Beijing Dumpling Restaurant Keeps Prices Low

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Inflation in China hit a 28-month high in November. Rising commodity prices have hit consumers hard. But one restaurant owner in Beijing has promised his customers that he will not raise his prices this year.

25-year-old entrepreneur Wang Han owns and operates a dumpling restaurant in southwest Beijing. But this year, rising vegetable prices, the main driver behind China's inflation, are eating into Wang's profits.

[Ye Shaoxia, Vegetable Vendor]:
"It's because of the weather, this year's winter freeze in the south, so there are fewer vegetables and they are more expensive."

Last November consumer prices in China rose to a 28-month high. In December the inflation rate slowed somewhat, but official figures show that produce prices have risen again since the start of 2011.

Wang says since his restaurant opened three years ago, the cost of vegetables has almost doubled.

[Wang Han, Dumpling Restaurant Owner]:
"Chinese chives have the most fluctuating price. A few days ago I bought them for 1.8 yuan [per 500 grams], or they might be 1.8 yuan today, and then 2.5 [yuan] tomorrow and then the day after that 3.2 [yuan]. It's always jumping between these prices. It's like playing the stock market."

Wang's restaurant specializes in pan-fried dumplings with different meat and vegetable fillings. They go for about $3 U.S. dollars a plate.

He has promised his customers he won't raise his prices this year, but his pocket is feeling the pinch.

Dumplings are a popular food during the freezing Beijing winter, and a traditional food for the Chinese New Year, which starts on February 3rd this year.

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