Where Hongkongers come shopping for dried seafood
Salted fish street
This part of town is also known as 'salted fish street'. In what used to be a cluster of dried seafood shops, one shop is still proudly standing, and that is this simple green shed with a 60-year-old signboard: Ng Wai Kee.
Mr Ng Wai was only nine years old when he walked all the way from his native Dongguan across the border to Hong Kong. He first made a living by picking up golf balls at Fanling Golf Course and then found a job at the Salted Fish Street here in Sai Ying Pun. He says: "Life was harsh in those days. I slept on a bed made out of two wooden planks. But I persevered and opened my own shop, Ng Wai Kee, the evening before I turned 20."
Business flourished. On a good day, Mr Ng would sell 20 mats, equalling more than 2,000 fish. The shophouses in Mui Fong Street were like small factories: all of the fish would be salted in the backrooms and dried on the balconies. He remembers those days: "You'd be lucky if the weather was dry. If it was raining, you had to move the fish indoors, and if there were typhoons, you had to start all over again."
Salted fish sauce
Local designer Kay Chan is on a mission to rebrand salted fish by creating a sauce that suits the current generation's tastebuds. She has also come to Ng Wai Kee's for expert advice. Get a bottle at Form Society (HK$88).