Hong Kong can seem like a frigging expensive place to shop if you don't know where to go. Here are our frugal food shopping tips and do let us know yours!
Baking/Birthday Supplies: e.g. cupcake cases, party bags, frosting, cake decorations, sugar, flour, cream, cream cheese, chocolate chips, Valhrona, pastry, try Twinsco in Wan Chai (1/F, 137 Johnston Rd) for rock bottom prices. Also, a few floors up in the same building in Sweet Delight which sells similar stuff.
Casino: is a French supermarket chain who have recently started exporting to HK and you see a lot of their produce in ParknShop. It tends to be a bit cheaper than other brands. Look out for tinned goods such as sweetcorn and tuna as well as cheeses, fruit juices and yoghurts.
Cheese: Buy online at Bayern Gourmet Foods, (NZ cheddar only) and Dolifrance (French). Also, the HK Football Club sells Parmesan, Cheddar, Gouda, Emmenthal and others at competitive prices. While you ought to be accompanied by a member, you can pay cash in the shop.
Chicken: while Chinese chickens in the wet market are the cheapest, there are whole Brazilian Halal chickens for $5o in the Woo Hing Hong in Causeway Bay and the Sai Kung store detailed in "Meat" below. Read our complete guide to chicken shopping in HK here.
Chocolate: Ikea (stores in Causeway Bay, Kowloon & Shatin) has 70% cocoa solids plain chocolate at reasonable prices. Or buy the delectable Valhrona cooking chocolate (favoured by Mango Menus' idol, Heston Blumenthal. Read about Valhrona here...) from Twinsco at 1/F, 137 Johnston Rd, Wan Chai for around $50-60.
Cuts: if you insist on eating imported meat but can't always afford tenderloin for dinner, we urge you to consider the cheaper cuts. Minced beef goes a long way if cooked in a lasagne, chilli con carne or in homemade burgers and we heartily recommend the NZ grass fed variety from MM Freshfood or if you require a chunkier grind, the Australian grassfed from Three Butchers. Shoulder of pork is another cheap cut (buy from Woo Hing Hong) can be slow cooked in curries, finely sliced in Singapore noodles or diced in a special fried rice.
Fish: Locally caught fish is the cheapest and can be found in the supermarkets (often alive), wet markets and fishing boats in Sai Kung and Ap Lei Chau. For provenance outside of local waters, try buying online at Leo's Fine Foods. They sell Norwegian salmon and other fish (fresh & frozen).They will deliver for free for orders over $1000, else there's a $150 delivery charge, or pick it up for free from the Remex centre in Aberdeen. For sustainable and wild fish, try MM Fresh, who source all their catch off the coast of New Zealand. There is no minimum spend or delivery charge for new customers with the code "FIRSTIME".
Fruit: the wet market sells the cheapest fruit and veg, with most goods coming from China. For organic, we recommend the stall, A-Tao's, in the wet market in Sai Ying Pun (Shop S19, Sai Ying Pun Market, 45 Centre Street) and the Star Ferry terminal market on Wednesday afternoons. Also try the Island East Farmers markets which take place in Taikoo Shing on Sundays from 11-6pm. A number of small organic farms sells their produce here.
Jett Foods is an online retailer selling premium frozen meats and seafood, all from overseas. Products include UDSA prime, US certified Angus Beef, Spanish Duroc pork, NZ lamb, NZ grassfed rib eye, sirloin and US 100% premium Berkshire pork mince, US organic chicken and seafood from all over the world. Competitive prices and 10% of first order, and a further 5% if you use the discount code mangomenus when you check out!
Iherb is your cheapest answer to anything dried, non perishable from vitamins to pasta, grains, cereals, baby food, tea, coffee, nappies and shampoo. Most brands are US and organic/eco friendly e.g. Bob's Red Mill, Crazy Jacks and Arrowhead Mill. They ship from the US, with low shipping rates and very quickly. Mango Menus' last order took just 2 days to arrive. There is often money off for your first order after which you gain a discount code, which once distributed to your friends, will get you money off in the future. Feel free to use ours on your first order! BZC151
Meatmarket offers 10% off if you spend over $500 on your first order. Use the coupon code MEATROOKIE when you check out.
Meat: the cheapest meat for sale is Chinese in the wet market. For the cheapest imported meat, although not organic, we recommend Woo Hing Hong in Causeway. Cash only! To give you an idea of prices in August 2013:
$450- 1.5kg of Brazilian ribeye which cut into 7 steaks (most cuts can be sliced on the premises)
$15 - packet of Brazilian bacon
$135 an entire US beef brisket
$60 - large Brazilian chicken
$250 leg of NZ lamb (bone in)
$160 - 3 lamb shanks
For cheaper still, drive 30 minutes out of town to Sai Kung. Shek Kee Frozen Meat Company is a very basic retail outlet in 17 Kung Tack Lung Back. It is in the alley behind the bar Steamers, just past Baboushka, the children’s clothes shop. Large Brazilian chickens cost around 60 HKD and you can buy a leg of lamb for 240 HKD and an entire tenderloin of Argentine steak for about the same, which can be cut into approximately 10 steaks. It’s worth driving there the first time, so you can see what you are buying. Second time around (for orders over 2000 HKD), you can fax your order to 2792 1995 and have it delivered. Open 7 days a week, 8.30-5.30pm, shutting for lunch 12-1pm.
Lung Wah is a another discounted meat supplier based in Shek Tong Sui whose latest product list you can download here in Chinese. Email for the English version. They sell mostly frozen food, but also have chilled meat. Provenance includes Brazil, US, New Zealand, Australia, Holland, Spain and Scotland an d they also stock organic/natural andhormone free products. For most steaks, pork chops and fish, they can cut the thickness and amount according to your liking. Delivery is free of charge for purchases exceeeding $1000. They deliver to Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the NT and Ma Wan, but not to Tung Chung or the outlying Islands.
Members of the various clubs can order imported meat at discounted prices.
Milk: pick up Greenfields more cheaply in the HK Football Club shop if you are a member.
Nuts: 987 Kings Rd, Quarry Bay is a small store selling nuts very cheaply for $60-68 per lb. Or iherb...
Olive Oil: OliveTreeHK are selling 5L cans for $500. They even wrote a blog about comparing olive oil prices across HK and shows theirs is the cheapest, and Mango Menus can say it is definitely one of the most delicious!
Porterhouse: informs us they choose not to discount items but offer a 5% lifetime discount to any customer who registers online.
Tofu: One thing I really object to is paying through the nose for children's yoghurts that have a sell by date of tomorrow, and that are full of rubbish & E numbers anyway. Forget yoghurt. Get into tofu. Blend some plain silken tofu (0rganic preferably to avoid genetically modified soybeans) with a handful of strawberries and you have a smooth pink dessert, that your children WILL believe is strawberry yoghurt, trust me, and has the hidden attraction of being high in protein as well as void of refined sugar and articial flavourings. Click here for this strawberry tofu dessert recipe.
Yoghurt: Yoghurt is expensive since mainly imported, so why not make your own with an Easyyo yoghurt makers (sold in supermarkets including Taste in Stanley).
Perusing the menu (heavily pregnant, not fat) at the Sai Kung meat supplier. I told you, it's basic...
Frugal Food Shopping tips in Hong Kong