Pulsating heart of traditional trades
A little box of tea
Drink ‘the little box of tea’ 盒仔茶 was a rather common saying in Hong Kong family life in the 70s. Parents would give their kids tea from this little box whenever they felt unwell, similar to a modern-day vitamin C tablet or a hot ginger and lemon drink to fight upcoming flu.
The little boxes are produced by Yuen Kut Lam 源吉林, a family-run tea business established by the Yuen family. This is no ordinary tea, it is a unique blend made from 28 herbal substances which take six days to infuse. The Yuen Kut Lam tea recipe is more than 100 years old and based on the family principle of finding the best possible quality combination of flavours and health benefits.
Next door to Yuen Kut Lam you can spot the big wooden barrels filled with rice; this is San Hing Rice Shop 生興米行 a traditional rice seller. This may look like a wholesaler but is actually the opposite. A typical neighbourhood ‘mom & pop’ shop where housewives came (and still come) to buy small quantities of different types of rice from around Asia. People from the 60’s generation take their rice very seriously not too chewy and not too soft.
In this shop, they have an expert opinion on rice and are happy to explain the differences in tastes and textures between the different grains. They’ll throw in some tips on how to cook rice to perfection and how to make the best congee. More importantly, they keep the neighbourhood feel and local community alive.
San Hing Rice Shop 生興米行 . 116-118 Jervois Street