Food the big attraction for overseas Chinese, poll finds

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 August, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 August, 2003, 12:00am

The harbour and shopping are close behind, but culture, horse racing, tea and colonial sights fail to make the top 10

Food is Hong Kong's most charming asset, with Victoria Harbour and shopping not far behind, according to Chinese voters from around the world.

More than 50,000 Chinese people from the mainland, Malaysia, Britain, Singapore and Australia took part in the 'Charms of the World City - Hong Kong' poll organised by RTHK's Putonghua channel and Wen Wei Pao.

Voters were asked to pick their 10 favourite attractions from a list of 20. Food came out top with 38,520 votes.

'You can go anywhere and to any restaurant [for good food] in Hong Kong,' Secretary for Economic Development and Labour Stephen Ip Shu-kwan said yesterday at the award ceremony.

'My favourites are wonton and fish-ball noodles, going for yum cha for dim-sums, or to Lei Yue Mun and Sai Kung for seafood,' he said.

The poll, carried out from June 27 to July 12, aimed to get a clearer picture of what Chinese people world-wide liked about Hong Kong and to remind them of the city's unique attractions, said an RTHK spokesperson.

Voters found out about the poll via their local Chinese language radio stations, and could cast their votes by writing or via the internet.

Victoria Harbour and shopping came second and third in the poll. Other favourites included the city's architecture, the Peak and Ocean Park. Those not making the top 10 included horse-racing, art and culture, eco-tourism, tea-drinking and colonial sights.

A wide selection of guests of all ages - from tycoons, government officials to singers and pop stars - were at the half-hour award ceremony at RTHK's headquarters in Broadcast Drive.

The director of the East Ocean Seafood Restaurant group, Chung Kam, donning a white chef's hat and uniform, wheeled a giant lobster onto the stage before announcing that food was Hong Kong's most popular charm.

A man-sized Whiskers the seal, wearing a blue and white sailor's shirt, flapped his fins excitedly as singer Alex Fong Lik-sun revealed that Whiskers' home - Ocean Park - had made it into the top 10.

Chow Tai Fook Jewellery director Ho Pak-tao said that as the pearl of the Orient, Hong Kong was full of stunning buildings and landmarks, with some of his favourites being the Bank of China building and the Big Buddha on Lantau.

Visiting from Taiwan, singing duo 2R said that seeing the Tsing Ma Bridge on their way to and from the airport had left deep impressions on their minds.

Clara Chong, executive-director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said shopping was a must-do activity for all tourists.

She suggested that the perfect gift for arriving visitors would be a big shopping bag and the board's 'Welcome Passport', which contains a range of special offers at shops, restaurants and tourist attractions.