Hongkong - A portable groceteria | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Hongkong - A portable groceteria

Hongkong - A portable groceteria
Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Tuesday, January 1, 1924


Hi There,

The sign used by the hawker mentioned 各款酸甜甘草, which loosely translates to "Assorted Sweet & Sour\Licorice".  Other words had faded and uncertain what it means.  But probably the fruits being treated.


The words on the sign look like 認真行之 earnestly produced, name of stall 勝記 Sing Kee, 請嘗X之 please try.

Hawthorns 山楂 on a stick on the front left, with preserved "Chinese olives" 橄欖 behind them.

hawker.jpg, by tkjho

I love this photograph - its composition and the way that the subject is smiling and engaging with the photographer.  I would have been happy to buy from this vendor!  A great picture all round.

The ones in front look like this:

山楂.jpg, by simtang 
山楂2.jpg, by simtang


甘草欖.png, by simtang

酸甜欖.png, by simtang

Thanks for the identification of the fruit, and the extra photos.

The hawthorn plants that grow in Britain have small berries, so I was surprised to see the much larger fruit above also came from hawthorn plants. Wikipedia's page about the hawthorn explains the difference:

[...] The "haws" or fruits of the common hawthorn, C. monogyna, are edible. In the United Kingdom, they are sometimes used to make a jelly or homemade wine. [...]

The 4 cm fruits of the species Crataegus pinnatifida (Chinese hawthorn) are tart, bright red, and resemble small crabapple fruits. They are used to make many kinds of Chinese snacks, including haw flakes and being coated in sugar syrup and put on a stick tanghulu. [...]


If the Hawthorns 山楂 were glazed with malt 麥芽 sugar instead of cane sugar, it would make a good appetizer as in the old Chinese saying "你好似食咗山楂麥芽" (looks like you've eaten hawthorns with malt sugar), meaning "you have a good appetite!" (in a sarcastic tone, as a retort).