Memories We Share: Hong Kong in the 1960s and 1970s
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Wining and Dining

Hong Kong has long enjoyed international renown for the wide range of cuisine available in the city. As early as the 1960s, there was a great variety of eateries that offered the people of Hong Kong a large selection of dining options, from up-market Chinese and Western-style restaurants to dai pai dong (food stalls) out on the street, while there were also plenty of grocery stores and provisions shops. As commerce and industry flourished in the 1960s and 1970s, Hong Kong’s workforce grew, and caterers began delivering lunch along with cutlery to offices and factories. It was against this backdrop that the lunch box emerged to serve the needs of the working population; Lan Heung Restaurant in Central was the first to use plastic boxes for takeaway orders. Meanwhile, a fast food culture began to take root, with Western restaurants in Central serving American-style hotdogs and hamburgers to patrons. The city’s first fast food restaurant, Café de Coral, was launched in the 1960s, while 1975 saw Hong Kong’s first McDonald’s open in Paterson Street in Causeway Bay, and fast food restaurants have lined Hong Kong’s streets ever since. Supermarkets began to spring up in the 1970s, with the earliest stores operating in Central – the city’s business district – to provide convenience for Hong Kong’s busy working populace. At the same time, refrigerators became an affordable item to the shop owners, and chilled soft drinks, ice lollies and ice cream became favourite snacks in the territory’s hot summers.

Among Hong Kong’s dining and drinking venues of the 1960s, the floating seafood restaurants in Aberdeen and the pubs featured in the film The World of Suzie Wong gained international attention. Hong Kong’s “in” crowd frequented lounges and restaurants in famous hotels, while outside on the streets the crowds savoured “aeroplane” olives, ding ding ginger sweets, malt candies, sugar and coconut wraps and other snacks. As Hong Kong indulged in these culinary pleasures, the government made posters and public service films reminding people to get vaccinations against cholera and diphtheria and educating them on the importance of personal hygiene.


  • Dairy Lane Supermarket

  • Wing Wo Grocery Store

  • Children being content with enough food supply

  • Hawkers selling cooked food