Hong Kong might be filled to the brim with fancy restaurants and trendy international chains, but there’s a whole different — and often under-appreciated — side of the city that gives it its unmistakable cultural identity. Enjoy this photo story of traditional Hong Kong food artisans, taken by photographer Alan Pang. Can’t get enough? Check out our book for more amazing images from Alan, with beautiful background stories to go along.
The bamboo pole artist
Mr. Lee of Kwan Kee noodles in Cheung Sha Wan demonstrates how to make “bamboo” (jook sing) noodles, a particular strain of wonton noodles that get their springiness from hours of manual pounding via bamboo pole. These days, it’s a dying art, as fewer and fewer people are willing to learn the laborious craft.
The dessert soup specialist
Rose Cheuk has been making tofu fa pudding, sesame paste and other traditional Cantonese dessert soups by hand for decades. Here she is at her Station Tofu Pudding shop in Tai O, roasting sesame seeds for a fresh batch of ground sesame paste soup.
The roast goose master
A senior chef at Kam’s Roast Goose in Wan Chai admires his work. The roast goose at Kam’s are from a special type of domestic swan geese from Guangdong province that owner Hardy Kam (grandson of Yung Kee owner Kam Shui-fai) sources especially for his restaurant. The geese are all roasted and marinated in-house.
The candy hawker
Tong Sung-chiu took over his father’s humble dried sweets stall, Lemon King, in Central to keep the family business running. Lemon King is famous for its candied “lemons” (made from sweetened preserved kaffir limes) and on any given day, you’ll see a long queue of loyal customers waiting patiently for their goods.
The sauce maker
Workers fill up jars of fermented bean (douban) sauce at Kowloon Soy’s Yuen Long factory. Kowloon Soy, run by proprietor Ken Wong, is most known for its soy sauce — but the brand makes almost every soybean-based sauce under the sun, as well as pickled vegetables and other Cantonese condiments.
The rice guru
Wong Tak-kam is sifting through rice kernels for impurities at his shop, Shing Hing Tai, in Shek Kip Mei. He still manually handles the rice-sorting and rice-mixing process to ensure his customers go home with the best quality products.
The photo stories are all excerpts from this book.