The price of chicken rose by about 20 per cent yesterday amid high demand for the meat traditionally eaten to celebrate the winter solstice. The festival, 'more important than the Lunar New Year' according to a Chinese saying, has stirred up already increased demand for chicken amid the cold snap. A spokesman for the Agriculture and Fisheries Department said: 'People don't eat much meat in hot weather. But when it is cold, plus when it is an important festival, demand for chicken soars.' The cold weather had also prompted a 20 per cent increase in the price of vegetables, said Vegetable Marketing Organisation spokesman Edward Lai Kwok-yan. 'The increasing popularity of hot pot due to the cold weather has boosted consumption of vegetables,' he said. Prices for choi sum rose from $3.50 to $4 per catty and kale went up from $3 to $3.50. Mr Lai said: 'The supply is actually normal with most of the harvested vegetables ready for sale in the market. Prices have been pushed up by the sudden increase in demand.' 'Auspicious foods' according to traditional Chinese beliefs such as Chinese lettuce, which sounds like 'full of life' or 'generating wealth', and dried oysters, which sound like 'prosperity', also saw a surge in demand yesterday. One woman shopping at a market in Cheung Sha Wan said: 'I'll cook my family a traditional Chinese meal - all those lucky foods.'