Hungry for maw? Fishy HK$1 contest opens annual Hong Kong Food Expo

Popular contest opens annual expo where vendors and gourmands meet

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 August, 2014, 4:29am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 August, 2014, 9:03am

Those with the stomach for queuing could find themselves in the running for a fishy treat at this year's Food Expo as one vendor brings back a popular giveaway.

On Kee Dry Seafood is poised to steal the show for the second year in a row with its fish maw-grabbing contest.

It will invite the first 10 visitors waiting outside the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on opening day to compete in a race to snatch as many pieces of the dried delicacy as they can from a 36kg fish maw mountain - worth some HK$48,000.

Race entry will cost HK$1.

Organised by the Trade Development Council, the annual five-day expo, which has run for a quarter of a century, starts on August 14.

Some 1,160 exhibitors from 26 countries and regions are slated to participate, including 70 from overseas.

Portugal and Bangladesh will be represented for the first time this year.

But many visitors will be focused on an exhibitor from much closer to home.

The 10 participants in On Kee's contest will be divided into two groups, each of which will send two teammates to collect as many fish maws as they can in one minute - from a three-metre tower of them.

Each participant will be awarded fish maws equivalent to the amount collected by their team representatives.

"Since we have expanded our booths from four to six this year, I am expecting a 20 per cent increase in the number of visitors," On Kee managing director Richard Poon Kuen-fai said.

In last year's contest, On Kee gave two of the first 10 visitors a shovel to scoop as many fish maws as they could for a dollar.

A record 410,000 people turned out for last year's expo, which the organisers said was an increase of 5 per cent from the previous year.

This year's expo will include for the first time a show of innovative kitchen appliances called the Home Delights Expo.

It will also include such oddities as Alaska king crab ice cream, available in the haute cuisine-oriented Gourmet Zone. That section drew more than 71,000 visitors last year, or 17 per cent of the total turnout.

"With the incorporation of the Home Delights Expo and an expected increase in the number of exhibitors - to 1,160 from 1,140 last year - it is safe to say that we can expect a higher turnout" than last year, council vice-president Benjamin Chau kai-leung said.

Beyond the vendors and the fish maw race, the expo will include seminars, cooking competitions, parties and demonstrations from celebrity chefs including Ricky Cheung Kam-cheung of Le Mieux.