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
okay really good it's very
creamy like um kind of sweet and what
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
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
a network of businesses that consider
every bite and every dollar spent
an opportunity to resist growing the
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
lao delivers for free complete that one
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
chinese government would prefer
businesses care about profits
the city's in a historic recession and
china's accused yellow businesses of
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
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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