The writer’s grandmother (right) and family in Hong Kong in the 1940s. A mother of nine, she says she was taught to exclude all foods deemed cold or poisonous according to traditional Chinese medicine, and avoid raw or partially cooked meat and seafood. Photo: Courtesy Teh family

The dilemma facing Hong Kong’s expectant mums: follow traditional Chinese beliefs or ways of the West?

While traditional advice about avoiding cold and wet-hot foods, or the idea that dark foods can affect skin colour, stand in stark contrast to what Western doctors say, there is agreement that stress and overexertion can be harmful

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The writer’s grandmother (right) and family in Hong Kong in the 1940s. A mother of nine, she says she was taught to exclude all foods deemed cold or poisonous according to traditional Chinese medicine, and avoid raw or partially cooked meat and seafood. Photo: Courtesy Teh family
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Valerie Teh

Valerie Teh

Raised in Hong Kong, Valerie Teh studied Anthropology at the University of Cambridge before joining Condé Nast International as an editor and content copywriter working with renowned media brands including Vogue, GQ and Tatler. With work experience in Hong Kong, Shanghai and London, she is currently a freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in the South China Morning Post, the Londonist and Elite Daily.