Last summer, there was an exhibition of old Hong Kong called “In My Life, Pearl of the Orient – Hong Kong” in Aberdeen Centre which refreshed my memory of the childhood.
The first picture shows a corner of a living room back in late 60s or early 70s. It has a black analog phone, Two Girls florida water and talc powder (Two Girls is a renowned Hong Kong brand established in 1898) and an old-fashioned radio. At that time, listening to radio wasn’t free, it required a monthly payment.
Below are photos of mini showcase of dim sum carts …
Nowadays we rarely have restaurants with dim sum push carts. This was very common til gradually replaced by menu order (即叫即蒸) in the 90s. When I was in Hong Kong, I was okay with 蝦餃燒賣 (shrimp & pork dumplings, the most popular dim sum dishes). After coming to Canada, it was even nicer with double size or jumbo size 蝦餃燒賣 ! After few years of weekly jumbo jumbo jumbo dumplings 每週 or 週週特大蝦餃燒賣, I was reluctant to eat them anymore. But now I’m okay to have them once in a while.
What is your favourite sweet soup?
紅豆沙 - red bean
綠豆沙 - green bean
芝麻糊 - black sesame
咋喳 - mixed bean
西米露 - tapioca
During my childhood, my family often had dim sum after picking up my little brother from kindergarten at noon and before the start of my afternoon class (I was studying 下午班 ), somehow my mom always ordered 咋喳 “ChaCha”(mixed bean sweet soup) for me and I always accepted it. So she thought it was my no. 1 favourite! Actually I was just ok with 咋喳 but not at the level of dying for it.
Hmmm… I really miss the yummy colourful dessert cart, my favourite is the jello cup decorated with a mini umbrella on top.
Now we either have to wait to be seated or make reservation. Back to 30 years ago, it was common to find the seats ourselves. Every time we went to a Chinese restaurant, we would look around to see which table would likely be finished shortly. It really depended on luck since our guess could be wrong … sometimes people had a long chat before asking for the bill, sometimes they liked to order more dim sum when the table was empty. To minimize this problem, my family (dad, mom, me & my brother) would 兵分四路 pick a table individually & wait separately. Whoever got a table first would inform other members by a bit of yelling or waving hands (remember there was no cell phone for communication at that time). Sometimes we may have to share the table with strangers (example: a large table of 10 but we only had 4 persons).
In the middle of our dim sum, we often heard “Done Done Done Done X先生請聽3號線電話” (an announcement of “Done Done Done Done Mr. X, please answer phone no. 3”). Nowadays this doesn’t happen anymore since almost everybody has a cell!
Hong Kong Style Café (茶餐廳) – used to call 冰室 in the past. Even though the menu is not too healthy, it’s very delicious with very reasonable price! I really love 西多士, 火腿通心粉 & 凍檸水 (Hong Kong style French toast topped with syrup and butter, Hong Kong style cold lemon water & shredded ham with macaroni in soup). YUMMY!
We may still be able to see traditional handmade sweets stall on the street in Hong Kong but not too many thou
Many traditional grocery shops have been replaced by super markets. Today the eggs are all packed in a carton in the super markets. I still remember how they did it in the grocery shop when I was a little kid. Customers could choose the eggs ... just pick one and put it under a light to see if the egg yolk was intact, then place the flawless egg in a red round-shaped plastic basket provided by the store. Repeated the same procedure for the second, third egg etc. Once the customer finished picking eggs and paid, the eggs were wrapped by newspapers, I think.