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The first Hong Kong fair in Vancouver that combines community, identity and nostalgia

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When Sharon Chan thinks at home, she thinks of the street food that can be found near where she used to live in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay: curry fish balls, steamed rice rolls, shrimp and pork dumplings known as Siu Mai.

“The whole street, you can smell everything. And crowd sounds. Cantonese. Everyone is so happy,” she recalls.

“Mom and brother – we went down there in our pajamas and slippers and took all the food.”

Those are the memories that Toronto-born Chan — who lived in Hong Kong until 2020, when she and her family moved to Vancouver — wants to conjure up on Saturday when she sells her own version of fish-ball sauce with curry and other chili oils at the Hong Kong Fair in Vancouver ever.

Sharon Chan, owner of Mama in the Kitchen in Vancouver, shows off her chili oils. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
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As Hong Kong continues to face political turmoil due to the Chinese government’s tightening grip on the city, organizers of the Vancouver Fair say the event is a way to celebrate Hong Kong’s unique culture and build a sense of community among the diaspora on the lower mainland.

said Heikki Kwan of volunteer organization, HK House.

Hickey Kwan and Esther Yuen, two of the organizers of the upcoming Hong Kong Fair are photographed in Vancouver, British Columbia on Thursday, May 12, 2022. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

“There is a great sense of loss within the community which is why events like this can be so comforting.”

Fontane Ma, who makes handmade bags and accessories, is also one of more than 50 vendors participating in the fair.

She said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she had not been able to visit her family in Hong Kong for nearly three years.

“I’m doing this to remind me how good Hong Kong is,” she said.

Fontane Ma, owner of Itchy Ichi, displays her wares. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

In addition to food and handicrafts, the fair will also showcase films and other cultural traditions, Kwan said, replicating the bustling atmosphere that can be found in markets in Hong Kong.

“There will be mahjong and there will be some childhood games,” she said. “So it’s going to be noisy and busy, just like the streets of Hong Kong. And I think a lot of people really miss that.”

Chan said the show is important to her and her children.

“We left our hometown and now we hear that all the people of Hong Kong are coming together to preserve our culture,” she said.

“Once I know we’re all at the event, I can imagine this is like home.”

The inaugural Vancouver Hong Kong Fair will be held at Svew Harbor Center on Saturday.

first edition7:02Inside the first Hong Kong fair in Vancouver

Vivian Luk from The Early Edition got a sneak peak inside the sold-out Vancouver Hong Kong Show this weekend from organizers Heiky Kwan and Esther Yuen.

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