Commercial cooking emissions are important air pollution sources in a heavily urbanized city. Exhaust samples were collected in six representative commercial kitchens including Chinese restaurants, Western restaurants, and Western fast-food restaurants in Hong Kong during peak lunch hours. Both gaseous and particulate emissions were evaluated. Eight gaseous and twenty-two particulatepolycyclicaromatichydrocarbons (PAHs) were quantified in this study. In the gaseous phase, naphthalene (67–89%) was the most abundant PAH in all of the exhaust samples. The contribution of acenaphthylene in the gaseous phase was significantly higher in emissions from the Chinese restaurants, whereas fluorene was higher in emissions from the Western cooking style restaurants (i.e., Western restaurants and Western fast-food restaurants). Pyrene is the most abundant particulatePAH in the Chinese restaurants (14–49%) while its contribution was much lower in the Western cooking style restaurants (10–22%). Controlled cooking conditions were monitored in a staff canteen to compare the emissions from several different local cooking styles, including deep frying, steaming, and mixed cooking styles (combination of steaming and frying). Deep frying produced the highest amount of total gaseous PAHs, 6 times higher than the steaming. However, steaming produced the highest particulate emissions. The estimated annual gaseous PAH emissions for the Chinese restaurants, Western restaurants, and Western fast-food restaurants were 255, 173, and 20.2 t y⁻¹ whereas 252, 1.9, and 0.4 t y⁻¹ were estimated for particulate phase PAH emissions. The study provides useful information and estimates for PAH emissions from commercial cooking exhaust in Hong Kong. Copyright © 2007 The Royal Society of Chemistry.