This story of a beloved family-run dim sum shop in Hong King warms my heart, while simultaneously breaking it. The history, soul, and spirit Fat Kee pours into each morsel of food he prepares from scratch is a thing of beauty that is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
I think tea houses will die out eventually. No one new is entering this trade and the ‘old hands’ will retire. My skill and expertise, even if I wanted to pass them on nobody wants to learn. The art of dim sum will be lost.
-Fat Kee, Owner & Operator of Sam Hui Yat
Fat Kee’s story of the discontinuation of traditional foodways can be translated across cultures, around the globe. The corporatization and industrialization of our global food system draws us further and further away from our ancestral practices of growing, cooking, and sharing food in community.
We are grateful to bear witness to Fat Kee’s story, which serves as a reminder to not only cherish our cultural connections to food, but also grasp them tightly, preserve and share them. Actively working to conserve a part of our histories that is so easily suppressed by dominant mainstream systems is a powerful form of defiance and reclamation of space that is rightfully ours.