Presuming cheapness

This is one of my pet peeves: The expectation that Asian food will be cheap.

What is with the presumption that Asian food in Australia will be cheaper than any other food? Can people not distinguish between being in a country where the standard of living allows their tourist dollar to magnify their consumption potential and…not being in such a country?

I’m a semi-foodie in that I love trying new restaurants, getting together with people to feast, and knowing things about food/dining. I know how much work and consideration good food takes, no matter what cultural heritage produces it. Yes, there are cheap’n nasty versions of most cuisines, but if you want good food, it’s fair enough that you pay for it. On a relative scale, expensive Asian is often still cheaper than expensive European, isn’t it? People complaining that where they’ve just eaten a huge meal in Melbourne is so overpriced compared to that hole-in-the-wall market stall in Penang make me see red. It’s because their attitude sucks. Do these whingers have any idea what goes into prepping and cooking what they’ve just eaten? In general, they don’t seem to acknowledge that Asian restaurants with legit operations have to work under the same conditions as other Australian businesses; same tax, same PAYE, same infrastructural costs. They don’t just exist in a magical state of ‘being cheap’.

My rant isn’t aimed at people who love a good bargain when it comes to eating well; I’m one of those.

It’s aimed at those who presume that Asian food is a ‘rip-off’ if it isn’t dirt cheap. I’m so tired of hearing it.

4 thoughts on “Presuming cheapness

  1. >Rant on Tseen, I am so with you on this one. Actually here in Hawaii, you don't get that attitude. Some of the most expensive and fine food here is Asian – Japanese trad and hybrid, fusion etc. People expect cheap fast food but it might be Western, Hawaiian, Filipino, Chinese. I will ask people here what the expect cheap food to be.

  2. >That's the thing – if they expect all food to be cheap and are generally cheapskates, then I'm not so bothered. The thing is that some ppl expect all ASIAN food to be cheap, but are happy to shell out for 'classier' European cuisine, etc. Totally a cultural hierarchy in play.And the Japanese and Korean food in Hawaii is fab. Am envious that you still get to sample + frolic over there!

  3. >My Indonesian friend is guilty of this. She refuses to eat at Warung Agus (Melbourne restaurant with probably the best Indonesian food you can get anywhere) because it is too expensive, and Indonesian food shouldn't be expensive.Mind you, a typical night at Warung Agus costs not much more than $30 per head, and she'd happily pay that much for Italian food. So that's weird.

  4. >Argh – how did I miss this comment, Chris? Yes, that's the thing. People don't blink about paying $50/head for European cuisine, but if you suggest that for Asian food, you'd get scandalised looks. If you're paying that much, you mustn't know you're being ripped off, apparently.

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