The price on Chinese New Year's Eve dinner, or nianyefan, is expected to increase by five to 10 percent this year due to higher vegetable prices, the Shanghai Restaurants Association reports.
The price of meals in restaurants, which are so popular tables have to be booked months in advance, will jump by about 100 yuan (US$12.50) per table, while hotel meals will be about 200 yuan per table more expensive than last year, the association said.
More than 100,000 people are expected to dine out on Chinese New Year's Eve, up 10 percent year-on-year, the association estimated based on the current reservations. The lunar New Year's Eve falls on February 17 this year.
Most large restaurants and hotels in the city say their tables are already fully booked for nianyefan, but some are taking reservations for late seating.
Dexing Restaurant, an old eatery featuring Shanghai-style dishes, said it will charge 1,680 yuan for a table of 10, about 100 yuan more than last year. Some of the dishes will be different, however.
The price increase is mainly caused by higher prices for agricultural products, as well as the cost increase for transport and manpower over the holiday, said Xia Xiangqing, a market director for the association. He noted, however, that some eateries are simply raising prices to increase profits from the busy night.
The Shanghai Vegetable Group estimates that about 2,600 tons of vegetables will be sold in the city every day during the holiday. The average vegetable price is expected to rise by 10 percent at most over the holiday, said Lu Yongbiao, an official with the group.
The price of rice, flour and sugar will remain stable, he said.
"I can accept the price increase since it is too tiring to prepare nianyefan at home. But I hope the dish quality and service can be improved," said Zhang Jie, who has booked a table early.
(Shanghai Daily January 25, 2007)