourself.

By Livia Soh

S$3.98 per 100g

And the eatery has opted for a fixed pricing model, regardless of meat or vegetables that you pile on your plate.

The price is currently S$3.98 per 100g of food, with a minimum weight of 150g per transaction.

Rice and porridge, as well as drinks, are free flow.

By Livia Soh

By Livia Soh

There is even a choice of pearl rice or brown rice.

By Livia Soh

Easily more than S$10 per pax

The eatery, which has just opened, was packed during lunch period on Friday.

And here's the damage.

For this portion below, suitable for an adult, which is made up of mostly non-meat, vegetables dishes, the cost was S$13.85, inclusive of GST.

By Livia Soh

For this other portion below, which consisted of mostly meat and other proteins, the cost was S$19.60, inclusive of GST.

By Livia Soh

The S$3.98 per 100g price is applicable to any dish, regardless of whether it is a meat or vegetable dish.

Customers do not have to weigh the rice and porridge, which is in the free-flow zone.

By Livia Soh


Overall, the concept is novel, but the food prices might be a bit pricier if you practise a bit less discretion when it comes to serving size.

Even after 1:30pm, past the peak lunch hour, there were still about 30 dishes displayed to ensure the variety available.

This place is great for picky eaters, especially those who only want a selected few dishes and can control the serving size or maximise macros.

There are also unique dishes, such as stir fried chicken gizzard and pig intestines, which are not commonly found elsewhere.

There are downsides though.

One complaint surfaced on Google reviews is that the food is not exactly hot or warm enough, which was the case during our trip there.

There are also instances of food being mislabelled.

By example, what is clearly an octopus dish was labelled as "stir fried pork".

By Livia Soh

The price might also come as a shock to some during their first visit.

One Google reviewer said he paid S$25 for a meal, as seen below.


This meal was paid for by Mothership.

Top photos via Livia Soh