Pat Chun was founded in 1932 by Mr Ng Wai Sum. The words Pat Chun「八珍」refers to a phrase in the ancient Chinese Book of Rites that described precious ingredients used in concocting hundreds of sauces with different flavors.
Ng Wai Sum’s father Ng Tong is a master chef from the city of Shunde, the traditional seat of Cantonese cuisine. Ng Tong trained his son in the skill of brewing hundreds of sauces and the craft of preparing traditional snacks and delicacies. After moving to Hong Kong, Mg Ng Wai Sum used these skills to found Pat Chun, and was soon well known for the most difficult art of sauce brewing – fermentation of traditional vinegars.
As the years went by, the market in Hong Kong for sauces slowly became dominated by big brands, supermarket shelves are filled with products that are heavily marketed and often “enhanced” with artificial flavors and colours. It is difficult to find real artisanal sauces in Hong Kong that are hand crafted through traditional fermentation. Pat Chun is one of the few remaining sauce brewers that have persevered with traditional methods.
Using seasonal fermentation, products take months to ferment, and up to several more years of aging. The reliance on weather and natural ingredients means production is more alchemy than science. Sauces and vinegars made through this lengthy seasonal fermentation process picks up many layers of flavors from the carefully selected grains that is distinct from the simpler tastes of industrial production.
We currently run four retail shops in Hong Kong and one in Singapore, they are venues for connoisseurs to experience artisanal products and learn about traditional crafts.