• Tue
  • Jul 29, 2014
  • Updated: 11:11am
CommentInsight & Opinion

Michelin guides underscore sad reality of soaring rents

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2012, 2:03am

Hong Kong's reputation as a gastronomic paradise means there is no shortage of restaurants for different taste buds and budgets. But the presence of some 10,000 outlets also means the industry is highly competitive. If being able to survive is already a success, to be able to stand out and win praise from gourmet experts is even more so. That is why the 61 eateries that made it into the new Michelin food guide have good reason to rejoice. Whether they are deserving or not is often open to debate, but there is no better promotion than earning a place in an internationally recognised food directory. The accolades usually bring fame and, hopefully, a long queue of customers.

Oddly enough, not all eateries are happy to be honoured. "Keep me out of this" - that was the immediate response from the restaurant owner when told that his modest outlet in Happy Valley got one star in the 2013 edition of the French guide book. His restaurant is packed throughout the week and therefore cannot benefit much from the additional fame anyway. But it may give the landlord an excuse to raise the rent, which may then put him out of business. Indeed, two restaurants in the guide already folded before it hit the shelves early this month. It will be a pity if the recognition of their success in the culinary world becomes a kiss of death.

It is a sad reality that soaring rents have continued to push old shops and restaurants out of tourist districts like Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui in recent years. Many, favourites of the local community for decades, have been replaced by international clothing chains or luxury brands. A few managed to survive by moving upstairs or to some remote corners. But most just vanished without a trace.

Admittedly, landlords have the right to maximise profits from their properties. Whoever pays the highest can take over the space to make more profit. That is how businesses come and go in a free economy. But the loss is as much to the neighbourhood as to those put out of business.

Share

Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

This article is now closed to comments

RobinDeCaro
Hong kong is well known place of eating the best in the world atributed to the mingling of western and easten culture.You can name any one of them:Italian food,Vietnam,Chinese,French,American fast food,Hungarian......of which Chinese food amounts to a great majority.
2.But I find it disgusting what some Chinese eat.Sharks fins are cut alive with the "tube-like" creatures dumped back into the sea where they die gradually.Bear palms cut, their bile extracted alive.Monkeys fastened in a cage exposing the heads then the eaters hit with hammers to open the skulls,pour boiled oil into them and eat (in the past).Animals genitals (tigers,cows,chickens) become food.Why?Become as powerful as tigers?Their self image speaks.Mice become food.Puppies and old cats.Why is it so barbaric?I cannot figure out why they enjoy so much when they stuck such stuff into their mouths,it is a barbaric look!
t3.Luckily the Michelin menu does not include such eateries into the star list.The Chinese hates racism,they want Chinese be respected,and it is happening world wide.The Chinese should respest themselves,treat the animals humanely.Remember history and learn from it,especially when the Philipinnes and Japan are saying something and then followed by acts.
 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or