Date
27 July 2017
Tsui Wah has started to charge HK$21 for a cup of milk tea (inset). The buttered toast buns cost extra. Photo: HKEJ
Tsui Wah has started to charge HK$21 for a cup of milk tea (inset). The buttered toast buns cost extra. Photo: HKEJ

Inflation on the menu as milk tea hits HK$21 a cup

It seems like only yesterday — well, no more than seven years ago — that you could get an English-style breakfast, complete with a cup of hot milk tea, at a family restaurant like Yeh Lam Kwok for HK$20 (US$2.58). 

Today, you’ll have to pay more than that for the cup of tea alone at the cha chaan teng in Central operated by the rival Tsui Wah Restaurant (01314.HK) chain.

The price of hot milk tea there has jumped 10.5 percent to HK$21, nearly twice the price of a cup at major fast-food restaurant chains, Skypost reported Tuesday.

The report said Tsui Wah and competing chains Cafe de Coral (00341.HK) and Maxim’s MX have raised their food prices over the last two months. 

A Tsui Wah representative said menu prices were updated May 15 as part of an annual review, which could include the addition of new dishes.

Chow Hon-man, a 30-year milk tea veteran and winner of a milk-tea-making championship, said a cup of the smooth beverage invented in Hong Kong costs less than HK$3.50 to make.

It is skyrocketing rents and soaring wages that have driven prices up, Chow said.

Even fast-food restaurants need to pay a beverage master up to HK$19,000 a month to stay in the job, he said.

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