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Hong Kong (City) - Shopping

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Eating out is a common feature of Hong Kong living. A large percentage of the population do not regularly cook at home. In addition, due to the size of apartments, many people do not entertain in their homes. Traditionally, most residents would shop for fresh produce at the local market. It is still possible to find such markets in many neighborhoods. Expect no one to speak much English at these markets.

While Hong Kong can boast a great choice for mobile phones, the same cannot be said of the state of supermarkets in Hong Kong. There are two main supermarket players – Wellcome and Park N Shop. Both are stacked with fresh produce from mainland China, Taiwan and the like, but most are not large, due to the high rents, hence selection can be limited. You can get most of your basics here.

However, if you are looking for exotic ingredients, you will need to visit one of Hong Kong's upscale supermarkets. There are several options, such specializing in a particular niche. Most have a bakery that offers fresh pastries for the working professional. The best summary of upscale supermarkets, locations and photographs can be found at www.hongkonghustle.com. Note to Jamie: this is a personal blog, but offers the most comprehensive listings of upscale supermarkets I have seen. Plus there are photos. Is this link acceptable for your purposes?

Part and parcel of Hong Kong living is dining out. Here are some common Cantonese phrases used in dining that would come in handy.

"Cha Chaan Teng" is a Chinese restaurant that serves a range of Cantonese dishes, from noodles to rice, meat and vegetable dishes. Usually, a number of dishes are ordered and shared. The term "Wok Hei" refers to a cooking technique used frequently in Cantonese cuisine that literally means "flavor from a hot wok". "Yum Cha" literally means to "drink tea", and in Hong Kong, to "yum cha" usually means to partake in a dim sum meal – a series of dishes served in small portions. Dim sum is similar to Spanish tapas, except Chinese tea is drunk with the meal, rather than alcohol. A dim sum meal will consist of many dishes, from cold meats, warm soups, steamed dumplings, buns (char siew pau – BBQ pork - is exceedingly popular), and even desserts. In some restaurants, instead of menus, servers move around pushing carts, so that you can point at what you want. Many Hong Kong families sit down for a dim sum meal on weekends to catch up.

The Hong Kong Consumer Council (Complaints and Advice Division, Consumer Council, Room 1410, 14/F, Kodak House II, 39 Healthy Street East, North Point, Hong Kong; Tel: 2929 2222; website www.consumer.org.hk) protects and promote consumer interests. You may wish to seek advice if you have any complaints or questions about consumer goods and services in Hong Kong.

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