10 yuan for a buffet lunch box? Stalls like these don’t appear very often in tourist areas, but it’s absolutely possible to find them if you look around. The price is unbelievable but frankly, it’s all a matter of taste. Low income workers have few options and they just want to fill their stomachs as full as possible so they won’t get hungry so soon.
The cooking style and ingredients are quite standard. They use a lot of oil, salt and chilli. The bland dishes can be super bland. The spicy ones can be very spicy. The good thing I can say is that they really don’t short-change their customers. The meat may be sliced very thin, but for 10 yuan, it’s a steal. It’s not really my box of rice (give me Nepalese dhal baat any day) and I’m not sure if there are any long-term health risk from the cheap ingredients they use, but one good thing that can be said about such businesses is, they don’t short-change their customers. You can never get rich selling at such prices regardless of how you cut corners.
Aluminium lunch boxes. I haven’t tried this before, but it’s probably not too bad. It’s good when yolu don’t have the space to display the dishes as in a buffet. Everything is prepacked like a bento. The good thing about these cheap eats is that they provide nourishment for low income people. Our economic rice is now catering to not just the masses but also the middle class. They are also becoming less and less affordable. As some of the commenters said, these folks are effectively doing public service at a time when public policies are milking the people.