onsdag, september 08, 2010

Taipei teppanyaki: Purchasing power and quality of life

The price/quality ratio of food in Taiwan must rank among the world's top. A recent excellent 'light' lunch at a teppanyaki restaurant in Taipei was food for thought.

The meal started off with a salad, then a garlic bread with soup. Followed by fish, king prawn, mushrooms and broccoli - then the mains of two juicy slices of sirloin. Add a plate of bean sprouts and finish off with the dessert of fruits and "lapper" (no clue what is the English word for this pancake/waffle hybrid also popular in Norway). And yes, the after meal milk tea. Impeccable service and presentation all for £10, other places will sport versions with less items for as low as £5.

Enjoying this quality offering brought out thoughts on what money can get you in Taipei compared to London. Naturally a Londoner can count on a higher income after tax. However, what will those extra pounds actually buy? The average citizen of Taipei can enjoy a much cheaper AND better diet, not least in terms of quality and healthiness. In addition to restaurants, also housing is vastly cheaper and frequently more modern. In short, the local purchasing power for a person in Taipei is greater than that of the Londoner.

Verifying this on the useful Numbeo site provides interesting results. The local purchasing power of a Londoner is indeed 22% lower. A huge part of this is of course due to the certifiable insane rental prices in London, but also aspects like local transportation costs being six (!) times higher must make a dent. It gets worse when you consider the decrepit state of the stuffy London Underground with frequent delays and cancellations compared with the super clean, air-conditioned MRT (Mass Rapid Transportation) in Taipei.

So is life in the west then, still the best? Maybe not, but there are of course other more intangible features of London to which Taipei cannot aspire. London will always remain the more cosmopolitan metropolis with a world class cultural scene, for one.