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May 16, 2023

Meals in restaurants that are listed in the Michelin Guide are getting more expensive in Korea than New York. 

One restaurant in Cheongdam-dong with a Michelin star offers a basic lunch course for W140,000, while a French restaurant with the same rating in Osaka, Japan serves a lunch course for around W65,000 (US$1=W1,299). In New York, a two-course lunch in a famous restaurant costs W75,000. 

| michelin-starred meals cost more in seoul than new york | 2

These are not extreme examples. It is hard to find a restaurant in the upscale areas of Cheongdam-dong, Hanam-dong, Itaewon and Sinsa-dong with a Michelin rating that offers a set lunch for less than W100,000.

One-starred French restaurant in Tokyo serves a five-course lunch for around W81,000, while another eatery in New York with the same rating sells a three-course brunch for W63,000.

The same is true for dinner. One restaurant in New York sells a four-course dinner for W125,000, compared to more than W200,000 here, plus another W150,000 to W200,000 when wine is included.

A set dinner in one restaurant in Gangnam costs W280,000 and W180,000 for wine, which means it costs W740,000 for a couple to dine there.

The main reason seems to be runaway inflation here. On Numbeo, a crowd-sourced database of perceived consumer prices, Korea ranks 19th out of 140 countries when it comes to the cost of living, while the U.S. ranks 16th and Japan 29th. 

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