Casually leaning against the wall, Ken Chen watches over two carts and several bags full of biscuits, frozen dumplings and seaweed. He is also waiting for his wife to return with more goods. Although she holds the purse strings in the household, she is now busy loosening them. 'We spent HK$1,000 so far together, but I think my wife has already spent much more [on her own],' said the car mechanic from Yuen Long. Chen was one of 382,000 visitors who shopped for and sampled food from 19 countries and multiple regions at this year's Hong Kong Trade Development Council Food Expo at the Convention and Exhibition Centre. The event, which ended last night after five days, attracted 3 per cent more visitors than last year. As it was the last day, most of the 900 exhibitors slashed their prices, and thousands of people came with bags, carts and even suitcases to stock up on everything from ground coffee to mooncakes. Dried abalone, normally priced at HK$5,600 for 500g was discounted by 50 per cent, while two packs of four steamed buns cost HK$10, instead of HK$14 for one. Phillis Man, a housewife from the New Territories, chose to come on the last day because she already knew what she wanted and how much she wanted to spend. 'I came here for items that cannot be found in normal supermarkets or are usually too expensive,' she said, filling two suitcases with biscuits, coffee, peanuts, crabs and seaweed. A primary school teacher from Kowloon bought HK$1,500 worth of Chinese traditional medicine. She estimated she spent a total of HK$3,000 on her first visit to the expo. Most exhibitors were satisfied with this year's show. 'In the Trade Zone, we made 1,360 business contacts, which was slightly better than our expectations,' said Tomohiro Ando, the director of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and food business promotion division at the Japan External Trade Organisation, which co-organised the Japanese pavilion. With more than 160 exhibitors, the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster-hit country sent its largest-ever group of participants in order to restore people's faith in food coming from Japan. 'It is remarkable that our exhibitors sold their products so well, even under such difficult conditions,' Ando said, referring to worries about the fallout from the damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima. 'This shows that Hong Kong people still love Japanese food. We found it very encouraging.'