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Cost of Living



Despite the high cost of housing and education, food is relatively cheap in Beijing - including good-quality food. Of course, there are a lot of five-star places that can quickly deplete your funds, but a meal in a decent restaurant for four people could cost as little as 200 RMB.

If you are brave enough, often the best and cheapest food comes from backstreet restaurants; and often eating out can be less expensive than cooking at home. That said, if you enjoy making a meal in your own kitchen, buying groceries in the fresh market and whipping up something special can cost you next to nothing. Almost anywhere in the world, Chinese food is very reasonably priced. For example, a kilo of fresh tomatoes costs 5 RMB and a kilo of minced beef costs 35 RMB.

For those expats who rely on Western food and rarely eat Chinese, the cost of food will be significantly higher. Many items considered staples in a Western diet do not exist in Chinese eating, like cheese and bread. These types of items will only be available at international supermarkets, like Jenny Lou's, targeting expats. For example, cheese costs around 30 RMB per kilo and cereal, a quintessential non-Chinese product, can be as much as 50 RMB.

Expats do not need to tip in China. Waitresses and waiters receive a monthly salary and are not allowed to take tips.