Fishball lovers launch snack attack on stall that refuses to stick to convention

Stall refuses to stick to convention when it comes to portions, and netizens aren't amused

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 February, 2014, 4:33am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 February, 2014, 4:33am

Want a snack of five curry fishballs on a stick?

Sorry, you'll have to be happy with 28 in a bowl for HK$40 at one Mong Kok stall.

While that may sound like a bargain, it's not what most Hongkongers expect when snack hunting.

Your average stick of fishballs costs about HK$10.

One snack fan's distaste for the choices on offer at the stall opposite Langham Place shopping mall caused a storm when he put his thoughts online.

Apart from the HK$40 fishballs, a bowl of assorted marinated ox organs costs HK$50, while fried eggplant and tofu sells for HK$30.

The portions are generous but tourists and locals alike were not happy. "I just wanted a stickful of ox organs - I didn't expect her to ask for HK$50," mainland tourist Wang Ping said. "I thought it would cost only five bucks."

She and a friend walked away in disgust at having to pay for more than they wanted.

One attempt by the Post to buy some fishballs resulted in a bowl of 28 of the morsels being handed over for HK$40. The next time, in the glare of a photographer's flash, the woman wanted just HK$20 for the same portion.

While the Post was treated to 28 fishballs, another newshound said he had scored 39 pieces for HK$40.

On Golden Forum, people posted complaints of being treated rudely when they challenged the price. "She told me to go away if I wasn't willing to pay," one said. But other users had more luck when they asked for smaller portions.

The staff wouldn't discuss the prices, saying their boss was not there.

According to economist Kwan Cheuk-chiu, selling large quantities of cheap snacks helps generate healthier returns.

"They might be criticised but if people won't buy it, they will have to revert to selling by the stick," he said.

Centaline senior associate research director Wong Leung-sing said the rent did not seem to be a factor behind the pricing.

He said rents in tourist areas had actually stabilised as a result of a slowing in the number of mainland visitors.