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The 'Michelin curse' comes to Hong Kong

Winning recognition in the annual Michelin Guide is one of the most sought-after honors in the restaurant business. But in Hong Kong, a city plagued by high rents, the accolade may bring unexpected challenges. Just ask the owner of Kai Kai Dessert, which specializes in classic Cantonese desserts like steamed egg pudding, red bean soup with lotus seed, and papaya and white fungus soup.

Chiu Wai Yip, told that just weeks after winning the Michelin honor in November, the shop's landlord more than doubled the rent from HK$100,000 ($12,900; £8,800) to HK$220,000 ($28,378; £19,400) a month. What's more, the landlord wanted to halve the amount of space the eatery currently occupies. "It's really too bad," Mr Chiu says. "After we were recognized by the guide, the owner raised the rent by a huge sum. So, we have no choice but to relocate. We have no other option really." The former British colony, Mr Sun says, is quickly losing its culinary street culture because of high rental costs and rising salaries. According to research rental prices among high street shops in Hong Kong have nearly doubled since the city was handed back to China in 1997.

Source: BBC News
Published: 14 January 2016

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