Century-Old Hong Kong Tea House Forced to Close

One of Hong Kong’s best-known tea houses is living out its final days in the most expensive city in the world. Lin Heung Tea House is listed on nearly every “Best of Hong Kong” list and became a time capsule where China’s traditional restaurant culture of shared tables, “trolley aunties,” and chaotic dining rooms serving fresh tea and dim sum (locally called yum cha) continued to live on in modern day. The Ngan family opened their first tea house 130 years ago in Guangdong and later immigrated to Hong Kong in 1918, where they opened three branches of Lin Heung. The only location left, which opened in 1996, will be forced to close at the end of February due to the landlord refusing to extend Lin Heung’s lease. According to the South China Morning Post, CSI Properties spent roughly $45.4 million USD over the last four years acquiring 90 percent of the property where the tea house currently resides. According to Hong Kong law, once a landlord owns 80 percent or more of the units in a property, compulsory purchase of additional units is allowed if the owner intends to redevelop the site—leading to speculation that CSI Properties intends to demolish and construct a new building on the site.