HongKong's WanChai Market

Exploring HongKong’s WanChai Market

Anthony Bourdain:

“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

‘Outdoor shopping in Hong Kong’

Wandering through Hong Kong’s WanChai Market.

Hong Kong is an impressive sight with all its glass and concrete palaces. The tall high-rises tower over the city and tell the world of Hong Kong’s economical position and its “westerness”. But wander just a couple of blocks away from the brass and glass and you’ll see a completely different world. Close to 150 years of British rule seems to have had little or no effect here at all. Welcome to Hong Kong’s WanChai market. There is live shellfish, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. There are all kinds of meat and fish.

 

 Not all dogs will have children

 

Any kind of food you can imagine is on sale here and I bet; quite a few you didn’t even know existed. The only thing we didn’t actually see on the menu here was dog, though I’m convinced that that was only because we didn’t look in the right places. Wandering through these markets is a very special experience. You get the sense that all the modern shopping facilities, the neon signs and the business executives are all just the surface, a thin layer of cosmetics covering the heritage deeply rooted in Chinese traditions. In WanChai you’ll only see the Chinese shopping; none or at least very few westerners ever shop here. This is very far from what we are used.

The most eye-catching is the freshness of it all.

There is live fish and shellfish, live poultry, live snakes, live frogs.

 

It’s truly fascinating to watch. As very few have refrigerators at home, they are dependent on the freshness of all their food. People come here to shop, often two or three times a day. It’s amazing to wander around here among all these unfamiliar smells and colors. Our own brought guide, Yan, is trying to explain to us what we see but I doubt if she really knows it all. It’s just too much. Compared to other cities we’ve visited, there is very little influence from 150 years of British rule here. Here you can buy delicacies like Jellyfish, shredded to look like spaghetti, fried fish so small that you can fit 10 of them in a matchbox and at one of the stalls you can even find 1000-year eggs. They’re probably not thousand years old, maybe not even a thousand days but they’ve been cured underground and if you ever decide to taste one my advice is; don’t!!

 

This is as far from what we’re used to as you can possibly get, some of it looks very unappetizing to our eyes. But who are we to talk?  We’re used to seeing food hygienically wrapped in plastic. Everything so delicately presented that there are kids that don’t even know where the lamb chops come from. Each year we throw away huge amounts of food, here they use every last bit – nothing is wasted. Don’t we have a lesson to learn?

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