Bargaining in Hong Kong

February 27, 2013 in Cantonese

Editor’s Note: This is the first post in a series of posts by our volunteers that aims to inform and excite you about some of our many diverse language sessions! We hope you enjoy reading them!!

When you travel to Hong Kong, there are several well-known attractions you ought to visit. Ladies Street is one of Hong Kong’s most renowned places, known for the unique bargaining style that shoppers can engage with the vendors. With over 100 stalls of clothing, accessories and souvenirs, Ladies Street provides an unforgettable shopping experience to foreigners.

Bargaining in Hong Kong is a must if you want to get the lowest price for your purchase; here are some tips and common phrases used by locals when they enter a bargaining situation. First of all, it is suggested to check with the seller about the price by pointing at the product and saying 唔該幾多錢呀 (ng4 goi1 gei2 do1 cin4 aa1), as it literally means how much is this (item). By checking the price with the sellers, you initiate the bargaining process and it shows the seller about your interest towards the item. The initial price is usually negotiable and it is thought to be the “custom” to bargain at Ladies Street. If you believe that the item that you’re trying to purchase is overpriced, you can say 平d啦,靚仔/ 靚女 (peng4 d laa1 leng3 zai2/ leng3 neoi5) when bargaining with the seller. The phrase “peng4 d laa1 leng3” is a generic term to ask the seller to lower the price, and “leng3 zai2” literally means handsome guy, and in this context it refers to male sellers of all ages. Similarly, “leng3 neoi5” refers to good-looking girl and it refers to female sellers. Once you have tried to ask for a better price, the sellers usually appreciate your effort and will lower the price. If the seller refuses to lower the price, don’t panic! There are probably several different stalls selling the same product at Ladies Street! To get the best bargain, check with different stalls and it is possible that you can find a lot of good deals from there!

Hong Kong - Ladies Street

Used with permission under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). Author: G&R @ Flickr.com

Ladies Street can be found at Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong.