Some find tasting ban at Food Expo hard to swallow

Visitors who flocked to the Food Expo on its opening day had mixed views towards a ban on sample tastings this year, with some calling it disappointing and others taking it in their stride because of the pandemic.

The popular five-day event on Thursday returned to the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai after it was cancelled last year due to Covid-19.

Precautionary measures are in place this year, including a rule that bans people from sampling the delicacies on offer. That left some of those who talked to RTHK craving for more.

Kenneth, a first-time visitor to the Food Expo, called the tasting ban disappointing.

“It’s a big disappointment for people coming here because they like to try on the spot, but this year they don’t have such a chance. The environment is not as overwhelming.”

Another visitor, Ross, said the no-tasting rule discouraged him from buying products from new brands.

“It’s a shame that there is no food tasting so I can’t try a new food and see if the product is good or not. I will [only] buy brands I tried before, but if there’s food tasting, I will try new brands as well.”

He added that the government should encourage more large-scale events like this to go ahead. “Right now Hong Kong is quite safe. The cases are quite low. More large events will boost the economy and will encourage people to come out more and spend money.”

A 15-year-old student, Betsy, who came with a friend, said it’s a pity that she cannot taste the food before buying them but understood the safety concerns.

“In the past couple of years we can actually taste the food for free but we cannot do so this year… but safety is the most important,” she said.

Another visitor, surnamed Tsang, who was among the first batch to arrive on Thursday, also said he’s happy to comply with the rules.

“Even if they allow me to get a taste, I won’t because we have to consider each other’s safety.”

The Food Expo is organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and runs through Monday.