Expat shopping in Hong Kong: tips for saving a bundle

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by Violetta Polese

Let's face it, Hong Kong is not a cheap city in which to live.

For an Italian, a lack of inspiration - or a lack of time - for preparing the evening meal isn't usually a problem. Pasta always saves the day. Simply toss the cooked pasta with tomato sauce or pesto and sprinkle with cheese, and you're done.

Usually this is one of the cheapest and fastest dishes to make. But not necessarily in Hong Kong.

If you rely on a regular supermarket to purchase all of these Italian staple ingredients, then you could end up paying a shocking amount: 100 to 150 HKD at best estimate.


The good news is that when you know where to shop - and with a little bit of organisation - you can end up spending just 50 HKD or even less for the exact same ingredients. That is a saving of roughly 100 HKD.


Most importantly, don’t do all your grocery shopping in the main supermarkets. Some of the less well-known local chains sell many items for far cheaper.

Of course, you wouldn't want to run around frantically from one shop to another in order to find all those ingredients that you want on a particular evening - because what you save on money you would then spend on time.

But if you plan ahead and buy most of these staple ingredients in advance, then you can use them whenever you fancy.

Let’s do the maths.

In regular supermarkets, you might be able to get Italian-brand pasta for 28.90 HKD, a jar of pesto for 39-59 HKD, a bag of parmesan cheese for 43.90 HKD and pepper for 30 HKD.

By shopping around, you can buy Italian-brand pasta for 8 HKD, a jar of pesto for 18 HKD, a bag of parmesan cheese for 23 HKD and pepper for 13 HKD.

That's quite a saving.

So where are all these money-saving stores? It depends what you're after.

Check out:

  • PrizeMart for Italian-brand pasta, tinned tomatoes and olive oil

  • Goodwell for pesto and pasta

  • U Select for pesto, tinned tomatoes and pasta

  • 759 for pepper, spices and oil

You can find out the names and addresses of all the places where you can find your favourite food in Hong Kong for less with our brand new guidebook to the place.

Interested in learning more about how things work in Hong Kong?

Get hold of the City Trail Guide to Hong Kong

Our guidebooks go beyond the classic tourist spots and take to many less well-known local secret gems.

The authors of the City Trail Travel guides have not only visited but also lived in the places they write about. They have been several times in every place they talk about and have a deep understanding of the local culture.

In our guides you will also find plenty of reliable and practical information to be used by anyone who wants to understand how things work in terms of transport, the pros and cons of which area to live in, local and international schools, nannies and helpers and where to find foreigners products at attractive price.

Communication is an important aspect of any trip, which is why we always include downloadable audio files to learn the basics of the local language, useful for the every-day life and for less well-known explorations.

Would you like to find out all there is to do in Hong Kong for families and children?

In 2019 a brand new City Trail book, Hong Kong With Kids – Fun Family Outings, is coming out: more than 90 ideas of what to do in Hong Kong with children, organized by weather, age and location.

The author has travelled all over Hong Kong for the past years, road-testing everything to make sure to offer readers hassle-free experiences.

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