$100 Meals: The French Restaurant For Singaporeans Who Can Differentiate Ginger from Galangal

The Chef’s Set Menu at Rhubarb Le Restaurant costs $88. The petite fours are an additional $9. Before tax and service charge.

In total, my meal comes up to $114.17. That eye-watering number has the potential to make me feel like a socialite or a full-fledged socialist. For better or worse, when I leave, I start plotting how to make the pages of Singapore Tatler. Just kidding. What am I, fifty-years-old, with enough botox in my face to kill an entire safari of elephants?

Yes, that amount can pay for an entire week of groceries. 20 luxurious plates of cai png with fish. Feed an underprivileged child for a month, or longer. But unless you live a life of extreme utilitarianism (a la Peter Singer, a moral philosopher who argues that, even if you are hungry, as long as you are less hungry than a starving person, you should pay for their meals), you really have no basis for expressing incredulity over that.

Moreover, as Jay Raynor, famously acerbic food critic of The Observer, has pointed out, the moral outrage against blowing wads of cash on a meal is completely unwarranted and has no ethical basis. People spend hundreds, if not thousands, on BTS concerts, Lululemon sweatpants, arowanas. The profit margins on these products and experiences are much higher than that of a restaurant, yet such forms of gratification never seem as wrong or unnecessary as gastronomic ones.

Therefore, unless you are Peter Singer or a saintly, charitable monk who subsists on gruel, any outcry about the price of the meal stinks of hypocrisy, or its less obnoxious cousin, envy.

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