Will two-dish rice sell in Pacific Place?

August 17, 2022 10:29
Rice with two dishes are thriving amid the pandemic.  Photo: https://varsity.com.cuhk.edu.hk

Swire Properties is not known for being friendly to middle-class merchants. In the past decade, it drove away the beloved Chicago-grill Dan Ryan and British department store Marks & Spencer from its flagship Pacific Place.

But things may start to change because of the pandemic. In its Admiralty headquarter without the presence of Cafe de Coral, Tam Jai noodles and other local fast food chains, tenants are delighted to find an outlet that sells the famous “two-dish rice”.

Nice to see Swire brings in Remedy Me, a new outlet that serves a la-carte Chinese food and salad bar over meal time.

As opposed to the cheap and quick two-dish rice commonly available in Mong Kok and industrial areas such as Kwun Tong and Tsuen Wan, Remedy Me seems to put a special emphasis on health with many Ketogenic and vegetarian offers, thanks to the cooperation with Chinese pharmaceutical Wai Yuen Tong.

With about two-dozen choices, offerings on the its menu include healthy purple yam, lotus root and other stomach-boosting ingredients, black and white fungus, fresh bamboo shoots, soy sauce hericium and fried egg wedges to name a few.

Of course, health comes at a price. A two-dish offer is priced at HK$88, almost double the average cost of a meal at most local fast-food chains. A four-dish offer comes at HK$108, or about the price of nearly three McDonald Combo sets.

Two-dish rice has become a hit in the last two years amid the pandemic. At the heart of it, the two-dish rice offers convenience and affordable food to those who want a quick fill to the stomach, although the food was once described as “only uncle would eat”.

This unique food trend could not have come at a better time as the city had virtually closed the gate to mainland and international visitors unless they agreed to the inhumane quarantine that last as long as three weeks – and only as recent as last week cut down to three days in hotel and four days of homestay.

The economy has been in poor shape - far from being normal - that people would find less comfort in Michelin-star outlets and great comfort in the oily and meaty two-dish rice because it’s the product that witnessed the old and golden period of Hong Kong.

Now the gate of affordable delicacies is open, what about fish ball noodle and da pai dong? Hope Summer Palace and Nicholini's would not complain.

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EJ Insight writer