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US$1.40 buffet in China hurt by viral fame as diners steal and waste food

People & CultureSocial Welfare

Popular US$1.40 buffet in China may close after nearly 10 years as new diners lured by viral videos steal and waste food

Modest buffet in China caught national attention in August when a blogger posted viral videos of eatery online but owner says she now faces ruinHumble outdoor establishment offers honesty-based voluntary pay system for the 35 dishes available, such as roast duck and chopped pepper fish headTrending in ChinaYating Yangin BeijingPublished: 6:00pm, 18 Sep, 2023Why you can trust SCMP

A 10-yuan (US$1.40) buffet eatery in China that shot to fame online last month has revealed the resulting surge in business has caused chaos, and its owner considering closing down.

In August, the modest outdoor restaurant in Hefei, Anhui province, eastern China, attracted widespread attention on mainland social media after an online blogger posted a series of videos on the buffet called “Hefei North City 10-Yuan Meal Box”.

The humble establishment offers a 10-yuan buffet featuring 35 dishes, ranging from roast duck and chopped pepper fish head to braised pork and chicken pieces, with customers allowed to refill their plates as much as they want.

Owner Wang Rongya, affectionately known as the “10-yuan lunch box lady” online, and her husband have run the buffet for nine years, primarily catering to migrant construction workers, with their profits coming from a high volume of customers.

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