Chances are high that if you are ordering Chinese food outside of Manhattan Chinatown, Elmhurst, Flushing, or other areas that are known for their Chinese food that you will be paying a premium for what could be subpar or passable Chinese food. I recently discovered a Sichuanese Chinese restaurant in the heart of the theater district that is supposed to have relatively authentic dishes, just at much higher prices. All of the seafood dishes are in the mid-20s, and even the Chinese pea shoots, the most coveted and delicate Chinese vegetable, are $20.
“$20 for pea shoots?” Chris exclaimed. “That’s insane!”
Well, it’s two things: pea shoots are already pricey when you buy them at the Chinese market. At their peak, they could go for $8/pound, and in the average Chinese restaurant, they would probably cost $15-16? And then second part is that this restaurant is located in a non-Chinese area, so they can charge a premium for this.
The other thing I think is a bit unfair is that everyone tends to assume that vegetables should be cheap when compared to meat. Fresh, in-season produce is usually not as expensive, yes, but I do not think we should be cheapening vegetables in the way that people oftentimes assume Chinese or Indian food should be cheaper than say, Italian or French food. That then diminishes the value of these foods in our life.