Hong Kong Journal: Why Laundromats Are the Hot New Place to Hang Out in Hong Kong

Why Laundromats Are the Hot New Place to Hang Out in Hong Kong HONG KONG — On a bustling Hong Kong street lined with dried seafood stores, where baskets of sea cucumber vie for space with scallops and abalone, one shop stands out. Amid the pungent smells of dried fish and shrimp, the scents of brewed coffee and freshly laundered clothes come wafting out of the aptly named Coffee & Laundry.
The shop — half laundromat and half cafe — offers customers a variety of drinks and pastries along with 10 self-service washing machines and dryers.
Washing their own clothes at a laundromat is a new experience for Hong Kong residents. The first self-service laundromat is believed to have opened only in 2014. Since then, the number has taken off; more than 180 laundromats had appeared by the beginning of this year, according to one estimate.
Why this proliferation of laundromats? The reason is Hong Kong’s increasingly acute shortage of affordable housing. As prices keep soaring in what is already the..