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Something for everyone

You’re just as likely to come across songbirds and goldfish on Hong Kong’s street markets as antique watches and Chinese dresses. Street markets are always exciting and full of life, in contrast with the often stuffy shopping malls. And in Hong Kong you can find a market at any time of the day... Or night.

In a metropolis bursting with over 100 shopping centres, you’re never far away from air conditioning and polished shop windows. Still, many Hong Kong residents pick up their fresh vegetables, a new goldfish or parakeet from the market. You’ll come across one surprise after another. In contrast to the peaceful bird market in Kowloon, Chun Yeung’s Wet Market is alive with trolleys of fresh produce being sold among the shopping public. Hong Kong is blessed with dozens of street markets, and these 3 are definitely worth a visit.

Mongkok, Hong Kong
Mongkok, Hong Kong

Hong Kong

The evening market on Temple Street

Evening market

The evening market in Temple Street begins when the sun goes down and a visit here is a night out in itself. Opera singers perform on the street and fortune tellers practice their art, while stallholders lay out their watches, jade and tea sets. This busy place has served as the backdrop for various movies and you’ll understand why as you try to make your way through the maze of stalls and gesticulating stallholders. There’s also more than enough to eat: try the rice with stewed chicken or a delicious bowl of noodle soup.

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Evening Market, Temple Street, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Good luck in a bag

Mong Kok’s goldfish market takes the form of a street lined with shops, all displaying sandwich bags containing goldfish and brightly coloured aquarium fish. A visit here is a surreal experience; certainly during the evening when the aquaria are spectacularly lit up. Chinese people believe that tropical fish bring luck but as most Hong Kong residents do not have room for a garden with a pond, an aquarium is their only solace. Other exotic pets are also traded here, so don’t be too surprised if you come face to face with a snake, a tarantula or a lizard.

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Live fish in plastic bags
Dried seafood in Sheung Wan

Beauty from the ocean

Chinese women go crazy for abalone, sea cucumbers and fish bladders. They believe that these items can improve their health and skin, and are willing to spend vast amounts of money on them. They can spend up to EUR 4,000 on a single kati (617 grams) of Japanese abalone. The streets of Sheung Wan, where these dried fruits of the sea are on display, become especially busy around the Chinese New Year. As you wander through this district, you’ll also come across other specialities: fancy some dried lizard or bird’s nests?

Bird garden in Yuen Po Street

Chirping and tweeting

Handmade bamboo birdcages and brightly coloured songbirds surround you in the Bird Garden market on Yuen Po Street. As well as birds of all colours, this traditional Chinese garden is also a favourite meeting place for bird owners. Early in the morning, people arrive at the park, cages in hand, to let out their feathered friends and perhaps show off their beautiful singing talents. Along with the goldfish market, the Bird Garden is a lovely place for a morning walk.

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Bird Garden, Yuen Po Street, Hong Kong