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Rising rent, worker shortage threaten rich Asia food culture

Published on Apr 28, 2014 2:12 PM

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG (Reuters) - The Hong Kong Jin Tian Eating House in Singapore has stopped selling the savoury roast duck and pork ribs that drew crowds for a generation, the latest to close down due to escalating rents and difficulty in finding workers.

The eatery run by Yip Chan Yuk Ying, a Hong Kong-born Singapore citizen, shut its doors on Monday after its landlord jacked up its monthly rent by 46 per cent to $12,000 from $8,200.

"There doesn't seem to be any control in the rise of rent and local workers are very hard to get," said Yip, 56, who has been in the food business for more than 20 years. "I don't really have any plans on what to do next."

Singapore has been tightening restrictions, such as by increasing government levies and minimum wages, on hiring foreign workers after a backlash from voters concerned about overcrowding and competition for jobs.

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