Where to find that spicy deli mustard perfect for your Summer bbq? Or that real Vermont maple syrup that elevates pancakes to the next plateau? Hong Kong’s reputation as a shopping bonanza isn’t just limited to clothing and electronics. It’s time for a trip to Hong Kong’s upscale supermarkets!
Eating in Hong Kong: a culture of dining out
More so than in other cities, in Hong Kong, dining out is a time to see family and friends, as well as do business. Due to the realities of life in crowded apartments, people entertain less in their homes and utilize public places more for their daily routines. Additionally, Hong Kong is a city in flux and the town’s eating habits reflect this constant motion. A large percentage of the population doesn’t regularly cook at home.
Yet, despite these factors, for those that do cook, Hong Kong thankfully offers a wide array of choices to help you find that special ingredient, or something to remind you of life elsewhere.
Before there were supermarkets…
Traditionally, people bought their food at fresh markets in Hong Kong. To this day there are remnants of this system in every major neighborhood in the city. In addition to pockets of stalls, the government has sanctioned entire buildings packed with stands selling fresh fish, live chickens, fruits, vegetables and butchers of all sorts. The street markets that still remain, apart from being extremely photogenic for tourists, offer a good selection of fruits and vegetables at lower prices than the upscale grocery stores.
Contemporary supermarkets are relatively new and offer the convenience of having all foods under one roof, with no haggling, and perhaps better hygienic conditions.
Hong Kong has two major supermarket chains called Wellcome and ParkNShop. These are not the massive supermarkets one gets in the U.S. (For example, they don’t also sell tires for your car!) Real estate being one of the highest per-foot costs in the world forces them to occupy smaller spaces. Selection is therefore somewhat limited. With branches throughout the city, the two are o.k. for necessities, but once you stray from the norm, or want to create something that requires special ingredients, chances are you’ll need to visit one of Hong Kong’s upscale supermarkets.
More recently, the two major chains also offer “Superstores” in special locations that include a greater selection and stock additional specialized items. Wellcome also operates a 24-hour supermarket on Patterson Street in Causeway Bay across from Windsor House that can be useful.
Friends sometimes laugh at me when I tell them that I’ve been to three supermarkets just to prepare one dish. Items typically found in upscale markets include cold cuts, cheeses, finer cuts of meat, fresh seafood, high-end condiments, ethnic foods, organic produce, and foreign alcohol beyond the basics.
In comparison to ParkNShop and Wellcome, Hong Kong’s upscale supermarkets typically occupy large, prime spaces in popular shopping centers often connected to transportation hubs. (For example, City Super in IFC and Times Square.) Their prices reflect their high-cost per square foot locations. If you’re on a budget, you’ll want to buy your basics elsewhere. (Think of it this way, do you buy your socks at Gucci?)
The main high-end supermarkets include Oliver’s in Prince’s Building; City Super in IFC, Times Square, and Ocean Terminal; Great in the basement of Pacific Place, Gourmet in the basement of Lee Garden; Three-Sixty in the Landmark Atrium; and Gateway (which isn’t actually high-end, but does specialize in American products,) situated in a somewhat obscure location above the Sheung Wan MTR station.
Apart from Gateway, all generally include bakeries on the premises offering a large selection of breads, pastries, muffins and cakes. Several of them also offer prepared food. The selections tend to be foreigner-friendly items catering to working professionals who need to grab something quick.
