Is imported always an improvement? Challenge your palates!

Hong Kong is obsessed with imported foods. They're branded, over-packaged and overpriced, and their flashy supermarket displays are designed to make you feel extra special about your purchase. Of course there are other reasons people opt for imports - it's the food scares across the border, the fear of contamination, the lack of variety in local produce, and the fact that Hong Kong simply isn't an agriculture and food economy. As a result, "we spend 4.4% of our GDP on importing food, higher than any other country on the index," and 95% of our food is imported. According to Todd Darling, "what if half of it was spent on innovating local agriculture?"

"Today, Hong Kong has 2,500 farms and 4,600 farmers producing 45 tonnes of produce daily.

408 farms produce organic crops, making up 10% of overall produce...

As small and fledgling as our industry is, there is still an industry to hold on to if we, as consumers and as industries, support it."

In Todd's TEDx Talk at TEDxVictoriaHarbour in May 2012, he shared alarming facts and figures about the food industry, questions the benefits of purchasing imported items, and challenges consumers and the hospitality industry to take a stand towards supporting local farms. And I agree. Isn't it our responsibility as an industry to make socially responsible decisions and educate our consumers into understanding that imported isn't always best?  Watch the video here and let us know your thoughts.

TEDxVictoriaHarbour | Todd Darling | Indigenous vs Imported

If you'd also like to get local, seasonal and fresh produce in Hong Kong, visit some of these options:

  • DeliveredHomegrown Foods, one of Todd's ventures delivers fresh, organic and seasonal produce to your door weekly
  • Delivered and ready to cook: Secret Ingredient, packages fine meats (some imported) with local produce ready to cook at home! (click here to read my recent blog on my Secret Ingredient experience!)
  • Dining out: IHM, Todd's F&B venture with partner, Robert Spina has a growing portfolio of restaurants using some of the best local organic produce around.  Check out Posto Pubblico, Linguini Fini!
  • Farmers Markets:
    • Quarry BayIsland East Markets is a social enterprise and farmers market due to open by the end of September with over 40 stalls in Quarry Bay.  
    • Central: The Central Ferry Pier #7 has a farmers market allowing farmers to sell directly to consumers without the middleman.  Every Wednesday from noon-6pm organized by SEED, and Sundays from 11am to 5pm organized by Kadoorie Farm
    • Discovery Bay: Discovery Bay North Plaza - First Sunday of April, October and December organized by Handmade Hong Kong
    • Tuen MunCrossroads Foundation, an amazing non-profit providing goods locally and globally has a farmers market every Saturday from 10am to 4pm organized by FVMCS.  Crossroads Village, 2 Castle Peak Road (opposite Gold Coast Phase I)
    • Tai Po: Tai Wo Rd next to the fire station every sunday from 9am to 5pm organized by FVMCS
    • Mei Foo: MTR Exit B, under the Kwai Chung road flyover and next to the Mei Foo wet market every Sunday from 11am-5pm organized by the YMCA.
    • Fan Ling: the Ma Po Po Farm across from the Belaire Monte housing development every Wednesday and Sunday from 2pm -6pm
    • And more...