Famous food critic laments over increasing disparity between rich and poor in the catering industry and condemns fine dining restaurants for charging exorbitant prices

Choi Lam

8th December 2022 – (Hong Kong) Chua Lam, Singaporean columnist, famous food critic, and occasional television host based in Hong Kong, recently talked about the “disparity between rich and poor” in the local catering industry on social media recently. He also commended the popular local ‘two-dish rice’ which aroused heated discussions among many netizens. He said that even one-dish rice tasted good.

After saying on ‘Omakase restaurants which treat customers as idiots‘ earlier which attracted controversy, Lam recently shared his latest views on the widening wealth gap in the catering industry on social media.

He said that there are many grassroots restaurants which recently opened in the market, but he described them as “food stalls which are cosmetically enhanced”. As for the so-called high-end restaurants, despite the increasingly expensive bills, there are still so many customers who support them. Some of them no longer charge HK$3,000 per head, the prices have gone up to even HK$5,000 – HK$7,000. His friend mentioned that “paying more than 10,000 Hong Kong dollars for a meal for four people is normal nowadays.” He added that western food paired with wines would easily cost over HK$50,000 – HK$60,000 nowadays.

Lam said that the current per capita consumption of HK$5,000 in high-end restaurants is very common. Diners who opt for Chinese food and want to eat expensive ingredients such as yellow Croaker fish and dried abalone would need to fork out more than HK$5,000 per head. For Omakase meals, each person needs to spend around HK$6,000 to HK$7,000 and with alcohol, it would cost at least HK$10,000 per person.

He continued that some rich people don’t care about the price when they spend on meals, and even requested restaurants to increase their prices further to ensure more exclusivity. They said boldly that only the rich should be allowed to make reservations.

In response, Lam said that citizens can actually enjoy sumptuous lunch at a grassroots restaurant for around HK$30 to HK$40. He felt that the wealth gap is increasing and the situation will become more severe. Many netizens concurred with him and believe that food should not be determined by price, most of the rich are spending not on quality of food but merely to show off that they can afford expensive meals.