Thousands flock to food expo for tasty treats

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 August, 2009, 12:00am

Tens of thousands of food lovers flocked to the annual food fair yesterday in search of novel flavours, bargain prices and free samplings.

The Food Expo at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, which is in its 20th year, features a record 607 exhibitors from 24 countries and regions, organiser the Trade Development Council says.

In the exhibition hall, shopping carts, large bags and boxes strapped to trolleys were the most common methods used by eager shoppers.

Queues formed everywhere as retailers tried to woo the crowds with food samples ranging from bean paste, seafood soup to chicken and abalone.

Despites various promotions and discounts on offer, many price-conscious buyers said the goods were not markedly cheaper than those in supermarkets. However, many still chose to do their weekly shopping at the expo.

One housewife said she had nearly spent all her money and was still going round the hall. She said she had spent about HK$2,000 on instant noodles, snacks and mooncakes at the fair.

'Things are not particularly cheap but I like the great assortment of products available here,' she said.

Some came to the fair in the hope of discovering new flavours. One of them, businessman Joseph Chu Hon-cheong, bought two bottles of black truffle sauce at an Italian food booth.

'The flavour of truffles is very special. I'd like to recommend them to my friends running Chinese restaurants and hope they can create more dishes.

'I think Hong Kong, as a cosmopolitan city, needs to be more creative in mixing the East with the West,' he said.

While everyday products such as canned and frozen food were widely available, many others made their debut at the fair.

Yakult, the health drink, added a guava leaf tea to its range, Snowy mooncake maker Tai Pan launched four new flavours this year, featuring popular drinks such as papaya milk, lemon tea and grapefruit tea and catering group Maxim's appealed to shoppers with its new products: banana sundae and Kyoho grape mooncakes.

Wing Wah communications officer Leung Suet-yee said business yesterday was very good, while Wilkin Li Wai-keung, sales executive of Kofco Enterprise, which sells Korean imports, said business on the first day had been moderate and was slightly weaker than last year.

The food fair, which attracted about 310,000 people last year, will be open to the public from 10am to 10pm from today until Sunday, and from 10am to 6pm on Monday.