Amazing Kids! Magazine

End of an Era

By Gaile Ng, age 13, Hong Kong


Soybeans trickle down through the old metal grinder
As the aroma of the sour yet savory bean curd fills the air.
Endless buckets of silky tofu
Line the wooden floor.
It is what our Hong Kong family store sells.

Memories bring me a snug feeling—
Every morning a hot cup of soy milk waited for me on a small wooden table,
Lunch boxes filled with steaming block tofu topped with a dollop of miso paste,
Mother bringing out the soya-based hot pot from the busy kitchen.

Pouring cups of chili sauce onto fermenting tofu,
Cutting up lengthy amounts of golden fried soya skin,
Ladling tofu pudding from the big wooden bucket,
Plopping each scoop into an identical white Styrofoam cup,
Packing up all the orders for the endless line of customers.

Regular shoppers became close family friends,
People who watched me grow up.
Nearby shopkeepers helped each other out,
Supporting each other through thick and thin.
Over time a small community formed.

After countless generations of Wangs running this shop,
The enduring tradition has come to an end.
Our small shop has finally closed
Like so many others.

But who cares?
After all, it’s just another lou ga dong closing down.