A photo of Aunt Lin with John Tsang in front of the Tai Mo Shan Kiosk. Photo: Facebook

A glimmer of hope has appeared for Tai Mo Shan Kiosk, with its 22-year wait for a license to sell cooked food finally being considered, but there is still no guarantee of success.

The kiosk’s said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) was examining the possibility of issuing a license.

The department advised the shop owner to sell only packaged items to customers who could heat the food themselves, either using the kiosk’s kettle or microwave oven.

The FEHD had earlier ordered the kiosk not to sell any food, particularly cooked items, because of customer complaints that it was unlicensed.

This case smacks of incompetence and short-sightedness of Hong Kong’s departments, which had seen the family-run stall caught between a rock and a hard place for more than two decades.

For the past 22 years, owner Aunt Lin had been waiting for approval for a food license from the FEHD to legally sell simple snacks such as tea eggs, beancurd pudding, siu mai and fishballs.

The kiosk has long been regarded as a respected refreshment stop for runners and hikers on the tallest peak in Hong Kong.  It also saw its 15 minutes of fame in January last year, when kiosk owner Aunt Lin served hot food and drinks to police officers, firefighters and the frost chasers, who had to be rescued, Apple Daily reported.

However, the FEHD did not grant a license because the kiosk had no sewage pipe or water meter, installations that the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) did not permit.

Aunt Lin had endured tough negotiations with the two departments during the past year, her goddaughter Chow Pui-yan told HK01.com. But in those talks neither department met to solve the kiosk’s dilemma.

This is one case. One can only imagine how many more are in a similar situation.