Chy Loong Ginger Factory (濟隆糖薑廠)

York Lo: Chy Loong Ginger Factory (濟隆糖薑廠)

Chy Loong Ginger Factory Image 1 York Lo

Chy Loong Ginger Factory in 1949 (Michael Rogge, 1949) 

Earlier on the website there were a few articles about the once prosperous preserved ginger industry in HK and profiles of a few of the players based excerpted from Twentieth Century Impression of Hong Kong published in 1908. The firm which started the industry was Chy Loong Ginger Factory, which traced its root to Canton in the 1820s and began operating in HK in the 1840s and by the late 19th century and early 20th century was very popular not only in the West but in Southeast Asia.  It was also the firm controlled by U Tat-chee, who led the formation of the industry’s syndicate Hong Kong Preserved Ginger Distributors in 1937.  

Chy Loong was founded in Canton in 1821 by a street vendor by the name of Li Chy (李濟). Li sold some ginger crystallized in sugar to an English diplomat, who took it back to England and some of it was given to Queen Victoria and legend has it that she ordered it to be served at all royal banquets and even suggested “Cock” as its brand name. To fulfil  all the English orders, Li started the Chy Loong factory with two men with the surname of Sung and Ip. (“Ginger King” New Yorker, 1951)

Five years after Hong Kong became a British colony, Chy Loong set up a branch factory in HK in 1846 to export ginger packaged in porcelain jars to overseas markets. By 1845, Chy Loong ginger sugar was also available in the US based on newspaper advertisements.  (Boston Post, 1845-10-6)  

In 1886, Chy Loong registered its trademark with the HK government as shown in the excerpt below of the government report that year with Sung Shiu-pang (宋少彭) being listed as the head of the firm.  

Chy Loong Ginger Factory Image 2 York Lo

Registration of Chy Loong trademark in 1886 (HK Government Reports) 

Charlton Bristow Perkins’s Travels from the Grandeurs of the West to Mysteries of the East published in 1909 described Chy Loong as “one of the most celebrated factories of its kind in Canton, where the luscious preserves, ginger, etc., are prepared. You will have an opportunity to taste the famous ginger, as it can be had at any table in the hotels” 

According to the Consular Report filed by US consul general in HK, George Anderson in 1912, “the export trade in Hongkong generally recognizes three brands of both the stem and the cargo root <ginger> known, respectively, as “Chy Loong,” “Man Loong,” and “Sun Sing Loong.” 

Carl Crow’s Travelers Handbook for China in 1913 asserted that “No trip to Canton is complete without a visit to the street where the workmen inlay kingsfisher’s feathers and silver, and to the Chy Loong ginger works, where candied ginger was put up for our grandfathers.” 

Chy Loong Ginger Factory Image 3 York Lo

Left: late 19th century Chy Loong ginger jar; Right: Ad for Chy Loong ginger in the US by Vantine’s in New York in 1920 (Country Life, 1920)

In the 1920s, Sung Wah-po (宋華坡), also known as Sung Sam (宋三), was referenced as the owner of Chy Loong and he was a well-known Chinese music lover in Canton who not only recorded music but hosted concerts at his factory. 

In 1937, U Tat-chee who assumed control of Chy Loong rounded all 11 factories in the industry into a cooperative called Hong Kong Preserved Ginger Distributor Ltd. The factories exported 10,000 tons annually, mostly to England, Holland and America. The address for the HK factory of Chy Loong in the late 1930s was listed 268 Hoi Tan Street. (香港指南)

In 1940, Chy Loong developed ginger chocolate. (Wah Tsz Yat Po, 1940-12-16) As shown in the ads below, Chy Loong was also distributed in Singapore by Singapore Cold Storage and Lim Khoon Heng & Co and in addition to porcelain jars was also available in tins. 

Chy Loong Ginger Factory Image 4 York Lo

Left: Chy Loong ad in Singapore in 1940 listing Singapore Cold Storage and Lim Khoon Heng & Co as distributors (Malaya Tribune, 1940-2-28); Right: Chy Loong ad in Singapore in 1951 during the Christmas season (Straits Times, 1951-12-22) 

After the War, Chy Loong’s factory was located at 64 Tong Mi Road in Mongkok (CMA Members Directory, 1958) By 1968 however, the site had become the office and factory for Leung Lung Kee Watch Band Factory (Xianggang Shikuang). As a firm, HK Preserved Ginger Distributors was dissolved in 1970 and the site of the former Chy Loong factory has since been re-developed into Lucky Horse Industrial Building. As a firm, Chy Loong never appear to have been incorporated and has since faded into history.

This article was first posted on 10th August 2020.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Messrs. L.M. Alvares & Co, Ginger + Feathers c1908
  2. Choy Fung Ginger Factory
  3. Man Loong Ginger Factory
  4. Hing Loong Ginger Factory
  5. Hong Kong’s Preserved Ginger Industry – Dan Waters discovers and recollects
  6. Preserved Ginger shipped through HK 1913
  7. The Wong Brothers of Yuen Kee Hong – from Preserved Ginger to Metals and Frozen Meats
  8. Nam Wah preserved ginger manufacturer – Sham Shui Po
  9. Preserved ginger – newspaper article 1947 – post WW2 industry difficulties


One comment

  • Kun Zhou

    Dear admin :
    I am a researcher in Sun yat sen university and I am very interested in the history of chyloong ginger, I noticed that the author mentiond the photo about the late 19th century Chy Loong ginger jar(the white black jar). Would you please tell me the resource of the picture?

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