The Food Expo got underway on Thursday, with visitors expressing mixed views on the product tasting ban in force for a second year due to the pandemic.
Some people queued up overnight to be among the first visitors to the five-day event at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.
Unable to allow people to taste their goods, some vendors let aromas of their products waft out to entice in customers.
Meanwhile, two visitors each won 150 cans of abalone, with one of the winners saying she had queued up for three days to get a ticket for the competition.
The woman said she wasn't worried about being unable to eat all of the abalone, as she would share some of it with relatives.
An exhibitor selling coffee products said the tasting ban was affecting sales, so he had adopted a different promotional strategy.
"It's hard for us to compete because everyone is selling packed coffee beans. I'm demonstrating roasting here. They can't taste, but they can see how it's doing. So I can give a brand new experience for our customers and give them more confidence in our products," he told RTHK.
More than 90 percent of the exhibitors were accepting at least one payment method for the government's latest consumption vouchers.
A man surnamed Chan, who was buying mooncakes with his voucher, said the tasting ban did not affect him.
"Maybe this is a policy for Covid-19. It is a good policy because the sixth wave is coming. Banning people from eating inside is good for the pandemic. This can still stimulate the economy of Hong Kong," he said.
However, another visitor, surnamed Yeung, said she hopes the ban will be lifted next year.
"I think there are less people this year because of this regulation. For the previous year, I don't think most people knew that they banned the food tasting. They only got here and knew the rule. But this year, more people got to know about this rule, I guess this caused the Food Expo to be less attractive," she said.