Bargain hunters battled it out this morning for thousands of dollars worth of fish maw, a Chinese delicacy, after queuing all day and night for the opening of one Asia’s biggest food fairs in Hong Kong. On the first day of the five-day Food Expo at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai, two intrepid visitors held off a teeming queue for a race organised by On Kee Dry Seafood to grab up to HK$48,000 worth of the dried delicacy from a 36kg fish maw mountain. After some frenzied grabbing the pair managed to bag about HK$2,000 of maw each – not bad for a HK$1 race entry fee. “I have been waiting outside the exhibition centre since 11am yesterday in order to beat every one to be first in the line. I have snatched away more pieces of fish maw than I did last year,” two-time competitor Tang Kin-man said triumphantly. At the same time, a race organised by Fei Fah Novelty Food was raging with three visitors sprinting to its booth to snatch as many plastic mooncakes as possible from a mooncake tower in 30 seconds. Unbeknownst to the heroic competitors, whoever bagged the single pink mooncake hidden in the tower of treats would receive a free box of Malaysian durian mooncake every year. This year’s expo, which is running concurrently with the popular International Tea Fair and the Chinese Medicine and Health Products exhibition, has attracted 1,160 exhibitors from 26 countries and regions. “I am planning to spend about HK$1,000 on health products and Chinese medicinal herbs because you can find a greater variety of them and their quality is guaranteed,” visitor Tsang Lang-oi said. 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.