I am naturally drawn to things out of the ordinary, hence its no surprise when I walk past a shop like Food Master at Box Hill Central, my heels click together like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and my feet take off into the shop before my thoughts have had a chance to finish being curious.
Shop front of Food Master in the vicinity of the food hall, restaurant area at Box Hill Central
There's an array of mystical, magical, unusual ingredients that might appall or enthrall. Either way, your senses will be awakened by your reaction, if you've never walked into a shop like this before.
Chinese medicines and medicinal soups among many other items for sale
David has owned the place for the last 8 years and he stocks high quality, high class (in a class system which is common in Asian countries, it means it's the food of those who are upper class, the wealthy) seafood (dried variety i.e. sea cucumber); Asian groceries; Chinese medicines; pre-packed regular and medicinal soups for health, appetite and weight loss; and a variety of fibre-rich rice, lentils, legumes and fungus, to name a few items.
David comes from a culture that believes 'food is medicine and medicine is food'. He was proud to say that the Southern Chinese special Canton food is very famous in Hong Kong and around the world; that the Northerners would consult with the Southerners and learn from their expertise. Naturally, he comes from the south.
When I asked him which ingredients I should buy to make a soup, his answer was simple: it depends what one's ailments are. This is where he comes in as he's been studying Chinese medicine from a big book as he put it, for more than 10 years. Though not a qualified doctor, he can efficiently help you by directing you to the correct ingredients if you want to help lower your diabetic blood sugar reading, lower your blood pressure reading, if you are feeling dizzy or have a headache, and so on. He must have no complaints as the faithful customers of Chinese medicine throng to his shop. No wonder, as these shops are not exactly a dime a dozen.
He said birds nest soup was good for pregnant women and that the best thing for lowering blood pressure naturally was to boil just 70 grams of 'black and white' fungus (black on top and white on the underside) everyday in a bit of water and to drink the fungus infused water. You can also eat the fungus if you wish. My grandmother used to call fungus 'old man and old ladies ears' because when cooked it would curl up like an old persons ear, or so the story goes. I generally use fungus in my Asian stir fries, and was surprised to learn it was a blood pressure lowering ingredient. Bonus!
Natural healing methods and products are becoming validated, main stream, and the first choice of some, as opposed to regular drugs and medicines. So go ahead and take a walk on the wild side. Check out the wild and wonderful world of Chinese medicines that is steeped in thousands of years of history, if only to peruse and be bewildered by what you see before your eyes.
Click on the words 'large image' below, then click on the pic again after it loads, to further magnify and enjoy reading the names of ingredients you don't see everyday