FRIDAY, JAN 12 from 2-4.30pm
MEETING POINT: 2pm at Connaught Rd Exit, Western Market, Sheung Wan MTR station
Maximum tour capacity: 22 persons
Tour Highlights: with professional tour guide Olivia Tang!
- Visit some of Sheung Wan’s oldest shops that specialise in dried seafood and traditional Chinese medicine, and hear their owners talk about the distinctive trading practices and tales that have endured in the area
- Learn about how the Chinese traditionally look after their health through Chinese medicine
- Learn about the evolution of Chinese food tastes and banquet culture.
You’ve probably heard about how Chinese food culture and Chinese medicine give special status to certain ingredients that in other parts of the world would be considered strange or even absolute “no-go zones”. Dried abalone and sea cucumber, horse and monkey gallstones or whale’s vomit, are the speciality of some 100 stores in the economic heart of old Sheung Wan. These businesses are continuing a proud and long history, but the context they operate in today is very different to when it all started in the mid-19th century.
This tour will focus on a story-laden trinity of streets off Des Voeux Road West, and we’ll be asking: Why do the Chinese prize these food and medicinal items so highly? Why are these expensive delicacies and health remedies found in so many stores in this part of Hong Kong? Where do they come from and where will they be shipped to? We’ll not only introduce you to the quirky taste buds of the Chinese, but we’ll also visit the intriguing trade system originally founded in 1860s Sheung Wan to circulate the celebrated purchases between Southeast Asia and China, and which today has expanded into a vast network covering most continents of the world.
Owners of the area’s oldest dried seafood and Chinese medicine stores will also share their memories of the special trading community that they belong to and by extension, of the oft-forgotten role that three little streets in the area played in Hong Kong’s transformation into an international trade centre.