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FOOD

Tong Chong Street Market: Winter Warmers

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By Arthur Tam

Brrrr, it’s getting cold outside, so let us bundle up in a cosy jumper and drink a bowl of hot, nourishing soup. For this month’s Tong Chong Street Market theme, Winter Warmers, a carefully curated selection of vendors is going to be serving soups and gourmet cuisines that reflect their company’s heritage.

Swire Properties has always been committed to building and supporting the community around Taikoo Place, which is why two of the selected vendors come straight from our very own neighbourhood: Malayan Restaurant and Herbaceous Teas. We talk to Nicola Wat of Malayan Restaurant about her traditional bak kut teh (pork rib tea) and Adrian Ma of Herbaceous Teas about his popular Chinese soups, and get their thoughts on the upcoming festival.

Malayan Restaurant
Signature: bak kut teh (Pork Rib Tea)


Is this your first time joining Tong Chong Street Market?

Yes, and I’m quite excited about it because I’ve been checking it out for the past few months and noticed that it’s attracting a lot of people from all over Hong Kong. I felt in previous years the market only attracted people from Quarry Bay and Taikoo Shing. So I’m impressed that this year it has grown so much. It’s a good community-building event, and I'm glad Swire Properties is working with businesses like us within the area.

What will you be serving?

Our signature bak kut teh as well as our satays and coconut jelly. We don’t use any MSG or food colouring in our dishes. The recipe for our bak kut teh comes from my grandfather, who is from Malaysia. He quit making it, so I decided I should carry on his legacy and bring it back to life here in Hong Kong. I’ve tried a lot of versions of this dish, but my grandfather’s recipe is still my favourite.

You're new to the neighbourhood, right?
Yes, the Quarry Bay location has been around for a few months, and our first shop in Chai Wan opened earlier last year. Quarry Bay seemed like a good location because I imagined we would get traffic from the office workers around here. This turned out to be true, and now we have a queue of people waiting to eat at our restaurant during lunchtime.

What are you going to be looking forward to at the event?
I hope visitors will have an opportunity to try our bak kut teh because it's unique and it’s a dish that probably people are not as familiar with outside of Malaysia.

I hope that in the future Swire Properties would do a night market version of Tong Chong Street Market. Night markets are really popular in Malaysia and Taiwan and I think it’s an untapped opportunity. I’m sure it would be very popular.

Herbaceous Teas
Signature: Chinese soup


Is this your first time joining Tong Chong Street Market?

Yes, it’s the first time participating and I’m glad we have the opportunity to interact with the press and to market ourselves. We don’t have these opportunities very often.

What motivated you to enter the herbal drink and Chinese soup business?

I used to work 16 to 17 hours a day as an accountant, which was considered reasonable compared with a lot of my former colleagues. I saw people falling sick all the time and people getting treatment for all sorts of illnesses. One colleague got surgery on a Saturday and then came back to work on a Monday. The work culture in Hong Kong is quite unhealthy, and I didn’t want to continue down this path, so I quit and decided to do something that can help people that don’t have enough time to take care of themselves.

How did you get into the business?

My family owns a Chinese medicine shop, so I’ve been around the products and have known how the business works since I was little. I thought it was a good idea to build upon the business and develop a brand of packaged Chinese herbal drinks and soups. With the increasing awareness of health and wellness, our products are becoming quite popular.

Can you tell us about your products?

We sell 10 different types of herbal tonics and some of our most popular winter drinks with office workers around the area are the cold and cough relief drink as well as the dampness-relief drink.

Our soups are made in Fo Tan fresh every day and then it's packaged and frozen. All you have to do is microwave it, and it'll be ready to drink. For winter I recommend the lean pork soup with apple, tendrilled fritillaria bulb and lodoicea maldivica, which helps soothe a cough and improve respiratory function. I also recommend our fish head soup with tall gastrodia tuber, Sichuan lovage rhizome and angelica dahurica root, which easies headaches and general fatigue.

We welcome customers to bring their own containers and we will offer HK$1 discount to them. We try to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

Details:
Malayan Restaurant - Tel: 2603 2818; facebook.com/malayanrestaurantquarrybay
Herbaceous Teas - Tel: 2321 2103; herbaceousteas.com


Stay tuned on the Tong Chong Street Market Facebook and Instagram for all the sumptuous offers from Winter Warmers at the Market.

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