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London TO HK

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    5

    London TO HK

    Hi all,

    My first post but I am in discussion with a recruitment company for a possible move to Hong Kong for work. I am a chef and expect to work fairly hard in Hong Kong but I am fairly used to that.

    I do not have any commitments or responsibilities in life at the moment so I thought it would be an exciting change to my life.

    I was just wondering if some of you expats can give me some advice of what shocks to the system i can expect and what is the work/lifestyle balance like?

    Is it easy to meet new people especially if I do not speak Mandarin. Are there expat communities to make new connections and friendships with?

    Thank you for any help/advice

    Matthew

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  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,807

    As a chef your working hours will be the off hours of most expats. That will likely be a bigger obstacle to meeting people/making friends than a lack of language skills (also, I'd opine Mandarin is less useful socially than English and Cantonese). Your crowd might be the trailing spouse who is out and about during the day rather than at the office. I found Hong Kong to be the easiest place I've ever lived to make friends. Everyone is from somewhere else. Everyone has their own story on how they ended up in HKG. Automatically you have several things to talk about . . . i.e. Where you from? What do you do? Where do you live? What bar broadcasts matches of my favorite team? Have you found decent pizza yet? etc.

    As for work, there will be a learning curve as you work with locals and non-Brit expats. You'll be treading water for a while but you'll either get the hang of it or realize HKG is not for you. And without a partner or kids, the degree of difficulty is much less than for someone with one/both.

    Go for it. Enjoy. Make the most of it. Most on GXP have had great experiences.

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  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    10,861

    Social wise, local people speak Cantonese not Mandarin, only the small minority of Taiwanese and vast majority of recently immigrants from China speak Mandarin.

    To be honest, most people have fairly ok understanding of English in HK.

    I am not sure about chef, but English should be OK unless it's a fairly local restaurant


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    薄扶林
    Posts
    23,915
    I am not sure about chef, but English should be OK unless it's a fairly local restaurant
    Most of the expat / higher end non-chinese restaurants tend to have English speaking customer facing staff - filipinos, nepalese, indian, working-holiday types. English will not be an issue for a chef being imported in and even more so if the owners are not Chinese or overseas returned younger entrepreneurs.

    Lots of expats/english speakers in the F&B scene, not only in the service side, but also on the supply and consumption side. Building a social network will not be a problem, assuming you're willing to make a bit of an effort.

    The hours are a pain in the arse, esp if its a new restaurant. But that's the case almost anywhere in the world, right?
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  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    north point
    Posts
    211

    I personally would be a bit cautious working in the F&B industry in Hong Kong. Customers and land lords are incredibly fickle and some of the better western restaurants (e.g., Mercato by JGV, N.O.M., etc) have shut down due to the high operational costs.

    shri likes this.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    5,045

    Your experience depends on you. If you are open minded, enjoy Chinese food, rice and noodles, enjoy conveniences, then you'll have a good time. If you are the type to compare home, walk into a supermarket and expect your brands and foods then you'll have a hard time. Plenty of expats come here wanting everything they have back home then complain left and right about why you can't find this and why things are done this way. If this is your personality, you know it, save yourself the headache. You'll end up losing your 2 months security deposit on your flat and all of your furniture moving here then leaving early.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    5,045

    Meeting people is easy and on HK side a lot of foreigners and expats who speak English. Considering you can only have so many friends, it isn't a problem, just find a few good ones. Locals rarely have free time and often busy with family commitments and work.

    Problem is that many people come here and leave - not being able to make it or the extended holiday tourist who runs out of money.


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    122

    That's totally true and one of the distortions of Hong Kong. It's great if you are a land lord. In no other part of the world probably it's more beneficial to own land/property.


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    a sunny un spoilt paradise
    Posts
    6,741

    I think Hong Kong is quite ok for a single person with no ties, and if one has been a chef in London, I dare say
    ' the life' isnt going to be that much different in HK for any decent outfit ie Hotel etc

    It gets a a little more daunting where young children apply and the usual HK idiosyncrasies but you dont need to concern yourself with that.

    Things you will have to get used to:

    crowds
    waiting in lines
    noise
    air pollution
    light pollution
    people not cleaning up after themselves
    humidity get used to perspiration at times


    Housing in HK is going to be small, kitchen is going to be tiny with limited bench space, likely no conventional oven, a two burner gas hob, a front loading washing machine also occupying kitchen space, a small sink and a fridge. your washing is hung out the kitchen window ( usually ) You'll probably eat at work or bring food home I guess, so not a big deal.

    Get used to sitting about 2 to 3 metres from your tv in a lounge room that is just big enough for a small sofa, possibly fit a small dining table and I mean small. A small bedroom that will have most of its floor space taken up by a double bed and a tiny bathroom shower vanity and toilet, no built in robes so I suggest you pack light as most typically sized western furniture is proportionally too big for an average one bedroom HK flat.
    My suggestion would be to buy second hand furniture in HK via the many expat classifieds or shop at HK Ikea, which will be sized accordingly to a typical HK flat of 450ft2 gross size.


    For the first couple of years that you are in HK, you'll explore all of what HK has to offer in regard to its touristy places to see and do, but remember it is a tiny little city, and you can also fly to other locations in Asia, which are close at hand when you have some time off, like Vietnam, Macau, Xiamen, Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, Singapore, Thailand, Sth Korea, Japan etc while you have the opportunity and want a bit of a change in scenery in winter and summer.


    So my advice, give it a go, it will be great international experience for you, after about 3 months you'll find your feet once you get used to your new routine, surroundings and the kitchen dynamic at work etc.

    Enjoy


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    5

    Thanks all for your help and advice. I spoke with the recruiter and said when I find a suitable job they would me settle in, find some accommodation and introduce me to some people. I have to do it now as I am still 29 and he said they do special visa in HK for under 30.

    I am prepared to work hard. Hopefully I will have time to explore HK aswell as I hear most people tend to only get 1 day off a week?

    Thanks again.


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