’Bloody un-Australian’: Menu divides nation

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An iconic Sydney fish and chip shop has gone viral after a loyal customer shared photos of its changing menu for five years. Here’s why it’s causing a stir.

That is, if a series of photos of the menu board at a Sydney takeaway restaurant, and the frenzy they’ve caused, are anything to go by.

The three photos – taken five years, 12 months and two months ago – show the menu board at Great North Seafood, a family business in the western Sydney suburb of Five Dock.

Great North Seafood is a takeaway restaurant in Five Dock. Photo: Georgina Noack

It’s a classic fish and chips menu that has remained the same for five years and still offers the favorites: seafood cooked any way you like, calamari, prawns, chips and scallops, burgers and even Chiko sandwiches.

What has changed, however, is the price of food, which has risen by about 40 percent on average across the board over the past five years – with the prices of some individual items rising by more than 60 percent.

In the past twelve months alone, prices have risen by almost 20 percent.

A customer took a photo of the menu board 5 years ago. Image: Reddit.

Then they took another photo twelve months ago. Image: Reddit.

The price increase on a number of items caused a particular stir: hamburgers (which are 43 percent more expensive than five years ago), the ‘Family Pack’ which now costs $90 (from $68) and the ever-increasing cost of potato chips.

The prices caused many commenters on the viral Reddit thread to reminisce about cheaper times.

“I never thought I would be happy to be alive when it was possible to get $1 in chips,” one person wrote.

“What a beautiful reminder of antiquity.”

“Remember when you could get enough chips to feed the family for (three) dollars?” another wrote.

One person declared the seafood prices were ‘bloody un-Australian’, but a number of people defended the prices given the time between the photos and the much bigger economic picture.

“Have you thought about the fact that this place now pays more rent, more electricity, more gas, more for every food item and more for everything in between,” one defender wrote.

“Should they just keep their prices the same so you can eat junk food as cheaply as you think it costs them to make it?!”

The last photo of the menu was taken 2 months ago. Image: Reddit.

Leang Eng, who took over as owner of Great North Seafood last year after working at the small business for three years, said raising prices was a “very difficult” decision.

“It’s our first year and it’s just a bit tough for us, especially with the prices of everything,” Ms Eng told

“It’s just so hard for us, especially when we’re just starting out – you can’t raise the price right away. Not if you have to add 50 cents or 60 cents (or prices).”

But, she said, because the price of “everything” – from food to electricity, rent and even worker wages – has risen, she had to make changes.

“Some of the fish, the fillets, all the stuff goes up. We have had to increase prices by at least another 10 to 20 percent, on top of the previous increases.”

Ms Eng (pictured) says she has been forced to raise her prices due to rising operating costs. Photo: Georgina Noack

Industry data shows that the price of seafood has increased since 2018, after a slight decline due to the pandemic, partly due to rising demand for the products on our plates.

Data from IBISWorld shows that domestic prices of fish and seafood have risen by at least 4.4 percent this year. It expects prices to rise another 2.7 percent through 2024.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Environment has predicted that the seafood industry will continue to recover from a pandemic slump, significantly driven by strong growth in the cost of salmon, oysters and shrimp.

According to a report from the department, salmon prices increased 37 percent from 2021 to 2022, peaking at $16.35 per kilogram.

In 2017, World Bank data showed that if the average global benchmark for seafood prices was $100, a basket of Australian seafood would cost $163 – a US basket would cost $147.

And as domestic and international demand for high-quality Australian seafood increases, prices have only gotten worse.

Great North Seafood in Five Dock, Sydney has been forced to increase its prices due to rising operating costs. Photo: Georgina Noack

But it’s not the seafood that hurts the most, Ms. Eng said. The costs of chips are ‘hard’ for the company.

“We used to get a box of chips for $30, now it’s $60 or $50 a box,” she said.

It appears to be a hangover from a spud shortage earlier this year, which saw Aussies wanting a chip fix hit with purchase limits and higher costs.

Across the ditch in New Zealand, the cost of the humble pudding rose 48 per cent over the year to July, with local chip shops telling Stuff that supplier costs had risen 10 per cent.

Ms Eng said despite rising costs, the store still had many customers, but with each price increase they became less happy.

“Customers come in and say, ‘It’s that time again?! How often do you have to raise prices?,” she said.

“But they never know how hard we try not to raise the price, but we have to.”

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