WHEN it comes to value for money, nothing in Tai Po can rival the deals offered in the canteen at the Morning Post Centre. The average lunch tab is $18; and dinner $20, according to a spokesman for Gardner Merchant, the firm that runs the fifth-floor facility. The 160-seat canteen was designed with an eye to light and space. Windows and terraces enable the diner to eat outside or gaze at Tolo Harbour. With turquoise and straw-coloured furnishings and chairs with sculpted backs, the sense of space impresses. Seven cooks provide 500 meals a day. Every month there are ethnic food promotions such as Thai or Singaporean food. The idea is to create something other than a traditional canteen. A new addition is the coffee machine from Pacific Coffee Company in Quarry Bay. The coffee firm trained several employees to operate the espresso and cappuccino machine. More than 100 cups are sold daily. And caffe latte and cappuccino comprise 80 per cent of the sales. Overseeing the Western kitchen is Janet Cooper, who worked for Gardner Merchant in England. For any diner with a sweet tooth, Ms Cooper is a temptress: her desserts are very popular. Bakewell tart. Apple pie. Treacle tart. Rice pudding with apricot sauce. Lemon roll. Chocolate cake dripping with vanilla cream sauce. Scones. A professional caterer from Swindon, England, Ms Cooper and her husband arrived in Hong Kong six months ago. He is on a contract with a Japanese construction company. Cooking for the staff of a newspaper is different from preparing food in the boarding school in Bath where Ms Cooper did 600 lunches, 250 breakfasts and 500 suppers seven days a week. She works with three cooks here - Daniel, Ben and Leung. 'Daniel enjoys baking and displaying food. Leung takes care of breakfast and Ben sets up the eight-item salad bar. 'He's devising a menu of low-calorie meals,' she said. 'That was a request from some of the Chinese women.' She described the kitchen as a joy to work in due to the amount of space and the new equipment. Her favourite piece of equipment is the Convotherm, a combination oven that cooks, steams and bakes. 'It's brilliant.' Elsewhere, there is no better seafood palace than Luen Yick Seafood House, a bare-bones haven in Sam Mun Tsai village. Simon Wong's Chung Shing Thai restaurant by Plover Cove in Tai Mei Tuk village can rival any Thai restaurant in Hong Kong. The Shalimar, one of six Indian restaurants in the area, moved to Tai Po from Causeway Bay more than two years ago.