Experiences involving food in Hong Kong
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
What are some of the basic principles?
Your guest’s health and safety should always come first. For example, it would be a good idea to take your guests to (or otherwise serve them food from) reputable restaurants or professional caterers who keep clean facilities, use fresh ingredients, and have a good food safety track record. Also ask your guests in advance about any food allergies they may have, or religious or philosophical codes that may impact what kind of food they eat.
Are there any specific rules I need to follow if I want to serve food to guests in a home setting?
If your Experience involves charging for meals or un-bottled drinks (which are drinks prepared for immediate consumption which do not require storage in sealed containers) to be consumed on-site, you may be required to obtain a Restaurant Licence from the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene pursuant to the Food Business Regulations (Cap 132X) (“Food Business Regulations”).
In addition, you may be required to obtain a Restricted Food Permit. Restricted Food Permits are required in order to sell “restricted foods” including sushi and sashimi, oysters and meat to be consumed in their raw state, milk, frozen confections, cut fruit, non-bottled drinks, etc. For a full list, please refer to Schedule 2 of the Food Business Regulations.
Further information on how to apply for a Restaurant Licence and Restricted Food Permits is available on the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department’s website. You can also contact the Restaurant Licensing Resource Centre and your relevant District Environmental Hygiene Office for more details.
Please be aware that failure to comply with the applicable licensing and/or permit requirements may result in criminal liability. For example, failure to comply with the food business licensing requirement carries a maximum penalty of a fine of HKD 50,000, imprisonment for 6 months, as well as a daily fine of HKD 900 for each day the conduct continues.
You may additionally be required to comply with various requirements relating to health and safety, for example in relation to the cleanliness and repair of food premises, cleanliness of equipment, protection of food from risk of contamination, etc. Further information can be found in the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department's Food Hygiene Code
In addition, you may need to consider whether providing your Experience at the intended premises is in compliance with the laws and legal documents relating to the use of the premises. These include, for example, the Buildings Ordinance (Cap 123), the relevant occupation permit, Government grant or deed of mutual covenant ("DMC") of the premises, or any relevant lease, tenancy or licence agreement relating to the premises. For example, the Government grant, DMC and/ or lease may require you to use the premises for private residential purpose only (i.e. no commercial activities), or may prohibit certain trades such as operating a food business. If you are in any doubt as to whether you are lawfully permitted to offer your Experience on your premises, we would encourage you to consult with your lawyer.
My Experience will involve holding cooking classes. Are there any specific rules that I need to follow?
You will not need a Restaurant Licence or Restricted Food Permit to hold a cooking class, provided that you only charge one fee for the Experience. However, if you levy separate and additional charges, e.g. for extra ingredients, or for any food cooked or provided by you, you may need to obtain licences and/or permits under the Food Business Regulations. For further information on what licences and/or permits may be required, please refer to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department’s website.
You may also need to consider whether providing the Experience at the intended premises is in compliance with the laws and legal documents relating to the use of the premises, including, for example, the Buildings Ordinance (Cap 123), occupation permit, Government grant, DMC, lease, tenancy or licence agreement. Please see the above section for more information.
My Experience will involve preparing and/or serving food to be consumed by guests in other circumstances. Are there any rules that I need to look out for?
If your Experience involves preparing food for sale, or selling food, other licences may be applicable (such as Composite Food Shop Licence or Food Factory Licence). For further information on what licences and/or permits may be required, please refer to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department’s website.
You may similarly also need to consider whether providing the Experience at the intended premises is in compliance with laws and legal documents relating to the use of the premises, including, for example, the Buildings Ordinance (Cap 123), occupation permit, Government grant, DMC, lease, tenancy or licence agreement. Please see the above section for more information.
Is there anything else I should think about?
If your Experience also involves serving or providing alcohol, we encourage you to take a look at our information page on Experiences Involving Alcohol in Hong Kong. Similarly, if your Experience combines food with another activity (for example, a guided tour), please take a look at our other information pages to see if any other rules might apply to your Experience. You should also refer to our Business Registration page for information as to whether you will need to register a business.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
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