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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

News ~ Fish Dish Cost $1,200 At RWS

Can you believe this? Remember to check the price before ordering.

Man upset at $1,200 fish dish at RWS

Waiter did not mention price during order.
RWS says goodwill discount given

By Yeo Sam Jo
June 30, 2010

A 35-year-old diner and four friends feasted on a steamed fish dish at a restaurant in Resorts World Sentosa (RWS). At the end of the meal, upon receiving the bill, his jaw hit the ground.

What seemed like a simple dish ended up costing a whopping S$1,224.

The diner, who only wanted to be known as Mr Liu, took his four friends to RWS’ Feng Shui Inn restaurant on June 12. He had initially asked for marble goby, better known locally as “soon hock”, but was told there was no stock for the fish.

A waiter then recommended the white sultan fish instead. The group agreed, without enquiring about the cost of the dish. But when the bill arrived, the five diners were shocked to find that the single sultan fish, weighing 1.8kg, set them back by a staggering S$1,224.

“(The waiter) didn’t mention the price (of the fish), and we also didn’t think too much about it and just said okay,” Mr Liu told Lianhe Wanbao.

He complained about the price of the fish during payment and the restaurant responded by giving him a 15% discount on the bill as a gesture of goodwill.

“The customer has the right to know and the restaurant should have made clear its price so we could decide whether it was worth it,” Mr Liu said.

In response to the incident, an RWS spokesman claims that the practice of not disclosing menu prices is common in upscale restaurants. “It is not always appropriate to state menu prices to high-end customers who have come to expect a certain discretion when they entertain high-level guests, ” he explains.

RWS conceded that the incident could have been a “lapse of judgement” but it was smoothed over quickly with an on-the-spot discount.

But is S$68 per 100g for a sultan fish a reasonable amount?

A quick comparison with Capital Restaurant, which has been selling sultan fish for 36 years, reveals that the dish can go for as low as S$6 per 100g. This is less than a tenth of Fengshui Inn’s price tag on the fish.

Chef Pung Lu Tin, 50, of Seafood International Market and Restaurant, explained the sultan fish is sought-after because it was not easy to catch. He added that its meat was “very smooth”.

“The flesh is tender and snow white. It’s a wild river fish, so it eats fruits that drops from trees and bears the fragrance of fruit,” Chef Huang Ching Biao, 58, kitchen operations director at Jin Shan restaurant at MBS told The New Paper.

But despite its draw, both chefs added that they have not come across any commanding such a high price. One seafood distributor known only as Mr Lee even described the price of the fish at Fengshui Inn as “outrageous”.

This seafood shocker is reminiscent of an incident that occurred in March last year, where six American tourists were charged S$239 for a mere eight tiger prawns at Newton hawker centre.

The stall involved had its licence suspended for three months by the National Environment Agency (NEA) for breaching licencing conditions.

Incidents like these throw the spotlight on questionable charging practices in Singapore. For a country positioning itself as a tourism hub, these bad dining experiences are sure to leave a bitter after-taste.


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