Feb. 28, 2024

The Protest Restaurants of Hong Kong

Published May 10, 2023, 8:40 p.m. by Monica Louis

As a teenager in Hong Kong, there are few things more exciting than venturing out into the city to explore new restaurants. The city is constantly buzzing with activity, and there's always something new to be found.

But while Hong Kong's restaurant scene is always bustling with life, there's also a palpable sense of political protest simmering beneath the surface.

Since the 2014 Umbrella Revolution, when thousands of protesters took to the streets to demand universal suffrage and an end to Beijing's increasingly authoritarian rule, restaurants have become a popular way for people to voice their opinions.

In recent months, restaurants have become an important staging ground for the city's ongoing protest movement.

On September 28th, for example, thousands of people descended on the central business district to rally against a controversial extradition bill.

The following day, protesters took to the streets of Kowloon to demand the release of two pro-democracy activists who had been jailed on political charges.

And in December, hundreds of people turned out to rally against a proposed bill that would have allowed police to search individuals and vehicles without a warrant.

While these protests may not always result in tangible change, they're an important way for Hong Kong's residents to voice their opinions and share their thoughts with the rest of the world.

And while the protests may be sporadic and often chaotic, they're also incredibly fun and exciting to participate in.

Restaurants have become an important part of Hong Kong's political landscape, and they'll continue to be a central part of the city's protest movement for as long as there's still resistance to Beijing's rule.

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amber foods is a little hole in the wall

restaurant that opened on an

infamous day in the history of hong

kong's pro-democracy movement

the anniversary of the first big police


sounds good

okay really good it's very

creamy like um kind of sweet and what

that's honest

oh okay very light and airy and the


adds a nice bit of umami everyone who

works here is a protester

including mandy she's a chef in training

and didn't even know how to cook before

she started here

so it's gone



in hong kong yellow is the chosen color

of the pro-democracy movement

last year protesters hoisted yellow

umbrellas and don yellow hard hats to

protect themselves against pepper spray

and tear gas gels

yellow has now become shorthand for

whether an individual establishment

supports the protests

blue stands for the other side the

police who crack down

and of course china which passed a

national security law this year that

basically criminalized dissent

between kova 19 and the sweeping new law

street protests have become



the drink name in english is stan with

hong kong

the cayo literally means add oil

but in cantonese it's sort of this cheer

that is very commonly heard and

throughout the protest

it's become a rallying cry by having a

drink called that

they're giving people the excuse to

actually say it

multiple times a day amber foods isn't

the only protest restaurant

it's part of the so-called yellow

economic circle

a network of businesses that consider

every bite and every dollar spent

an opportunity to resist growing the

yellow economy

is all about linking up yellow customers

with yellow shops

that's where matt lau steps in the picky

dot hk app lets customers order from

yellow restaurants in other districts of

the city

lao delivers for free complete that one


on website


lao's business is his former protest and

he's betting that other hong kongers

will help it grow

but for now his service is helping

yellow restaurants more than his own

bottom line




chinese government would prefer

businesses care about profits

the city's in a historic recession and

china's accused yellow businesses of

trying to

quote kidnap its economy but hong kong

relies on china for its food

ninety percent of hong kong's food is

imported and most of that comes from the


less than five percent of the territory

is devoted to farming

one of the few farms is run by wong


demand for wong's organic produce has

gone through the roof since the protests

and a pandemic that's raised the price

of food from china


hong kong


tourists from the city even come help

out on saturdays when the other workers

get a day off

pretty clever having your paying

customers do your weeding for you

i must say




though his small organic farm may seem

removed from the city and its problems

to him it's all connected






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