Sunday, March 14, 2010

HK Food Prices

Lately, I've been missing Hong Kong quite a lot. I feel done with studying and I'm ready to go back to Asia and have more fun. When I was in Hong Kong, after the first two months I felt like I had enough fun and was ready to go back to my family, friends, and Popeyes in the U.S. It's that classic saying.... you want what you can't have. A Sourdough Jack seemed much more appetizing when I was 8000 miles away from the nearest one. After the first couple months away or back, you don't really notice much of a difference in the culture. You start adapting and differences become less of a surprise. When people ask you "what are some differences between U.S. and Hong Kong?" I really have to sit and think about it; it doesn't come to my mind right away. When the Hong Kong exchange students first arrived to Austin,TX they encountered many culture shocks that had me LOL-ing till dawn.

I failed to mention to them that the service industry works different in the U.S. In Hong Kong, there isn't a sales tax and service charges are included in the price. Therefore, when a food item is listed as $60 HKD (~$7.7 USD) it really means just $60 HKD. So the HK exchange tell me a story about their first meal in Austin in a local pizzeria called Mellow Mushroom located on the drag (Guadalupe St.)...

"The other day we went to a pizza restaurant on Guadalupe St (they didn't call it the drag, indicating their out-group status) and there was a sign that said $6 for pizza. The restaurant hates us. We saw a handicap man and didn't know we were suppose to help him until a worker said something. Then our bill came and they charged us $6.50 for each pizzal!  Can you believe that? They tried to rip us off! The sign said $6 for a pizza! Then the waitress seem so upset with us when we left. They gave the wrong price and then was angry with the amount we paid. They are really trying to take advantage of non-locals"

After I stopped rolling with laughter. I explained to them that we have sales tax and you are expected to pay at least a 15% tip since that is how waiters made their living. I told them that the waitress was probably upset because they didn't tip her. I loved HK prices. They were already cheap as is with the service charge already included. I didn't think about the reversal. They probably think U.S prices are expensive and outrageous with tax and tip!

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