April 21, 2016

Tour Chinatown to discover some of busy inner-Sydney hub’s best kept secrets

Heather McNabCENtRAL


George Wing Kee knows the secrets of Chinatown and is running tours delving in to its history and hidden gems. Picture: Phil Rogers

IT MAY be 2016, but step inside Chinese Ginseng and Herbs Company in Chinatown and you could be fooled into thinking you’ve stepped into the era of emperors.

Prices for all 13,000 medicine herbs and tea in the specialty Chinese herb store, which has been open for 30 years, are calculated on an abacus — a traditional counting frame dating back to 200BC. 

Run by Margaret and Sunny Duong under the careful eye of Margaret’s father and the store’s owner Phuoc Thang Tran, the store is just one of the many hidden gems waiting to be discovered in Haymarket’s iconic Chinatown.

Market City is at the heart of Sydney’s Chinatown. Wexford St, Chinatown at the turn of the 20th century — before the street was demolished and removed as part of a redevelopment. Picture: Sydney City Council Archives.

George Wing Kee of the Haymarket Chamber of Commerce runs tours of the area to help locals and visitors alike enjoy the secrets of Chinatown — what Mr Wing Kee calls the communal heart of the city.

“(For the Chinese) culturally and spiritually (there is) an attraction to Chinatown,” Mr Wing Kee said.

From the black statues, which represent the Buddhist portrayal of man’s suffering, to the placement of trees, a deep understanding of Chinese spirituality is woven through the area.


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