Feather pluckers from Loy Sing Guen

Date:
unknown, but after 1889
Record:
RBCM 2012.177.1&2

This unique hand tool was passed down generations, most likely since the original owner Sam Wing Poy established Loy Sing Guen (originally at 556 Fisgard St., Victoria) in 1889. The oldest butcher and barbecue meat shop in Victoria’s Chinatown still in business today, Loy Sing is possibly the oldest surviving meat shop in North America’s Chinatowns. It was – and still is – famous for its barbecue products, including roasted duck, roasted chicken and crispy-skin barbecued pork.

This pair of feather pluckers was passed from Sam Wing Poy’s oldest daughter Mary (Sam Mee York) to her daughters Lena (Sheil Lyn Eng) and Bonita (Sheil Cheng Eng). In the early days, the shop raised its own animals on the outskirts of town, and shipped them to be processed in the shop. Growing up in Victoria’s Chinatown in the 1930s and 1940s, Lena and Bonita helped with the family business, and had to pluck the chickens and ducks before the adults barbecued them. The shop was maintained by a strongly bonded family, and its original 1889 sign, Loy Sing Guen, still hangs in the store today (currently located at 554 Fisgard St.).

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