iShop Lee Wo Steelyard

Mrs Ho, Traditional Chinese Scales Stall Owner

  • Lee Wo Steelyard, alleyway next to 345 Shanghai Street
  • Open daily 10am-7pm

Weighing vegetables and opium

Traditional scales are made from a wooden rod with golden markings on it, a weight that hangs on one end of the rod, and a metal tray or hook that hangs on the other. The scales work by sliding the weight along the wooden rod and finding where it balances out. Today, you may see people using these scales to measure vegetables at the wet market or Chinese herbs in medicine shops. In the past, they were also used to measure the weight of gold, silver and even opium.

90 years and counting...

The tiny shop is over 90 years old and used to belong to Mrs Ho’s father. Mrs Ho has been making traditional Chinese scales since she was 12 years old. Despite her children and grandchildren urging her to retire and relax, Mrs Ho wishes to continue to work and run the shop as it is the last memory of her father, whom she loved and respected very much. Most days, you will find Mrs Ho sitting out in front of her shop, listening to the radio and watching the world go by. Her friendly smile and cheeky personality make it a treat to visit her!

Support local businesses

The smallest set of scales that Mrs Ho sells cost HK$50 and the largest ones go for about HK$1000 a piece. Why not get a little set of scales for yourself?

Don’t mess with the scale lady!

Mrs Ho has her own set of scales in her kitchen at home. She uses it to measure her purchases from the market to make sure that she wasn’t ripped off.

Traditions like these are fading. No one learns to make these scales anymore. Even my children are not interested in learning the craft.
— Mrs Ho
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