ASIA’S NEW MOBILE FOOD EXPERIENCE: TOURISTS AND ENTREPRENEURS BUZZING FROM HONG KONG MEALS ON WHEELS VENTURE
A brand new culinary experience has hit the streets in Asia. Sixteen food trucks have wheeled into Hong Kong for the first time ever - delighting diners with a menu of intriguing local street food delicacies and western classics, all with an innovative twist.
Pineapple buns, dragon fruit bowls, multi-coloured dumplings, and beef brisket, among many more delicious dishes – mean locals and tourists alike are in for a treat as they indulge in these mouth-watering meals on wheels.
The initiative is designed to help a new wave of start-up chefs in Asia who are hungry for success. The food trucks give these entrepreneurs an opportunity to achieve their culinary aspirations and reach international audiences, without the worry of excessive set up costs.
“It’s a big opportunity for me as a chef, as a restaurant owner to promote our food all over Hong Kong, to all the hotspot locations to attract international tourists even the local people, just to promote the local food in a meaningful way, in a creative way. And I think it is also very fun and it’s new and it’s exciting,” says neighbourhood restaurant owner, Conina Mui, who runs the Ho Yuen Express food truck.
And Carrie Lam, owner of the Pineapple Canteen food truck, says the scheme has given her small enterprise an enormous boost, “Business is so good - normally in the weekdays we sell five hundred to six hundred signature dishes. On the weekends we almost sell a thousand pieces of our signature dishes. I would say if you talk about the business opportunity the business is quite ok.”
There was stiff competition for the 16 food truck licences. Applications from 192 aspiring food truck owners were whittled down to 51 who were invited to take part in a hotly-contested cook-off competition. The final sixteen were selected by a panel of government representatives, tourism officials and local celebrity chefs.
Hong Kong celebrity food expert and panellist Kit Mak says each of the selected 16 chefs brought unique culinary innovation to the table, “I was so impressed; they have their own creativity put inside the food. And at the same time they are practical because this is a business – you have to be real, you have to be practical. And also, some of them they have special stories they put inside the food.”
The food trucks will enhance tourists’ enjoyment of the diversity of Hong Kong cuisine by making it readily accessible as they discover the city. Over the next two years, the trucks will rotate between eight visitor hotspots. This means visitors can sample the unique food truck offerings at the same time as they’re exploring the city’s must-see attractions such as Wong Tai Sin Square, Central Harbourfront, Salisbury Garden and Hong Kong Disneyland. And they can keep track of where their favourite food trucks are located through the HK Food Truck app.
“I think the food truck really helps enrich the food culture and bring diversity to the market because the 16 trucks rotate through 8 tourist locations and that means we get exposure to a lot of tourists from different places who might want a snack after they’ve seen a tourist attraction and because we rotate all the time different people will get different things to try out,” says Angela Huang, owner of the Princess Kitchen food truck.