Get your nostalgia fix
In the late 19th century, the area around Queen Victoria Street, Jubilee Street and Hing Lung Street had a cluster of popular baan goons (辦館), the few places in the city to get Western products, like butter, jam, cheese, canned food, milk, coffee, cigarettes and alcohol. A home away from home for sailors and merchants. Some stores even got their own sampans and ferries to fetch customers from big ferries parked at Victoria Harbour.
Local Chinese also liked to shop at baan goons. Especially fresh fruit was in high demand. Long-time resident Ms Chung remembers the slices of ice-cold watermelon: “Baan goons stored their fruits in the fridge. Their goods were a level up compared to those of open-air fruit stalls.” Baan goon’s gift hampers with fruits, cigarettes and brandy were also very popular for birthdays and Mid-Autumn Festival.
Baan goon transformation
One of the biggest stores was Nam Hing Loong on nearby Jubilee Street, it started business in 1865 and closed its doors in 1930s. There are few baan goons these days, most were replaced by supermarkets after the war, such as Dairy Farm’s Dairy Lane Supermarket and Welcome, you’d only find a few in older neighbourhoods.. still selling cigarettes and alcohol.