Sunday, 31 January 2016

Creative Food Carts in Causeway Bay

Gregory So (right) seeing what it's like to operate a food truck in Australia
Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah fantasized about Hong Kong having food trucks in the city, and then his colleague, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So Kam-leung estimated it would take HK$600,000 (US$77,102) in start-up costs, and only 12 of them would be in six tourist spots.

As expected the media and the public ridiculed these government officials for being completely out of touch with the concept of food trucks, how they would be regulated, and that the prohibitive costs would result in only big restaurant groups operating them.

One creative food cart served mini egg waffles to customers
So today some creative designers and hawker groups came out to Causeway Bay to show what they could do -- at a fraction of the cost.

It was their way of sending a message to the government to diversify its food truck offerings and lower start-up costs.

There were 10 small hawker carts, serving snacks like mini egg waffles, Chinese pudding and glutinous rice balls covered in desiccated coconut. The carts were added to old bicycles or small vans, with the construction costs ranging from HK$1,500 to HK$100,000 -- well below So's suggestion of HK$600,000.

"The purpose of the show is to demonstrate that cheaper food trucks could also be unique and artistic, while meeting hygiene requirements," said Chan Ka-hing, who designed some of the food carts.

Another designer, Niles Mak, pointed out the smaller carts would be better because they wouldn't block traffic, compared to a regular food truck.
John Tsang was inspired by the movie Chef to have food trucks

So how about it, Mr So and Mr Tsang? Why not encourage local hawkers to set up shop around town and not necessarily tourist-specific sites, and while we're at it, why not help dai pai dong stalls to flourish in the city?

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