Friday, June 25, 2010

Hong Kong: The street markets

Residents of Hong Kong's goldfish market

Out of all the sightseeing we did in Hong Kong, my favorite places were decidedly low key, and free: the street markets scattered throughout the city. In our time there we made it to a goldfish market, flower market, songbird market, jade market and some random fish, fruit or clothing markets we passed along the way.

The goldfish market consisted of a long street of fish shop after fish shop selling goldfish (of course), a variety of other fish, lizards and baby turtles. Some shops pre-bagged the goldfish and hung them up on the wall, making for some nice window shopping.

For goldfish on the go

Look at these fat prickly guys!

We went through the goldfish market on the way to the songbird market, a small park where we found lots and lots of birds in little orange cages, and some in those charming kind of hanging cages with the rounded tops.

This guy was feeding the birds grubs with some chopsticks. I thought that was cute.

The bird garden was interesting, though I can't say I'm a big fan of birds in cages. We didn't stick around too long as all those birds gathered in one place also just felt kinda dirty.

My favorite market of all was one that wasn't one listed in any of the tourist brochures, though, and that was just a standard food market located in an old building off a busy street. Peering into the wide open first floor I spied some fresh fish and decided to poke my nose in and see what else was in there.

It wasn't long before my jaw was hanging open.

This was not just fresh fish. Ooooh no. This was Fresh Fish. Exhibit A:

These suckers are still alive. How do I know?

Because they were sliced open and we could see their hearts still beating, that's how!

More fish:

This was just the beginning. Not only was this place a fish market, but it was also a meat market, with butchers right there slicing up huge hunks of meat — and not letting anything go to waste.

Don't miss the goods in the background here, either.

Ox tail? Or cat toy?

One section of the market housed a bunch of live chickens. We watched as a worker removed one from the cage, held it just so and slit its throat before dumping it into a large funnel to drain out the blood. I grew up in Ohio so I've been around my share of livestock, but this was something I'd never seen before and it left me a bit stunned.

Last but not least... ever seen these in your local grocer's deli?

I looked around for a display of large black cauldrons, but alas there were none.

Toads, brains, fish hearts and chickens with their heads cut off... without question the most unforgettable part of Hong Kong.

1 comment:

AdelaideBen said...

Man... that's what you call a meat factory. That was amazing, and whilst I'm a devotee of the carnivore way, I have to admit that it was borderline too much even for me. The sliced open living fish was just a little too surreal... and cruel.

I'm sure it was a strange experience - and I can well imagine that it would be one of the unforgettable moments. And it's good to see the sights off-the-beaten-track! Great work.