The Beijing’s control over Hong Kong is tightening up. The political and social environment of the city is suffocating. One may want to look into the history to have some respite from the reality, but even history, in this city, has so little left.
Take Central, currently the city’s financial centre. Here is what is left.
I have introduced Chan Yee Jai earlier. Next to it, on the same side of sidewalk, stand three old buildings retaining arcade architecture. They are probably the oldest buildings still standing in Central (176 Queen’s Road Central). Sincere, the oldest department store in Hong Kong founded in 1900, had its store in one of the buildings.
Lin Heung Tea House (蓮香樓) (160 Wellington Street, Central) is another legend in Central. It is most famous for producing very smooth lotus seed paste, and is credited for pioneering the moon cakes for Mid-Autumn Festival. First established in Guangzhou in 1889, and branched out to Hong Kong in 1918, the tea house is among the oldest tea houses in Guangzhou and Hong Kong. It was Lin Heung Tea house and its like that have set the trend of Yum Cha (飲茶) in Southern China.
In the Tea House, the old way of keeping a kettle warm retains. Tea serving is a tradition that you can still witness here. Relatively old waiters will help serve the tea, with first round being tea leave washing and second round the real tea to be served. Here, you must order buns with lotus seed paste, the signature dish here.
This lane, without the informing by an expert in Hong Kong history, I would not have known is so much steeped in history. Man Wa Lane (文華里), a small lane in Central filled with small stalls to offer seals, was once very prosperous as in old times, people relied on seals as identification. The lane has been in existence since 1850.