For a city that promotes itself as the culinary capital of Asia, the surprising thing is that Hong Kong has up until recently had relatively few English language guides to help diners sort through the city's more than 11,000 restaurants. But things are rapidly changing.
This week sees the launch of Crave, the city's first English-language monthly magazine dedicated solely to food, while the popular online restaurant guide WOM (or Word of Mouth) is at the same time starting up a service for mobile phones. The Hong Kong Government is also getting in on the act, through a series of downloads now available on its tourism website (http://www.discoverhongkong.com)
Crave (www.cravemag.com), which will be officially launched on May 1, opens with an 80-page edition that highlights the city's trendiest eateries, interviews local and international chefs, and provides details on how to try some of Hong Kong's most famous dishes at home. The idea is to provide a service for the city's food fanatics but also to let the world in on its many secrets as well.
"Hong Kong has always taken pride in its role as a culinary capital and we are hoping Crave can expand this image internationally while giving people all around the world a look into the trends and happenings in the local food world," Crave publisher Carmen Li told Relaxnews.
"Most people have heard about Hong Kong dishes, and most people have tasted them. So we are also letting people know how they can cook these dishes at home, a little bit about their history and, for people planning to come to Hong Kong, we will keep them up to date on what new places are opening and what makes this city's restaurants so popular and our chefs so famous."
Meanwhile, WOMobile (available via http://www.womguide.com) is a service that allows people to tap into a data bank of reviews while walking aorund on Hong Kong's frantic streets.
WOM is unqiue in that it only runs reviews submitted by the general public, something its publishers believe gives a more honest view of where and where not to eat. The mobile application also allows diners to file their reviews instantly and to send in photos of their favorite places and dishes.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board has enlisted the help of local chefs and celebrities for its download which introduces visitors to some of the city's traditional dishes such as congee and then suggests where they might try them.
It has been launched as the HKTB looks to further promote the city' s rich culinary culture as a major attraction, following on from the success of last November's Food and Wine Festival and ahead of the city hosting Vinexpo (http://www.vinexpo.com) later this month - the international wine industry's premiere trade event.