In North America, the reaction most people have when they see a police car flash its lights to get through an intersection more quickly is to snark that the cops must be late for their doughnut break, a police stereotype that will never die.
But when it happens in Hong Kong, no one thinks or says anything about doughnuts, because most Hong Kong cops walk the beat, and more importantly, they don't eat doughnuts. In fact, Hong Kong has few if any doughnut shops. Doughnuts aren't all that popular; they just don't grab Hong Kongers like they do folks in Canada and the United States. What the Big Lychee does have are innumerable bakeries churning out fare more in tune with the local palate, such as say, Pineapple Buns (no pineapples are harmed during the baking of said buns, which only resemble the look of a pineapple), Barbeque Pork Buns, or Portuguese egg tarts.
That's not to say that some bakeries don't offer doughnuts, only that a glazed doughnut is not a big seller. That's one reason Krispy Kreme crashed and burned after barely two years in business: it opened a rash of stores from September 2006 and went into liquidation in October 2008.
But we can't blame the cops for the demise of Krispy Kreme, why should they eat doughnuts when hardly anyone else does? All of which got me wondering what in fact the cops do eat. I can't recall a time I've ever seen a beat cop with so much as a cup of coffee in his hand. It's as though a regulation exists that forbids officers from appearing to need sustenance.
So now whenever I see a police vehicle flash its lights I'm forced to wonder if he's late for dim sum, or perhaps afternoon tea.
But it just doesn't feel right.