SCED speaks on Food Truck Pilot Scheme
Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at a media session on the Food Truck Pilot Scheme at Central Government Offices, Tamar, today (March 30):
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: Now I would like to say a few words in English. We are pleased to announce that the Food Truck Pilot Scheme will be open for application from tomorrow (March 31).
The Food Truck Pilot Scheme, positioned as a tourism initiative, aims to add fun and vibrancy to Hong Kong by providing diverse, creative and high quality food options to tourists and the locals, as well as to showcase the good standard of food hygiene and safety in Hong Kong.
Under the Pilot Scheme, there will be a two-stage selection mechanism to select suitable operators. The first stage will be the assessment of the food truck proposals from applicants. Assessment criteria include the food concept and menu, business and financial proposal and design of the vehicle, etc. The second stage will be quite fun. It will be a cook-off challenge at which the applicants will demonstrate their proposed signature dish.
There are eight designated venues for food truck operation under the pilot scheme. They are listed in the invitation document. I will not repeat here. I have already indicated that in Chinese earlier.
Each operation venue will provide two parking spaces. Therefore, there will be 16 food trucks altogether operating at the above locations on a rotation basis under the pilot scheme. The Government will also line up food trucks to provide services at designated large scale tourism events to enhance the attractiveness of the events.
A designated office will be set up on April 1 under the Tourism Commission to coordinate the implementation of the pilot scheme and matters related to the licence application. In other words, there will be a one-stop services for people who are interested to apply and want to get more information.
We expect food trucks will commence operation in end of this year or early next year. The scheme will operate for two years. The pilot scheme will be open for application for a two-month period which will end on May 30, 2016.
Details of application, the application form, the guidelines and frequently asked questions are available at the Tourism Commission's Food Truck Pilot Scheme dedicated webpage (www.tourism.gov.hk/english/foodtruck/foodtruck.html) at which you will be able to download later on today.
Reporter: Mr So, could you tell us why you think tourists would prefer copycat food trucks to small hawker stalls that really truly represent Hong Kong's history and culture? Is the Government setting its priorities wrong by pulling out hawkers and trying to install copycat food trucks?
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: We are saying that this is not a hawker policy. This is a project that is to aim to attract tourists. What terms did you use? "Copycat" what?
Reporter: Copycat food trucks. Because in LegCo papers and other news, the Government had said that some food trucks have been found in the United States and other places like Taiwan, Singapore ...
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: Why did you use the term "copycat"?
Reporter: But you are copying the concept ...
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: It is a very big concept because it is quite international. I went to Sydney, for example. I saw it there. I went to San Francisco and it was there. It is quite international. Hong Kong is quite an international city. I think we deserve to be having this sort of facilities which I found quite attractive in other places. I think we can do better than that. We can add on to give rooms for our local chefs and young people in terms of expression to their creativity. I think that's a great thing. So, I will not use the term like "copycat" to describe this. I think this is quite exciting.
Reporter: Could you please elaborate on the cook-off. How exactly will candidates be judged? Who will be the judges? And in terms of assessment, will you look for a wide variety of cuisine in that sense? Or and will you consider mom and pop businesses like small businesses with big brands like big food chain on the scene? Will there be any comparison on that sense?
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: In terms of the cook-off that I have explained in Chinese. Would you like me to go over that.
Reporter: If you can elaborate a little, that will be great.
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: It is basically the hygiene factor and also the creativity factor and the taste factor. Whether you are a multinational company or a start-up company, I think we are quite fair on that one. You really test your cooking skill and how you process the food. So that is not an advantage to anybody. Mom and pop shops. We welcome everybody. It's really competing on equal footing. And so we hope more people would be interested. We don't really know how many applications will come. I hope after today will be a lot of downloads, a lot of interests in this. I think it really adds on the vibrancy of the Hong Kong tourism scene and the culinary interest. What's your other question?
Reporter: Who will be judging the cook-off?
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: The cook-off will be judged by a panel of experts - food experts.
Reporter: ... from overseas as well?
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: We will announce the panelists as soon as we have the cook-off. We will announce in one go.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Wednesday, March 30, 2016