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Hong Kong’s Cultural Icons Vanish as Covid Hastens Gentrification

Traditional bakeries, dim sum shops and neon lights are disappearing.

Diners share tables as they eat dim sum at the Lin Heung Tea House in Hong Kong in 2018. 

Diners share tables as they eat dim sum at the Lin Heung Tea House in Hong Kong in 2018. 

Photographer: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

For years, Carlos Sun has been documenting Hong Kong’s changing streetscape, photographing traditional bakeries and dim sum shops about to close due to an owner’s old age or an expiring lease. But the speed with which the city is losing some of its most famous institutions in the last few months has been dizzying. 

“It’s happening so quickly recently,” said Sun, who runs the Instagram account Vanishing Hong Kong full time after being laid off as a photographer in 2020. “There’s a business closing down every week.”