Friday, July 09, 2010

Hong Kong's Best Kept Secrets Series - Tiao Yuan Soya Sauce 調源醬油

It's a very well kept secret.

An extremely low profiled old money family in Hong Kong has been producing the Tiao Yuan soya sauce since time long forgotten.  The family, among the very rich though, is little known.  Members of the family have been patrons to China Care Fund, a local charity that is quietly helping many poor students (especially girls) in the more remote parts of China.  The family once hosted a causal party for the China Care Fund's people at the family mansion in Fanling.  I was lucky to be invited.  It was not a fancy party like the ones at Four Seasons but there were good friends, good food and good chats.  After the party the guests were presented some souvenirs - two bottles of Tiao Yuan soya sauce, freshly brewed from the in-house brewing facilities, which were behind the mansion and next to the private peacocks garden (there were some real peacocks!).  Nice party souvenirs indeed.  The soya sauce is brewed in the way their great grandparents did it.  No chemicals added; no preservatives, no artificial colouring and nothing of those substances whose names I cannot spell.  Just good materials and a lot of attention and a lot of time.  The soya sauce making business is now more a family heritage than a money-making business.  They are making it for friends, relatives and old customers who still remember them.  Production is extremely small.  There used to be an outlet in Causeway Bay but it is now gone.  To buy the soya sauce you need to go to Sham Shui Po and look for a little shop called Tai Hing Food, which is right opposite to Pei Ho Street Market Building.   Trust me, it is the best soya sauce you can find.  The price is a little unreal - it's HK$20 per bottle.  It makes the price for the balsamic vinegar from Modena or Reggio Emilia sound like a joke.


Aileen said...

This is a really useful post. Now I have a gift idea (and story) for my inlaws. For just a few flashes of my Octopus card and a few $HKD20 bills I will have a good shot at impressing the near-unimpress-able! Thanks so much

W said...

Glad to know that the post may help. Lucky am I that my inlaws are the easiest people to please.

Anonymous said...

The soy sauce came in recycled Blue Girl Beer bottles.

W said...

Even better then, isn't it?

The beer may well be the secret ingredient.

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