Stock moves, prices stay same

GETTING lost is an everyday event for Bill Li. It happened recently when the general manager was hunting for samples of marzipan cake.

''They were right here, I thought,'' said Li, pointing to a vacant area between the cartons of shampoo and mouthwash. When his eagle eye finally spotted the table of imported sweets, he sprinted over for a quick bite.

''It happens every time a container load of merchandise arrives,'' apologised the general manager of Everything's $10. ''The floor plan changes.'' This mecca of bargains is located in Tuen Mun Town Plaza. Li's fiefdom sprawls over 18,000 sq ft and boasts an inventory of 20,000 different items, all priced identically.

''Everything's $10'' heralds a merchandising concept new to Hongkong of uniform pricing. This retail store, which opened in August, is a joint venture between Genuine Ocean (Holdings) Co Ltd, and Everything $1, the Milwaukee-based company with 400 storesacross the United States.

Though the merchandise comes from all over the world, Americans especially will feel at home with brand names such as Breck shampoo, Max Factor, Keebler crackers, Ralson's Chex Mix.

Target customers are housewives and children as evidenced by the array of children's toys, school supplies and party supplies, snack foods.

Stock rotates constantly. ''Shopping this way is quick, easy and fun,'' said Li. A second store is scheduled to open around July in Kowloon City Plaza. NOODLES, anyone? Bring your ear plugs as well as your appetite to the Noodle and Curry Bar in the Century Hotel, Wan Chai.

Designed for speed and convenience, the 10-seat counter is wide enough to hold a tabloid or two paperbacks.

The menu offers five types of noodles (Vietnamese, Singaporean, wonton, Indonesian and Japanese) and a curry (chicken, beef, lamb, seafood, vegetable). Prices range from $30 to $64.

Come hungry. The portions are ample and orders arrive on handsome lacquer trays. On a recent visit the Singapore noodles got rave reviews while the chicken curry delivered a punch but fell short on richness. The waiter was more generous with attention than the cook who doled out the boiled rice with the curry.

A bit imposing is the din from the adjacent dining room. The gentle sounds of the trio's acoustic guitars were blotted out by the clatter of ravenous vultures hovering around the dinner buffet table.

Noodle and Curry Bar, first floor, Century Hotel. Hours: Daily from 11 am to 1 am. HONGKONG'S java jolt continues. Pacific Coffee Company just opened on the ground floor of the Bank of America Tower. Coffee devotees are getting some strong competition from chocolate-lovers, who have discovered the bowls of condiments: the caffe latte (Italy's industrial-strength version of cafe au lait) needs freshly grated white chocolate or bittersweet. It's pretty gutsy nude.

Served in a glass tumbler, caffe latte ($30) is a reason to take a load off your feet and have a seat.

Pacific Coffee Company. Tel: 810-4816. Hours: 7.30am-6.30pm, Monday-Saturday.