It warms my heart to know that Singaporeans are doing their part to help those in need and less unfortunate than them. Last year, a “Chope Food for the Needy – Suspended Food Revolution” movement was inspired by the global “suspended coffee” initiative and started their own at Singapore’s hawker centres.

People would just need to approach hawker stalls and pay for the food in advance. These hawkers would then give this food out to needy people when they seek them.

Foodfare’s Rice Garden started their own spin on the “Chope for Food” movement, by using food vouchers.

I was curious and went down to Chinatown Smith Street’s Rice Garden to see how this works, and was surprised to see that they were already selling ‘chai peng’ at a rather reasonable price – 1 meat with 2 side vegetables and rice for $2.50. The portions were quite generous.

Concession Card holders (eg students and NS servicemen) and NTUC Union members can get the Fried Chicken or Fish Cutlet sets at only $1.99.

If you have a spirit of giving, you can purchase food vouchers from the stall, and give these vouchers out to needy people nearby or through a welfare organization.

The uncle at the stall said that you can see poor people in the Chinatown area, and there are good Samaritans who purchase these food vouchers for people who may need them – the uncles sleeping on cardboard boxes, the granny collecting old cans and newspapers, the cleaners in the vicinity… there are many around.

How the “Chope For Food” works
Step 1: Purchase a $2.50 set meal voucher for $1.99 (the difference will be co-funded by Foodfare)
Step 2: Give the voucher to the needy (for example if you see them in the vicinity of the hawker centre)
Step 3: Or purchase vouchers on the behalf of the organization you belong to (Email: for orders exceeding 20 pieces)
Step 4: These beneficiaries can then redeem the vouchers are any Rice Garden outlet

The dishes at Rice Garden change very regularly with a daily special, and the needy can redeem some of their popular food of braised pork, soy sauce chicken, curry chicken, and vegetables such as fried ladies finger and tofu.

There are 10 Rice Gardens in Singapore (Aljunied, Jalan Besar, Commonwealth Crescent, Chinatown, Market Street, Bendemeer, Tiong Bahru, ABC Market, Old Airport Road, Taman Jurong) so if you happen to pass by one and want to your part to help, your $1.99 could mean a satisfying and filling meal to another.

It may seem like a small step, but at least it is something to help the needy and low wage workers like the humble cleaners. Hopefully this initiative, together with the rising of their pay to at least $1000 monthly from this September (20% higher than today’s median) via the Progressive Wage Model that NTUC leaders like Lim Swee Say have been campaigning for, can benefit them in every little way.

Everybody deserves a job with decent wages, just as everyone deserves a good meal.

Foodfare Rice Garden
Chinatown, Blk 335 Smith Street, Singapore 050335 Stall #02-96
Opening Hours: 9:00am-4:00pm


Other Rice Gardens: Aljunied Ave 2 Blk 117 #01-35, 290 Jalan Besar #01-06, 31 Commonwealth Crescent #80, Market Street Golden Shoe Carpark #03-18, Blk 29 Bendemeer Road #01-40, Tiong Bahru Market #02-38, ABC Marke #01-103, Old Airport Road Food Centre #01-150, Taman Jurong Food Centr #03-123


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