Tropical Geography ›› 2020, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (5): 775-785.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003277

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Place and Placelessness: The Perception of Tourists' Local Food Taste in Hong Kong

Tong Wen(), Yulin Zhang, Yi Liang()   

  1. School of Management, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China
  • Received:2020-03-20 Revised:2020-06-21 Online:2020-09-28 Published:2020-10-10
  • Contact: Yi Liang;


Considering the debate between place and placelessness research brought about by globalization, scholars discuss their views around the simple relationship of "local-global" duality. However, existing research focusses on the powerful class characterized by wealth, ignoring the role of the general public as the disadvantaged group in the dual evolution of place and placelessness. In response to this problem, this study adopts a qualitative research method to conduct a content analysis on the online comments of Chinese and foreign tourists on local food in Hong Kong. The study's findings indicate the following. First, the experience evaluation of tourists shows that whether it is the innovation of food products, a diversified decoration of the dining environment, or the content and form of restaurant services, Hong Kong food culture reflects the integration of Chinese and Western cultures. Further, it has assimilated Western culture to adopt innovations while retaining traditional Chinese characteristics. The coexistence of place and placelessness shows that through globalization, tourists not only want to experience the new and exciting "place" of their target destination. They also need a standard "placelessness" that provides them with a sense of security and comfort. In this process, place and placelessness tolerate, transform, and promote each other and even generate new local products with global attributes. The counter-effects to globalization are reflected through such a process. That is, place and placelessness are not—as many scholars worry—being penetrated by globalization, but rather both can be transformed into each other, and then react to and redefine globalization. This is how a locality presents new cultural connotations in the process of constant internal and external interactions, thereby forming a "new locality," and global forces reconstruct the local meaning. Second, different from wealth, power, and culture, the influence of factors such as the community play a significant role in the process of globalization. People, particularly tourist groups, have a direct influence on wealth and power through consumer choice and the power of the culture subject gaze. The public's adherence to the place will have a direct impact on wealth and power through huge consumer demand, which will guide the protection and creation of local elements. This is the key to the formation of "global significance." On the contrary, globalization can produce a homogenized value identity that transcends the boundaries of the nation-state and then creates a universal standard space with placelessness. In this space, mass groups of different cultural backgrounds can quickly develop a sense of identity and comfort, which is relatively more helpful in ensuring the quality of consumer experience for such groups that rapidly travel worldwide. As previously mentioned, place and placelessness in the tourism space can be transformed into each other, and the process of transformation primarily depends on the value and meaning construction of the place by tourists in the subject's gaze. At the same time, different results will be produced due to differences in various social groups and cultural backgrounds. Nevertheless, globalization is reducing this cultural difference.

Key words: globalization, place, placelessness, local food taste, Hong Kong

CLC Number: 

  • F59