Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Reunion Dinners and Soaring Prices

Reunion dinners are an important celebration during the Lunar New Year. They are less of a ceremony and more of a promise that family members will gather together. A homecoming. The reunion dinner is a feast that's held on the eve of the New Year and it is always extra special.
To the tradition-minded, the types of food include fish (representing an abundant year), lettuce (representing vigorous), shallot (representing wisdom), celery (representing diligence), chicken and duck or so I am told.
And although families still meet, it is now more common to see them dining in Chinese restaurants – many of these places offer Reunion Dinner Packages.
So it is with great interest that I read about Malaysian Insider news editor Julia Yeow’s piece today that highlights the fact that soaring prices for reunion dinners are driving diners to non-Chinese restaurants. It seems an increasing number of Chinese families are choosing to shun tradition and are flocking instead to non-Chinese establishments to get more out of their ringgit – instead of dining at Chinese restaurants with their overly-inflated price tags.
She even cited some examples. The Tai Thong Group, stalwarts in Chinese dining, is offering set meals for a group of 10 priced from RM798++ to RM2,398++, while high-end Chinese restaurant Chynna at KL Hilton has eight-course dinner sets priced from RM1,888++. China Treasures, a halal Chinese restaurant at the Sime Darby Convention Centre, has priced its premium dinner for 10 at a whopping RM4,740.88 under the aptly named “Wealthy Prosperity Set”. Even Chinese restaurants in smaller neighbourhoods have jacked up their prices for reunion dinner sets by at least 50%, with hardly any eateries offering meals priced at anything less than RM500.

I too did some checking to ascertain the article's validity and these are my findings:



Above menu: RM338++ for 4 pax, RM638++ for 6 pax and RM888++ for 8 pax respectively. This works out to RM845, RM1,063 and RM1,110 and excluding taxes! (Webpage

I guess the Chinese intend to spend wisely. It is not so much about the cuisine but about loved ones coming together. They would rather make their selection based on quality and value, and not just from necessity, to have Chinese food.
Or maybe they are taking the cue from Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s exhortation to boycott Chinese businesses. [If you are clueless, please read my blogpost dated February 03, 2015].

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