“But [the officials] said it would be better to reheat instead of cooking.”
The association has been in talks with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the Fire Services Department and Home Affairs Department, which Chan said were likely to approve its revised plan.
There could be about 20 food stalls spanning from Jordan Road to Nanking Street, each six feet by 3.5 feet in size, if the propsal gets the go-ahead, he said.
The stalls would create a gourmet bazaar to be held for four to five months as a landmark event starting in November and form part of the government’s effort to boost the nighttime economy.
The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department said it had met with representatives of the association, along with other departments, to discuss the plan. It said it had provided advice on licensing and would continue to provide support and assistance.
The Post has contacted the Financial Secretary’s Office for comment.
But economist Simon Lee Siu-po cast doubt on the proposal.
“What’s the point of selling reheated food?” he said.
“People go for the experience when they eat street food. That includes seeing chefs cook up the food in front of them. Without that, our street food will not be unique enough compared to others, like that in Taiwan.”
He added that street food sold at the night market should be unique to Hong Kong to attract visitors and highlighted the dai pai dong in Sham Shui Po as an example.
Fanny Yeung Shuk-fan, the executive director of the Travel Industry Council, said adding food back to Temple Street was a good idea because the city needed long-term night activities as most in-store events at present were one-offs.
But since the Covid-19 pandemic, the street has become quieter and such businesses have suffered, a trend observed across Hong Kong.
Chan said he believed the drop in tourist numbers in Temple Street was because of the global economic slump.
“The problem with Temple Street’s stalls is that they have become outdated, no matter the owners and the products, amid the popularity of online shopping,” he said. “That is why we have to revitalise the stalls.”
“Of course, there will be traditional Hong Kong street fare such as egg waffles and beef entrails. This kind of internationalised gourmet street cannot be seen in Shenzhen or Taipei and would only be found on Temple Street. This will be refreshing for tourists and residents.”
The government on Thursday announced a series of activities under a months-long citywide campaign to persuade residents to stay out longer and boost the night economy.