Meeting Old Masters – Old Shops around Yau Ma Tei and Jordan
Hong Kong, apart from being one of the leading International Finance Centre in the Asia Pacific, has a lot of interesting and humanistic places apart from the cold and mundane skyscrapers that could be seen mostly on the island-side. Across the harbour, shops that have been tied to the roots of the beautiful land of Hong Kong for more than fifty years or even a century could be found.
This tour will lead you to take a better taste of Hong Kong’s local culture through visiting various stores in Yau Ma Tei –– ranging from local artisans’ stores that have been running for decades to the most famous Cha Chan Tang in Hong Kong.
Good to know
Highlights of the Tour
- To explore small local shops that have been running for more than half a century in Hong Kong
- To witness disappearing craftsmanship and cultures in Hong Kong
- To better understand the historical development of the Kowloon Peninsula
Stop 1: Luk Bing Kee Copperware
Started in the 30s, the Luk’s have been creating copperware for households and Chinese Medicine “Leung-cha” shops. Copper utensils like pots, jugs and Buddhist iconographies are produced by hand by the Luks for more almost a century.
Stop 2: Red Brick Building
Built in 1895, the Red Brick Building was formerly the Engineer’s Office for the old Water Pumping Station on Shanghai Street. It is the oldest surviving building of a water pumping station under the Hong Kong Water Supplies Department. The building has witnessed the 3-year Japanese Occupation during WWII and the handover of Hong Kong.
Stop 3: Lee Wo Scale Shop
Lee Wo Scale Shop has been standing on Shanghai Street in Yau Ma Tei since the 30s. Various eccentric scales ranging from “the hawkers’ scale” to the “flavour scale” used in traditional Canton restaurants can be found in this small store at the corner of Shanghai Street next to the Yau Ma Tei Fruitmarket.
Stop 4: Sze Cheung Woodenware
Started off as a store that sells wooden glide-wheels for commercial ships in the 1900s, Sze Cheung Woodenware is a woodenware store that sells hand-made woodenware in Hong Kong for more than a hundred years. You can even witness the store owner cutting up his timbers when you pass by this miniscule store at Yau Ma Tei!
Stop 5: Kwok Kee Wooden Carvery
The Kwok family has been carving wooden religious iconographies and ritualistic objects for Hong Kongers since 1980s. You can find as much wooden religious sculptures as you can in the store!
Stop 6: Mido Café
Known as the most “instagrammable” Cha Chan Tang in Hong Kong, Mido Café has been serving pineapple buns and pork-chop rice to Hong Kongers. Ascending along the stairs to the second floor of the restaurant, you can even see the picturesque view of the Tin Hau Temple fused with the street-views of Yau Ma Tei by the restaurant’s windowsill!
Stop 7 (optional) Jade Market
Chinese people are known to be obsessed with Jades –– as it is said to be able to bring people good luck and a peaceful state of mind. In the Jade Market, you will be surrounded by a sea of dazzling green jade jewelleries and the sight of people haggling with store owners for better deals for the jade ware.
Stop 8: Wo Shing Gold Shop
Founded in 1892, Wo Shing Gold Shop has been selling gold ware for more than a hundred years. The dazzling metal is believed to be sustainable in value hence Chinese people would buy gold as an investment; golden bangles and other jewelleries made of gold are also gifted for brides as a tradition in China. Hence Wo Shing has witnessed the prosperity and the happiness of Hong Kongers by welcoming happy customers who bought gold as investments for fortune, and for their newly wedded children.
Stop 9: Cheung Shing Incense Factory
Incense is an important object in Asian religious rituals. Cheung Shing Incense Factory is famous for its fragrant sandalwood fans that are made from spices and sandalwoods imported from India and Australia.
Stop 10: Kang Ming Glass Shop
Kang Ming Glass Shop has been serving Hong Kongers at the Shanghai Street by making mirrors and picture frames since the 1920s. Through the geometric frames and mirrors that are stacked within the store, one can be immersed in the hundred-year craftsmanship of the Chans.
Stop 10: Liu Ma Kee
Opened in 1905, Liu Ma Kee has been producing fermented bean curd for more than a century. The Liu’s hearty and careful production of the fermented bean curd has earned the family wide reputation all over the world –– the product is even sold across continents in America and Canada!