FOOD TRUCKS

Hong Kong temple worshippers balk at prices for offerings from food trucks in Wong Tai Sin

Potential customers complain about prices and location of trucks near famous Wong Tai Sin Temple

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2017, 6:27pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2017, 6:37pm

While food trucks on Disneyland’s doorstep experienced a sales boom from novelty-seeking tourists, locals seem unwilling to pay the prices asked for some snacks in one Kowloon residential area.

Around lunch time on Wednesday, dozens of curious locals wandered in front of the two newly launched food trucks in Wong Tai Sin. Many were busy taking photos, but only a few handed over cash to try the delicacies.

Hong Kong’s food trucks scheme leaves operators with a bad taste in the mouth

They said the offerings were a bit pricey – HK$40 for six dumplings and HK$28 for a drink – and there were no seats.

Unlike the popular tourist attractions, the site near Wong Tai Sin was dominated by local worshippers heading for the nearby temple to pray for good fortune at the start of the lunar year.

A local retiree surnamed Guan, 75, decided not to try the popular five-colour dumplings on offer after she found out how much they cost.

Guan said though dumplings were on offer at traditional restaurants for a similar price, customers could at least enjoy a proper restaurant service.

“There is not even a chair to sit on,”the worshipper said.

The location of the two mobile eateries was also a problem.

Pearl Choi, a civil servant, said she would have easily missed the food trucks had she not read about them in the newspaper.

“They were not on the only thoroughfare to the temple,” she said, and there was no conspicuous sign directing people to the food trucks. Visitors would have to make a detour, she added.

Watch: Food trucks gear up for Lunar New Year rollout

But Canadian Chinese Helen Chan, 75, and Frank Chan, 80, were impressed by the variety of the offerings available from the food trucks.

“In Canada, food trucks are more like hot-dog trucks,” Helen Chan said.

To tackle the pricing issue, Conina Mui Lok-man, operator of Ho Yuen Express’ food truck, invited the first 100 customers to recommend a price for its award-winning “super grilled squid” when it launched its service in Wong Tai Sin on Wednesday.

Customers were allowed to taste the signature dish at whatever price they were willing to pay, as long as they filled in a questionnaire.

“At this stage, we want more feedback,” Mui said.