Most people in Singapore go for Economic Rice (aka Mixed Rice / 杂菜饭) during meal times because it is the most convenient, value-for-money meal and the dishes can be considered home-cooked style dishes. Economic Rice stalls are available in almost all coffeeshops and food courts. A wide array of dishes is offered ranging from fish, chicken, pork, vegetables and eggs cooked in different styles.
1. Tell the stall keeper whether you are eating in or taking out, and he will scoop a portion of rice onto a plate or takeaway box.
2. Select which dishes you want. Normally people pick 3 dishes. If you want some extra gravy, just let hte stall keeper know.
3. Make payment. The price ranges from $2.80 to $7 depending on which dishes you pick, and where you are eating at. Expect to pay a little more if you pick foods like fish and prawns. Prices at food courts are also slightly higher than at coffeeshops. On average, it costs about $3 to $5 for 2 vegetable dishes (including foods like eggs and beancurd) and 1 meat dish. Some stalls also offer plain porridge on top of the white rice.
There is a Malay version of the Economic Rice - Nasi Padang, where the foods cooked are Halal. You will find a wider range of foods that are curry based (with coconut milk) which the Malays are accustomed to, as opposed to Economic Rice where the dishes are cooked Chinese style. The way you order and the price range is about the same as that of Economic Rice. Most Malay stalls also offer yellow rice or Briyani rice (rice cooked with a whole lot of spices including nutmeg and cinnamon).
There are also the India stalls where the dishes comprise of a range of meats and vegetables cooked in different curries and very fragrant because of the spices used in Indian cooking.
Most Economic Rice stalls sell Economic Bee Hoon (vermicelli) in the mornings for breakfast. You can get a plate of Bee Hoon or Kway Tiao (flat white noodles) and select from a range of dishes like luncheon meat, sausages, cabbage and fish fillets. The price ranges depending on what you pick, but you can get a hearty breakfast for about $3.