The former Miss Hong Kong talks to Robyn Or about acting and selling fish balls.

I lived in Wah Fu Estate when I was young. My home was near the seaside so it was comfortable during summer time. I could see Waterfall Bay and Lamma island from the windows. After school, my neighbours and I would roller skate together outside our homes.

At that time my mother was a hawker selling pajamas. In the mornings, I would go with her to the market before school. It was fun – I would get free soy milk, sh balls and dumplings from the other hawkers.

After graduation, I worked as a flight attendant at a local airline company. Meeting people from different countries and travelling non-stop all over the world marked a turning point for me – I became more con dent and nicer to people. After one and a half years of crew life, my friends and family encouraged me to join the 1994 Miss Hong Kong Pageant.

Winning the crown was a real surprise. Right after, I was appointed to be the anchor of a singing championship. I still remember how nervous I was, without any proper training in acting or anchoring. My partner, Lawrence Cheng, led me throughout the show.

During my 18 years at TVB, one of my most unforgettable acting roles was that of the evil grand wizard in “Legend of the Demigods”. On the first day of shooting I had to do wire- flying without any notice. It was scary at first, but I got used to it. To master the role, I learned martial arts and studied how a wizard moves and talks.

My time as a singer was short, though I published two EPs. Acting is more my passion as it allows me to live another life in front of the camera. But it became my hobby after I quit TVB and decided to start my second life as a snack shop owner.

Running a snack shop reminds me of my childhood with my mother. I feel more connected to people; it is a totally new adventure from my previous life as an actress. I opened my first snack shop in Causeway Bay in 2014. It sells vintage local snacks like fish balls, rice rolls and three stuffed treasures. The Tsim Sha Tsui branch is new and sells fried sushi and afternoon tea.

We had to overcome a few hurdles, for example, understanding district characteristics. We once found a fresh fruity popsicle from a supplier which we thought customers would love in the summer, but it turned out people expect savoury snacks from us. It’s a process of trial and error.

My role in the shop is to be an all-rounder. When it’s lunchtime (peak hour), I stay at the back and prepare the food – cutting the rice rolls and stuffing the three treasures. In the afternoon, I usually stand in the front of the shop so I can chat with customers and get their feedback. I always prepare soup for my partners and staff. I hope they can work happily with me.

In face of the changing economic situation, we are focusing on improving food quality (getting better suppliers) and expanding into new customer groups (sourcing more creative yet traditional food items). We plan to expand into the New Territories.

Acting is still part of my life. It is actually more enjoyable now than when I was working as a full-time actress because I work regular hours (nine hours per day) and can better allocate my time. I like to travel with my husband and parents on vacation. If there is any idle time left after work and family, I take part in short dramas to satisfy my acting needs!