Traditional scale shop
The scale-makers was the first shop I visited. All the weights there are handmade out of aluminium and copper. The shop, owned by Mrs Ho, sells different kinds of traditional Chinese scales, such as those used to weigh meat, medicine, and even gold. Besides the scales, the store also sells hand-crafted rulers and machine-made abacuses. "The shop used to be very popular, but now all the handmade scales have been gradually replaced by their more accurate digital counterparts," said our tour guide, Candice.
Sap Chan Hin (second-hand shop)
The next shop I visited was Sap Chan Hin, an extraordinary second-hand shop. It may be more convenient to browse products on a webpage, but being in an actual shop and looking through so many different things is like a treasure hunt. I found a book I had longed to buy but which was always "out of stock" online. The owner, Mr Wong Shan, gave me the book for free!
The Red Brick Building
The most eye-catching site of the tour was the Red Brick Building. It is well known for its red brick facade; hence its name. It was built in 1895 and was used as the engineer's office of the former Yau Ma Tei (water) Pumping Station. It was classified as a Grade I historical building in 2000. It is now used as the Yau Ma Tei theatre administration office. Together with the Yau Ma Tei Theatre, the buildings promote one of Hong Kong's cultural treasures - Cantonese opera.
Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market
Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market, which is also known as gwo laan in Cantonese, is one of the busiest places in the area, especially from 4am to 6am. Consisting of several blocks of pre-second-world-war buildings, the market is a historically valuable site. Many famous movies have also been filmed here, such as As Tears Go By () by Wong Kar-wai. Since 1990, it has been classified as a Grade III historical building.
Yau Ma Tei Theatre
The first movie screened at Yau Ma Tei Theatre was a silent Western classic. After the second world war, the theatre continued to provide leisure and entertainment services to nearby residents. Cantonese and Mandarin films were mainly shown in the 1960s and '70s. Today, the theatre promotes Cantonese opera. It is categorised as a Grade II historical building because, being built in 1930, it is the only pre-war cinema in Hong Kong.
Chinese Tea House
For HK$20, you can enjoy a cup of tea and watch a live performance at the tea house in Temple Street. The dimly lit room and colourful, glittery light bulbs will take you back in time. Since it opened 20 years ago, it has attracted customers of all ages. It offers a unique experience - you can pick a song and sing it on stage with a live band!
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