Event #1: Yuen Long
May 9 2015  / 12:00noon – 4:30pm

About Yuen Long

Located at the northwestern New Territories of Hong Kong, Yuen Long literally meant an arable, extensive lowland along a river or lake. Geographically, Yuen Long is a large plain surrounded by hills on three sides. Given the fertile soil and dependable water supply, the earliest significant settlements in Yuen Long can be traced back to the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 AD).

Yuen Long Old Market was a thriving commercial centre as early as the 17th century. It was not only a distribution centre for agricultural produce and daily necessities of the villagers in Kam Tin and Ping Shan, but also a designated market for farmers, boat people and shoppers from villages along the coast of Guangdong Province. The streets in the market were lined with shops of various trades as well as traditional inns and wine shops. Today several of these old buildings remain in good condition nearly 200 years after they were built and are of high heritage value with the Old Market now known as ‘a street of the Qing Dynasty’.

Since the 1970s, the Hong Kong government started to develop the New Territories. Despite the rapid development and urbanization of Yuen Long, many traditional ceremonies and rituals are still observed by residents, namely Tin Hau Festival, Tai Ping Ching Chiao and Basin Meal. The district is also renowned for its abundance of antiquities and monuments. The great variety of food makes Yuen Long not only a favorite destination for local residents, but also a gourmet heaven attracting tourists from all over the world.

Yuen Long Food Street

Located at the town centre, Yau San Street (Yuen Long Food Street) offers a wide range of food choices; delicious snacks like the famous ‘B Boy Grass Jelly’, sweet tofu soup and satay; exotic offers from restaurants run by indigenous people from South Asian countries compliment the colourful array of flavour, scent and colour that abounds here.

Ho To Tai Noodle Shop

With its unique name – ‘Ho’ meaning good, ‘To’ to symbolize thoughtful service and ‘Tai’ referring to value for money; this 70 year old Yuen Long Cantonese noodle shop is one of the world’s best value Michelin restaurants. Ho To Tai Noodle Shop wins the heart of its customers with its fresh Cantonese egg and shrimp roe noodles while its famed dumplings filled with pork, shrimp and bamboo shoots are also hugely popular with customers.

Tai Wing Wah Restaurant

‘Wing Wah’ maybe best known in Chinese communities for their moon cakes; preserved meat sausages and ‘Wife Cakes’. Yet, the flagship restaurant of the Tai Wing Wah Restaurant chain located in Yuen Long is also renowned for its authentic ‘Walled Village’ cuisine. The veteran teahouse is always packed with families, especially over weekends where traditional Dim Sum including Malay Cake and Pork Dumplings as well as specialities such as Five-Flavour Chicken and Lard with Rice are eagerly eaten by generations of local families.

“Kai Tei” the Chicken Ground

The Kaifong (neighborhood) of Yuen Long refers to the residential area around Fung Kam Street Sports Centre as ‘Kai Tei’ meaning Chicken Ground. Historically poultry farming was common in the New Territories and in early 1960’s chicken farmers brought cages of chickens and ducks as they gathered in the open space at Yuen Long East whenever the market opened; thus ‘Kai Tei’ became famous; developed now as a high density residential area many streets are named starting with ‘Fung’ (Phoenix), as an historic association to the famous open market of the past.

Hong Kong Traditional Food Culture – ‘Dim Sum’

The phrase ‘Dim Sum’ reportedly originated in the Tang Dynasty and means ‘touch your heart’; ‘Dim Sum’ is one of the most representative dishes of Hong Kong cuisine, with over one hundred types of ‘Dim Sum’ representative of traditional recipes and more modern interpretations; the most traditional and classic being steamed Har Gao (Shrimp Dumpling), Shao Mai (Pork Dumplings) and Barbecued Pork Bun or Cha Siu Bao.

The experience of ‘Dim Sum’ is known as ‘Yum Cha’, which literally means ‘drinking tea’; Chinese people would ‘drink tea’ with some small snacks or small dishes of food eaten before lunch or dinner; as far back as the Qing Dynasty, people living in Guangdong Province in Southern China started enjoying ‘Dim Sum’ in tea house with their families and friends. This culture was the predecessor to Hong Kong-style ‘Yum Cha’.

Historical ‘Tea Houses’ in Hong Kong include Lin Heung Tea House (opened in 1918), Tak Yu Restaurant (opened in the 1920s), Luk Yu Tea House (opened in 1923) and Wing Wah Restaurant (opened in 1950).