Throughout his life , my grandfather, San Tong was an inventor. He was an inventor of asparagus packing and farming equipment and after he moved to Mexico an inventor of food products. He was a man with a restless and creative mind. Many thanks to Auntie Soo-Yin for these additional pictures and comments. (Clicking on the photos will enlarge them.)
"Auntie Pingileen was a great help to Ah Gung when he was setting up his various businesses. She sourced roasting machines, other equiptment, and where to buy ingredients for him. Attached are more photos of Ah Gug's life and work in Mexico:
1. Mexico City office and factory: With San Tong is his partner Frederico Lee in the Sun Hing Corp., Frederico's son Jorje (George), and three of their workers. This office might have been located on Reforma Road. San Tong had two places in Mexico City that manufactured his many products and that launched his new business ventures.
2. Villa Obregon, Mexico City: This was the plant that produced SanTong's dried sharksfin, sharksfin soup, five-spiced peanuts, and soy sauce.
3. Sharksfin: Sharksfin being dried and shaped for packaging.
4. Sharkfin Soup: Frederico Lee preparing sharksfin soup, experimenting with San Tong's new formula.
5. Drying Peanuts: Frederico Lee with trays of peanuts. San Tong had developed a way to flavor the inside nuts, leaving the external shell intact, and this preserved the nuts' fresh flavor.
6. Five-Spiced Peanuts: Frederico Lee emerses the peanuts into San Tong's five-spiced formula before roasting and packaging.
7. Peanut Label: Auntie Pingileen helped create this label. San Tong wanted to name a product after each of his children's names.
8. Grinding Soy Beans: Jorje Lee, Frederico Lee's son, demonstrates how soy beans are ground up for the fermentation process in making soy sauce.
9. Soy Sauce Production: Manuelito is overseeing the fermentation process in barrels of San Tong's soy sauce formula. Manuelito was 12-years old when he first came to San Tong looking for work. He was a poor and hungry kid. He lived on a hillside in La Paz, Baja California, with only a plastic tarp to keep him from the elements. San Tong adopted him as his son, so to speak. Manuelito came to live with, and to work for, San Tong, who mentored and guided the young lad throughout his life. Manuelito grew up to become a high school sports coach, married a nice lady, and had children of his own.
10. Food Experiments: Here are samples of San Tong 's food experiments on shelves in his La Paz, Baja California, home and factory. In La Paz he produced Damiana Tea, Damiana Champaign, Passion Fruit tea, and Passion Fruit Champaign. At his Marquez de Leon address I saw a room filled with Alhambra bottles that sat on rows of long tables, and these big bottles distilled and fermented his champaign formulas. Upstairs San Tong had sharksfin filaments drying on his balcony's sofa and chairs, with fans belting hot air on them. He produced sharksfin products here, as well as in Mexico City, because sharks were abundant in waters off La Paz, and many fishing boats from Japan and Taiwan anchored to fish here.
11. DMZ South Korea: A visit to Panmunjom, DMZ. In 1973 San Tong was a guest of a large Korean ramen noodle manufacturing company. The CEO had heard of San Tong's businesses in Mexico and flew him to Seoul, Korea, to discuss a joint venture to distribute their ramen noodles in the northern hemisphere.
12. Chinese BBQ: San Tong designed and built this Chinese BBQ that incorporated a grill, a wok for stir-fry, and a smokestack for roasting meats.
13. Pulque Label: Mexico's Goddess of Fertility breastfeeding a baby. On the back of the photo that shows a Maguey cactus plant San Tong Jue wrote: "Dated 04/05/74 - This is a Maguey plant. A hole about 6" diameter wide and 6" deep is cut right in the center heart of this cactus and in a few weeks the plant starts to bleed juice into this hole and the juice is gathered every morning and evening. Everyday a plant produces one or two gallons of juice depending on the size of the plant. The juices are gather from many plants and then are put in a big vat to ferment for a week into pulque. Pulque has an alcohol content about same as beer. Its color is white and looks like milk. The plant produces for 4 to 6 months."
Maguey Label: From the Maguey plant San Tong created a non-alcoholic beverage as well. The label is the same Goddess of Fertility as on the Pulque Label.
Roast Pork: On the Tulancingo ranch, in Mexico, San Tong Jue also produced Chinese roast pork, "Cha Shiu."
We now have a rich picture of San Tong's life in Mexico , which was his long attempt at a business and financial comeback. We also have learned of his trips back and forth to the USA and his final years with his family before his death. Here are some links to previous posts in this blog that help paint the picture of this time in my grandfather's very rich life.
Here we discuss San Tong leaving for Florida and Mexico in the wake of the family lawsuit and loss of his property in the United States.
Here we have a detailed look at San Tong's time as the manager of a large hacienda and ranch in Mexico and my Auntie Estelle and Uncle Guy's honeymoon there
Here we discuss San Tong's many business ventures in Mexico.
These ventures are further expanded on in the current post.
Here we have some additional commentary on his business ventures in La Paz and family visit there.
Here we have a nice piece written by Auntie Soo Yin celebrating the full breadth of San Tong's life and wonderful memories of his later years by Auntie Soo-Jan and her family
Finally , we put San Tong's life in perspective and discuss the lives of Jue Joe , the father , San Tong , the son , and Jack Sr. the grandson . (Jack Sr . is my father . I am Jue Joe's great grandson and San Tong's grandson).