A Fisgard Street parking meter is almost completely obscured by a shipment of fresh produce to Jia Hua Trading in Chinatown.

Chinatown businesses draw on past

Meats, herbs among the offerings in Canada's oldest Chinatown

  • Jul. 4, 2013 7:00 a.m.

Not long ago, if you needed vegetables or meat or maybe flour, you would head down to your neighbourhood butcher, baker or grocer to restock the pantry.

Nowadays, with major grocery chains dominating the market, that’s generally no longer the situation.

Yet in Chinatown, where niche, hole-in-the-wall delicatessens still line Fisgard Street, sometimes with exotic-looking foods hanging in the windows, that nostalgic neighbourhood feeling is still a reality.

Loy Sing Company, a cooked meat store, has been in operation for 129 years. The current owners cook a whole pig everyday, which is typically all sold by the end of the day.

Co-owner Shelly Rong said the shop thrives because of its longevity and because of the food.

“You keep the food good then everybody comes back,” she said. “Lots of people know this, even people far away in Vancouver, they know the place already. I don’t need lots of advertising, they know we’re already here.”

Just around the corner is the Victoria BBQ House and Bakery, which serves a wide variety of savoury and sweet buns and other baked items, along with meat.

Owner Ken Ng, speaking through his bilingual daughter Helen, said the variety the shop offers keeps it alive, along with offering products not found at the larger grocery stores, and a more personal shopping experience.

“The customers, when they come, you kind of get to know each other and they become regular customers,” Helen said. “I guess it’s the atmosphere. (Grocery stores) are so big, you don’t really get to know anybody. But usually these places, it’s always the same people.”

Across Government Street and up Fisgard a little ways further you’ll find K&N Chinese Herbs, a traditional herbalist. Here, everything from Chinese yams to dried seahorses to various roots and fungi are sold to help ease all types of ailments, from the common cold to chronic pain.

Herbalist John Wong recently sold the store, but still mixes the soothing concoctions and spends his free time in the back of the shop practicing traditional Chinese calligraphy.

The herbalist, along with the other mom-and-pop shops of Chinatown, survives and thrives, thanks to the committed locals who have helped keep such businesses a stalwart of Victoria culture.

——

Come down to Victoria’s Chinatown and find various ethnic favourites. Among them:

– Crispy pork

– BBQ pork

– Peking duck

– Sponge cake

– Almond biscuits

Just Posted

Beware of geese: Nesting season may trigger aggressive behaviour

Greater Victoria residents will have to be wary of nesting geese in the area

British Columbians are paying more for booze but also broccoli

Victoria’s inflation was 2.3 per cent, a tick above Vancouver’s of 2.2 per cent

Scottish cultural centre proposed for View Royal

A 10,000 square foot building is proposed for the Craigflower Manor grounds

Victim of cyber attack speaks out, highlights Sidney generosity

Business association head talks of ‘horrendous consequences’ in wake of scam

Victoria hosts ‘Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave’

The hockey cave was recently featured on a Netflix special

Morneau unveils principles for Indigenous ownership in Trans Mountain pipeline

The controversial pipeline was bought by Ottawa last year

Refugee who sheltered Edward Snowden in Hong Kong arrives in Canada

Vanessa Rodel and her seven-year-old daughter Keana arrived in Toronto this week

New UMSCA trade deal getting a boost from Trump, business groups

The trade deal is designed to supplant the North American Free Trade Agreement

Trudeau says he, Wilson-Raybould had cordial conversation last week

Trudeau denies anything improper occurred regarding SNC-Lavalin and the PMO

SNC-Lavalin backtracks on CEO’s comments surrounding potential job losses

Top boss had said protecting 9,000 jobs should grant leniency

Vancouver Island home to B.C.’s luckiest lotto store

Five million-dollar winners bought tickets from same Port Alberni corner store

Video of ‘brutal, shocking and chilling execution’ opens Vancouver Island murder hearing

Sentencing underway for Brandon Woody after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in Nanaimo

‘Too-young’ Vancouver Island woman successfully challenges eviction

Zoe Nagler, 46, had been given notice after living in seniors complex for six years

Most Read