An occasional roundup of happenings and other miscellanies

scene and heard

The Square was bare

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Man Yee Square cleared of al-fresco dining by FEHD

What do you do when you arrive at a well known foodie area, being heavily promoted by Hong Kong Tourist Board (HKTB) as an “alternative” attraction, and find that it’s impossible to enjoy an al-fresco afternoon in the sunshine? The square – in this case Man Yee Square in the centre of Sai Kung – was bare.

It seems that Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) were up to their old gestapo tactics yesterday; maybe it had something to do with the official visit of the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr. Sophia Chan, visiting the nearby Mona Fong Clinic and the Sai Kung wet market. Of course, she’d have to walk through the square and, of course, FEHD would want to make sure she didn’t see anything that’s technically illegal. They were just “doing their job”.

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Man Yee Square looks so uninviting like this

But this does highlight a major problem. Two government departments working in opposite directions. HKTB would love to see al-fresco dining, FEHD doesn’t. One F&B outlet was open – Jaspa’s. But then they had a permit. Permits take many years to obtain and the bureaucracy involved is horrendous, according to the owners S&H spoke to yesterday. Now we all know that rents in Sai Kung are crazy – maybe around $90-100,000 per month for a restaurant in the centre of town. And the average life span of many of these places is often counted in months, not years. S&H was also told that takings double when tables are allowed outside – so not being able to go al-fresco is really a matter of life and death to the smaller, independent restaurants.

It’s not like Lan Kwai Fung, Wanchai or any other foodie hotspots, where the pavements are narrow. Man Yee Square has no congestion or safety problems to worry about. So why the problem?

Of course, if you’re one of the privileged, well “connected”, few that run the seafood dining places along the waterfront you don’t have a problem. These places seem immune from the attentions of FEHD.

Why?

Beer bargain back on the shopping list

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Feldscloßchen pilsner on sale at U-Select

Some months ago we published details of the best value for money supermarket beer in the area. A few days later it was all sold out. Scene and Heard was hoist by her own petard…now, many months later one of those bargains is back on sale. Having made sure of our own supply we can reveal all. 5 litre kegs of Feldscloßchen pilsner are now back on sale at U-Select for $65.80; not as cheap as last year, but still good value for money. Enjoy.

Oh, and the highly rated Tesco Prosecco is $79.00. Have fun!


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