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Asia Minute: Hong Kong Food Trucks Roll into Challenges

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

It’s been about a month since food trucks were introduced to Hong Kong. And while those trucks are popular in many spots around these islands, in Hong Kong it’s a bit more complicated. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


Food trucks in Hong Kong are rolling into a mixed record in their first month of operations.

This has been something the government’s been talking about for a long time—and finally proposed a two year pilot program in the 2015 budget.  Plans were approved to grant 16 licenses and last year nearly 200 individuals and companies applied for those 16 licenses.

There was a selection process—a cook-off among finalists, much television coverage and colorful celebrations for the winners.

This past Friday, one of the successful applicants gave up his license—saying it no longer made business sense.  And many of the ones still in operation are struggling with many regulations, and sometimes not so many customers.

Official government statistics quoted by local media show one of the more popular spots on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong Harbor gets more than 500 customers a day.  But the winner of a coveted waterfront spot in Hong Kong Island’s business district of Central is only drawing about a hundred a day.

The South China Morning Post produced a scathing review of the trucks at the end of the week—calling the food “bland, overpriced and hard to eat.”

The sub headline proclaimed “High Prices, some uninspired dishes and poor locations—Hong Kong’s first food trucks fall short of expectations.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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