Photography: Old shops and cafes in Sham Shui Po

This headline is probably a contradiction, Sham Shui Po is a very old district anyway! So no wonder that there are many old shops and cafes in this district… and it’s one of my favourite areas in Hong Kong to just walk around with a camera in your hand (see a previous post here).

Sham Shui Po 1 herbal store

Today I was just interested in old shops – like this herbal store above. It is one of many in the area and I’ve seen several people going inside, with a description or recipe in their hands and then ordering the individual ingredients. Some of the ingredients are then cut or smashed, depending on what the intended use is.

Sham Shui Po 3 butcher

Butchers in Hong Kong always fascinate me – but the sight is not for the light-hearted. It’s meat-galore with lots of different cuts hanging everywhere… after I took this shot, the butcher on the left was keen to show me what he had prepared. Let’s just say it looked interesting, but I didn’t purchase anything. If I just knew how to order a ‘Tafelspitz’ I might get one, that’s the only cut I’ve never been able to find in Hong Kong or even in the UK.

Sham Shui Po 2 cafe

Finally, after all the walking and shopping, you’ll need a break. You could have a late breakfast (what about instant noodles with spam and soup?) or just a coffee and a freshly baked bun.

Or maybe it’s time for dinner, then try chicken wings in Swiss sauce. If you are wondering what those are, they are marinated in sweetened dark soy sauce. The urban legend behind the name, was a miscommunication between a Chinese waiter and an English-speaking customer in a Hong Kong cafe. The Chinese waiter told the English speaker the sauce was called “Sweet sauce”, but the English speaker thought it was “Swiss sauce”.


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