After nine months of study, the government has unveiled a pilot scheme to allow 12 food trucks to operate at six tourist attractions for two years.

The idea of introducing food trucks in Hong Kong was first mentioned by Financial Secretary John Tsang in his annual budget published in February.

There will be two food trucks operating at each attraction: Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai; Salisbury Garden and Square at the Art Museum at Tsim Sha Tsui; the Central harbourfront; Ocean Park; and Hong Kong Disneyland.

Gregory So (right) visiting a food truck in Australia in August. Photo: Facebook/Greg So.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung said: “The positioning of the pilot scheme is to make Hong Kong’s tourist attractions, including the Central and Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfronts more interesting and energetic.”

“They can give tourists and citizens diversified, creative and quality food choices.”

“Food trucks are required to have high food hygiene standards, and we hope that they can increase and enrich Hong Kong’s food choices, not compete with existing restaurants,” So added.

High cost barrier

Applications to run food trucks will start in the first quarter next year, and the government’s Tourism Commission will set up an office for applicants. It is estimated that it may cost around HK$600,000 to run such a truck.

Applicants will also need to apply for licences from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) and the Transport Department, separately. Currently, there is no law regulating food trucks, so the FEHD will issue licences applying to food factories, and the government will study if new legislation is needed, depending on the effectiveness of the scheme.

So said that representatives of the tourist attractions and food critics will form a committee to screen candidates.

When asked by reporters if it will be too difficult to join the scheme, with the result that corporations may have a monopoly, So said that the main criteria of the screening process will be the creativity and style of the proposed food trucks, and not the amount of funds put in.

So added that the government has studied the operations of food trucks in different countries, and found that some cities also chose to put them in fixed locations.

The government has considered the potential impact of the food trucks on nearby restaurants, he said.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.