As a quick generalization:[photopress:City_Super.jpg,full,pp_image]
City Super, located in the IFC mall, Times Square, and Ocean Terminal is strong on Japanese, Korean, Mexican and Italian goods, as well as alcoholic beverages from other Asian countries.[photopress:Olivers_Supermarket_HK.jpg,full,pp_image]
Oliver’s, located in Prince’s building in Central is perhaps the oldest of the upscale markets, and is a great choice for cold cuts, cheeses, snacks like pretzels, foreign beers and high-end condiments.[photopress:Gateway_Supermarket_Hong_Ko.jpg,full,pp_image]
Gateway, located above the Sheung Wan MTR station (exit E1) resembles a sort of Costco or Sam’s Club but on a much smaller scale. Here you can find things in bulk, as well as mainstream American products not found in the other high-end groceries (such as American candy). Gateway is a prime destination for American junk-food and household cleaning products from the U.S.[photopress:Three_Sixty_Supermarket.jpg,full,pp_image]
Three Sixty is the new kid on the block, located in the Landmark Atrium in Central. It’s a good choice for organic goods, as well as fresh produce and meats (the steak selection looks particularly large.) An added bonus, they have an excellent food-court on the level above the grocery which is a great place to go with picky eaters during an off hour.[photopress:Great_Food_Hall_Supermarket.jpg,full,pp_image]
Great, located below Seibu in the basement of Pacific Place, has a full market, good bakery and prepared foods, in addition to a large selection of candy. They also share space with the popular Canadian burger chain Triple O / White-Spot, which is worth a trip if you’re craving a burger while shopping![photopress:Gourmet_SuperMarket.jpg,full,pp_image]
Gourmet is located in the basement of Lee Garden in Causeway Bay. It has sister stores on Kowloon-side in Festival Walk and Citygate branded as ‘Taste’. I don’t shop here enough to appraise it, but it looks like a full featured market similar to the others.
Excellent informative article!
Can I buy the brand “RAUSCH” product in The Landmark branch?
Have a look at their website to see if you can locate the product. Or, use the phone number on the site to call them to check for you. Good luck!
I would also recommend Taste at Hopewell Centre in Wanchai. They stock a decent selection of Asian (Chinese, Jap, Korean, etc) as well as Western products. You might be able to find everything you need at one stop! Anything you’re unable to find there you might be able to get it at the Wanchai market nearby.
I wonder which of these high end fancy grocery store will carry the limited edition Evian culture water. I been looking for a place is selling them around Hong Kong. Do I have to go to France to find them in retail?
Very helpful information. Does Gateway have a website? I can’t seem to locate one. We’re celebrating our one-month anniversary in Hong Kong, and we’re desperate need of Welch’s Grape Jelly that we get in the USA.
I don’t think Gateway has a website. You can try stopping by, it’s just across from Cosco Tower next to the Sheung Wan MTR entrance. It’s located in the basement. You might also try Oliver’s in Prince’s Building in Central. Good luck and happy one-month anniversary! 🙂
Do you know where there are still the street markets? I’ve seen those on TV but never got a chance to actually go to one?
There are many street markets in Hong Kong. The one in Central is very photogenic and is slated to be closed soon. Catch it while you can!
You can read about the plans here: http://www.savethestreetmarket.com/
You can get there easily by going to Wellington Street or Lyndhurst Terrace and walking down to where it intersects with Graham Street. The market runs along Graham Street all the way to Queens Road. Bring your camera!
You should also check out Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street in Mongkok and Temple Street Night Market that starts in Jordan and runs up to Yau Ma Tei.
Which CitySuper in Hong Kong has Cornmeal for selling?
Strangely enough, I know the answer to this question! My friend used to buy cornmeal at the CitySuper in IFC Mall. Call them to see if they still sell it. Their number is: 2234-7128. You can also access information from their website here: http://www.citysuper.com.hk/
Comment regarding GATEWAY SUPERMARKET HONG KONG: My wife is 7 months pregnant and wanted to buy 4 heavy bottles of Liquid Tide (probably weighing 5 pounds each) during a rare visit alone. The store was empty at the time and the cashier rudely requested she carry over the items even to arrange for delivery, disregarding her pregnancy. Even more disrespectfully, there was another staff standing nearby smirking while he listened in on the conversation. Can you imagine that? I really hope Gateway owners read this and realize how rude their 4 store staff is (As they have no website or manager contact to complain to).
I found a phone number online… 2545-0338 but that will probably just reach the same bad workers… I suppose you could request the manager or owner’s phone number from them. Good luck.
Gateway has a decent selection of American products, but the staff is not helpful to say the least. After 10 days of no show, I called them enquiring about a scheduled delivery. The women on the phone was rude and said she would call me back but didn’t even take down my number or receipt information. Unless only Gateway carries a certain product, otherwise PrizeMart is preferred. They staff speaks basic English only but are courtesy. The website http://www.prizemart.hk shows their dozen of outlets.
Welchâ€™s Grape Jelly is also sold at the wellcome shop in happy valley 🙂 we are also form the usa 🙂
Thank you so much to Administrator for posting this expats haven grocery shopping outlets! Those photos are very helpful to give us some impressions of the stores, too.
