Portuguese shun Chinese shops and restaurants

 In Business, News, Restaurants, Tourism, Trade

Worsening relations between China and the western world and the perception that Covid-19 is a Chinese flu among the general public is having a catastrophic effect on Portugal’s local 30,000 strong Chinese community, particularly Chinese restaurants.

Chinese restaurants are suffering more falls in custom than other restaurants due to the stigma associated with Chinese products because China is being blamed for causing the coronavirus outbreak either from wet markets in Wuhan or people believing it was accidentally released from or even biologically engineered in labs.
Another factor has been the drop off in the number of tourists from Asia snd the Far East visiting Portugal because of the pandemic and interruptions in flights.
“Lot of people, and wrongly, often make a link between China and the coronavirus pandemic and Chinese food and products sold in Portugal, either because of a lack of information, or out of fear, or because they are not well informed,” says Daniel Serra, the President of Portugal’s National Restaurants Association – PRO.VAR in an interview with Jornal Económico.
“They think they could end up getting infected by going to a Chinese restaurant, which obviously isn’t true. These restaurants are as a safe as any others, providing they comply with the health and hygiene and social distancing rules, and this (irrational) fear has only made the economic problems even worse,” he says.
The President of the Chinese League in Portugal, Y Ping Chow, who owns the famous Chinese restaurant King Long in Porto and is also the President of the Portugal-Chinese Chamber of Commerce for SMEs told Lusa that Chinese restaurant owners are suffering falls in turnover of 50%-60% both in restaurant dining and take-away, particularly because they rely on Asian customers who have stopped travelling to Europe.
In Porto, the owner of the King Long restaurant which has been a well-known fixture for 45 years, said that the fall in customers has also involved regular Portuguese diners who are also feeling the economic pinch and reducing the number of times they eat out.
“They are opting for low-price restaurants, which isn’t to say that Chinese restaurants are expensive, but aren’t for everyday eating,” admits Y. Ping Chow.