Foreign catering firm-owners and “home”: reflections on African catering services in Hong Kong

Streaming Media


The Chinese in Africa / Africans in China Research Network Conference Organising Committee in collaboration with the Centre for Cultural Research and Development at the Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University, Hong Kong; and the Institute for Emerging Markets Studies at HKUST.

Event Title

CAAC2021 8th Online Mini-symposium : Can Hong Kong Be Home? Sub-Saharan Africans’ Experiences of Belonging/Not Belonging

Document Type





9:00 p.m.


Online Session via Zoom


Hong Kong has attracted Africans as permanent residents, asylum seekers or traders who use the city as a conduit in their travel between China and Africa. While the lives and livelihoods of asylum seekers and traders have attracted scholarly attention, small business owners, and particularly catering firm owners, have been less focused upon. In this paper, I investigate the livelihoods, lives, and senses of home of African catering firm owners in Hong Kong. I explore questions such as, what kinds of assets do they have access to and control over, including financial, human, social, and physical capitals? What kinds of structures and processes (policies, laws, institutions) influence their lives and livelihoods? What sorts of vulnerability contexts (trends, shocks, and seasonality) do they face? What strategies do they implement to cope with these vulnerabilities? On the basis of these strategies, are they able to feel that Hong Kong is their home, or does it remain a place of foreignness for them? I investigate these questions through in-depth interviews and long-term and frequent contact with African catering firm owner in Hong Kong, and thereby put in perspective the larger question of whether, practically and emotionally for these African restaurant owners, Hong Kong can indeed serve as home.



Additional Information


Fekadu Malede ABITEW is a PhD student in anthropology from Ethiopia at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and is researching low-end globalization among Ethiopian traders in China, Dubai, and Turkey. He holds a Hong Kong PhD Fellowship.

Recommended Citation

Abitew, F. M. (2021, October 29). Foreign catering firm-owners and “home”: Reflections on African catering services in Hong Kong [Video podcast]. Retrieved from