We live in Guangzhou and come to HK in regular basis for shopping we cannot find in Oliver’s or Corner’s Deli here. This post is a GREAT RESOURCE for us! Thanks again 🙂
I LOVE to know who owns Gateway – I was sold a bad product (inedible – smelt and tasted of damp) but they’ve refused to refund or exchange it as they say it’s my problem.
Any ideas as to who the holding company is?
Check out these shops. They are on a much smaller scale but their products are more unique –
I’m not a huge fan of the so-called organic shops. Unfortunately, I don’t think many of them abide by any rules, so what they say is organic, and charge a premium for, might not be legit. I think the prices for organic items in Hong Kong are also ridiculous.
oh! i love the design of 360 at landmark!!!
Hello I see that your information is helping me to find food sellers. Im trying to find distributors or importers of Pork meat, Im from Mexico and I would like to get contact with them. Any help IÂ´ll appreciate it, I’m traveling to HK next week July 20th.
I went to Gateway to buy Crisco and one of the sale sstaff was extremely rude. She approached me and said something in Chinese, and I replied, “Sorry I don’t speak Chinese.” She turned away and said “ma fan” (which I understood—I can understand some basics). I was going to leave right then, but I didn’t know where else to buy Crisco in HK.The same lady was at checkout counter, and she was pouting and was acting like she hated her job. After she scanned my items, she asked me if I needed a bag,duh obviously, I’m standing there waiting with no bag in hand, and the stuff weighs about 20 lbs! I’m sure she wasn’t stressed out, the shop was practically empty.
Anyway I was so upset I told her that Gateway will get very back feedback on the internet with the way they treat their customers. Never going back there again, I’m going to find Prizemart. I hope the owners get to read this feedback.
by the way, noticed that the Gateway store in Sheung Wan is no longer there (it’s now a Yoshinoya fast food restaurant). Bad though Gateway’s service is, they do have some reasonably priced things not found at Prizemart, Oliver’s etc. Especially in bulk. LIke their 1000g coffee beans and large cereals…
Does anyone know where Gateway supermarket has moved?
Still there – just bought some diet mt dew and cherry coke zero there today.
There is a store called a & m at the Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan. The staff there are very nice and they will order additional stock from the U.S.
They carry bulk items , similar to Gateway in that respect
To get there take exit D from Sheung Wan MTR station. Once you walk off the escalator turn to the right and it is next to a travel agency.
They are going to open a store at Stanley Markets, soon. http://www.anmstores.com/
Any where I can buy cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce??
Hi Alvino, I’m not sure about Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce together in a can. I would check out Worldwide House in Central. There should be some smaller groceries that stock adobo, and adobe related products. Chipotle peppers you might be able to find on their own at City Super in IFC, or at Oliver’s in Prince’s Building. Good luck!
I love Three Sixty as I can always count on the consistency of products that are healthy for me. But recently I ran across an article that it will be replaced by more luxury stores in the Landmark building! What’s going on! I think they are making enough money from the store and during the week it is packed with workers grabbing lunch from several healthy vendors.
In my opinion, it must be the landlord increasing the rent. I’ll miss this place as I really try to stay healthy and not always eat at these other restaurants where I always have to question the quality. To think, Three Sixty is the largest Organic food store in HK! I guess I’ll have to go to elements for find other local shops. I’ve noticed a lot that have opened up recently. =)
Thanks for this posting. Gave me a list of options to buy my goods! Keep up the good work!
Gateway – I have never had any problems with Gateway but then I did nothing but go in, find what I was looking for, pay for it and leave, taking what I bought with me. It is still in Sheung Wan and on Des Voeux Road, same block as before but at the triangular end towards Central, basement level. My iPhone has it incorrectly located, old location maybe? But again, same block and side of DVR.
I discovered that a shop locate in Shum Shui Po, also sell the Bulk product import from USA and Europe just like Gateway Superstore. If you are not the wholeseller, just go there afternoon. The price are really reasonable. The store is not very neat and tidy, but once you ask for some product, staffs are very helpful and help you to find out the product you want.
Address: G/F, 360, Tai Nam Street, Shum Shui Po, Kowloon.
Don’t go to Gateway. Staff follow you everywhere as if they think you are trying to steal