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Cost of dining out stays high   2010-03-16 - Viet Nam News

Prices for meals at restaurants and small eateries have not dropped since Tet (Lunar New Year), despite lower prices for essential items at groceries and wholesale markets.

Prices rising at traditional markets and decreasing at supermarkets

Post-Tet consumer prices remain high

“It will be a wonder if inflation can be held to 7%”

Nguyen Thanh Ha, deputy director of Thu Duc District's Tam Binh wholesales market, said prices of many essential foods, including fruits, vegetables, chicken, pork and others, had all dropped since Tet, when prices surged.

 
To increase sales after the heavy buying period during Tet, wholesalers had cut prices on rice, sugar, cooking oil, meat, poultry, eggs, processed foods, fruits and vegetables.

But prices at local eateries remain the same. For example, the price of pho, vermicelli and rice at cafes and restaurants in HCM City's District 3 and Phu Nhuan District is VND30,000-VND35,000 per bowl, or even up to VND45,000.

Nguyen Thi Oanh, an owner of an eatery in District 3's Ba Huyen Thanh Quan Street, said she was concerned that the recent drop in prices would be temporary.

"I would not lower the prices until I see that essential food prices are stable," Oanh said.

Some restaurant and cafe owners said if the price of meat, beef, vegetables and others fell by 10-15 per cent, the price of a meal should drop by VND1,000-1,500.

In addition, the price of drinks made from fruit has yet to fall. For example, a glass of carrot or tomato juice is selling for VND20,000 or VND25,000.

Many family-owned shops are also maintaining high prices.

For example, the wholesale price of pork pies has fallen about VND5,000 per kilogramme, but family-owned food shop owners continue to charge high prices.

Nguyen Thanh Cong, owner of a pork-pie processing shop in District 5, said the retail price should be about VND80,000 per kilo.

But at many family-owned shops on Nguyen Thien Thuat and Hai Ba Trung streets in District 3, the retail price of pork pie is as high as VND120,000-140,000 per kilo.

Beef pies are selling for about VND140,000 per kilo and shredded meat for VND135,000 per kilo.

The city People's Committee has asked authorities at the district and ward level to closely review and check the market, and strictly supervise prices at restaurants, eateries and small food shops.



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