Unveiling the Mysteries of Japanese Dining: Affordable Eats and Economic Strategies

One thing I noticed during my trip to Japan is that in 2024, the minimum hourly wage is 1000 Japanese yen, equivalent to 32 Malaysian ringgit. If you’re short on cash, you can find the cheapest food at “Matsuya” or “Yoshinoya,” where you can get a satisfying meal for about 500 Japanese yen, including a bowl of rice, simmered beef slices, eggs, miso soup, and pickled vegetables. If you don’t want to eat too frugally but also don’t want to spend a lot, an average meal at a regular restaurant costs around 1000 Japanese yen and can be quite nutritious, or even quite abundant!

The image shows a hearty dinner for 1000 Japanese yen (32 Malaysian ringgit). It includes a large plate of sashimi, a large bowl of rice, tofu, mushroom miso soup, and a large bowl of cabbage salad, among other things. Speaking of which, the minimum wage in Malaysia is 50 ringgit a day, and an average meal costs around 10 ringgit, with not much food served, and the prices of food keep increasing year by year, with the portions possibly getting smaller.

I’m curious—are these Japanese restaurants located in the city center? Are their rents not high, or is their strategy to operate on thin margins but high volume? However, with so much meat in a meal, are their costs really low? Even if I don’t choose seafood at other restaurants, they still serve a lot of meat. Looking at it from another angle, can you really get so much food for 32 Malaysian ringgit today in Malaysia? Just yesterday, I had a very ordinary fish soup noodles with a friend, and it already cost between 14 to 20 ringgit per bowl.