Wherever I live (and I’ve lived in many places) I always support local heritage and traditions. Not blindly, only if it adds value or something special to local life.
On Hong-Kong-side, where Gage Street meets Lyndhurst Terrace, you’ll find the Lan Fong Yuen restaurant, which, since the 1950s, has served a drink called “silk-stocking milk tea” from a little green booth just outside its front door.
The booth, a registered dai pai dong (an outside eatery), is owned by Lum Muk-ho, a man well into his eighties; but government policy does not allow a dai pai dong owner to pass the licence to another person, so someday it will have to close.
From the booth, they sell the “milk tea” to go, but I wanted to check out the restaurant inside. It was smaller than I expected – but very busy – and is frequented mainly by workers from the local shops and offices. Snack-type dishes seemed popular, so I ordered some French toast and, of course, a glass of the legendary milk tea.
However, when the tea arrived, I was reminded of the old saying: ‘If it looks like a duck … then it probably is a duck’. To my eyes, it looked like tea with con-densed milk. It even tasted like tea with condensed milk. So, it probably is.
To say I felt disappointed would be an understatement.
The day Mr. Lum goes to the great restaurant in the sky will be a sad day. But, after he’s gone, I shall not support any effort to save the little green booth.
I’m guessing this booth became a fixture simply because nobody could be bothered to remove it. In my view, it has no real heritage value, and adds nothing special to local life. At the appropriate time, someone should remove it.
I won’t tell you how to get there as I don’t want to waste your time.