When Financial Secretary John Tsang first mentioned the food truck concept as a way to attract tourists, it quickly became the talk of the town.
But is a food truck truly a good idea for Hong Kong?
Legislative councilor Chan Yuen-han believes it depends on the details and how the idea will be implemented.
For instance, how is a food truck different from a hawker stall? Do we have to amend the law to allow for food trucks?
Is this about drawing tourists, or is it about helping caterers deal with high rental costs?
Chan is concerned that food truck licenses will end up in the hands of big restaurant groups.
That makes the choice of a regulator or government administrator of the food truck business critically important.
In Legco last week, Chan wanted to know if Tsang himself would spearhead the initiative.
In reply, Tsang said Gregory So, secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, will be responsible for the project.
However, Chan said she got a different answer when she asked So, whom she claimed to have told her it’s none of his business.
The food truck program involves coordination among different government departments but the above conversation shows lack of communication.
Also, there is a lot of confusion about what sort of food these trucks are going to sell.
Tsang has said the government welcomes food trucks that sell street foods such as fish ball and bovine offal but sources close to the government have said that the food trucks will mainly serve the mid-range market.
People in the industry, however, are quite excited about the possibility.
Wong Ka-wo, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, said he is interested in operating a food truck.
He estimated the cost of modifying a truck at about HK$500,000, significantly less than rental cost, according to Apple Daily.
Some foreign tourists couldn’t care less about the idea if it’s merely copied from other places.
But a tourist from Britain told Apple Daily that he has seen enough food trucks that sell pizza and hot dogs and would be happy to try something different.
A mainlander, surnamed Chiu, can’t wait to see milk tea and pineapple bun being hawked out of these food trucks.
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