Walking through the crowded streets of Hong Kong, you can’t help but notice the herbal medicine shops when you pass by. Why? Because they smell. A really strong, herbal smell wafting into the streets mixed with intense heat, cooking pork, a slightly damp lush green smell from the humidity and of course millions of very hot bodies on a very small island. It’s kind of intense.
But while you can’t miss the dried herb shops, what you might walk past are the regular medicinal tea shops hidden between stores and restaurants. Where locals pop in for a quick bowl of tea to rebalance their constitution before continuing their day.
It’s these shops that intrigue me, probably because they’re so very local, and the signs are usually all in Cantonese. I went out exploring to learn more.