Hong Kong is often called the place with the world’s richest and most expensive cuisine, with over 50 prestigious Michelin-starred dining venues across the city. 

However, after more than two years of struggling with the strict measures by authorities to control the COVID pandemic, people have to temporarily forget about experiences at high-class restaurants and instead go to popular “two-dish-rice” restaurants.

“Two-dish-rice” is rice set with only two dishes with prices ranging around $6 (HK$48). It has become a popular trend chosen in Hong Kong in recent times.

According to Zaobao, Singapore’s long-standing media outlet, Chen Kaidi a two-dish-rice restaurant owner, has quickly grown into two branches as the needs of Hong Kong people are increasing. She now sells 2,000 to 3,000 lunch boxes a day.

A group on Facebook shares information about “two-dish-rice” shops in Hong Kong and attracts up to 88,000 members. This group said there were 110 to 120 such stores in 2021, and by 2022 had discovered 150 new stores.

Experts have also commented on the growing demand for two-dish-rice in Hong Kong.

Gu Jida , an economist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the consumers’ perception has changed, and these meal boxes no longer symbolize relatively low income.

Guan Chaozhao , director of the Hong Kong ACE Center for Business and Economic Research, said that it is similar to the emergence of dollar shops during the (2008) financial crisis …” People tend to spend less when the economy is not well and confidence is low.”

On September 22, Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan warned that the chances of negative economic growth in Hong Kong this year are “very high,” while the fiscal deficit is expected to soar to $12.7 billion (HK$100 billion).

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