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Expat shopping Hong Kong: tips for saving a bundle

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.

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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

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