Hong Kong, as a center of economy and transport in Asia, has its role as one of the biggest trading ports. That’s why different types of commercial activities happen here, making various goods around the world flown into the small city. To fulfill customers’ needs, there have been lots of street markets established, including those that only sell specific types of goods. These might be markets that can rarely be seen in other cities around the world, but only in Hong Kong, here they are. These are some of the unique shopping streets that can be found in different areas of Hong Kong.
1. Dried Seafood and Tonic Food Street (Des Voeux Road West, Sheung Wan)
The Seafood and Tonic Food Street is located in the West area of the Des Voeux Road West in Sheung Wan. Started its business since 19th century, the area has one of the longest histories among all street markets in Hong Kong. Before reclamation, the market was a port and that facilitated trading of seafood and tonic foods. The tradition has been held in this area til now, where 300 shops that sell dried seafood and tonic foods like ginseng are still at work even after the reclamation.
2. Antiques Market (Upper Lascar Row, aka Cat Street, Sheung Wan)
Antique market in Hong Kong sells various kinds of ‘old stuff’ coming from different regions around the world. The products from different time period in the history are sold in the market – ranging from furniture of Ming Dynasty, to propaganda poster during the Cultural Revolution. The reason why the antique market is also called ‘Cat Street’ is that the market area was originally known as a place that sold stolen items. Stolen goods were referred as ‘rat goods’ in Cantonese, and people who buy those goods were called ‘cats’.
3. Toy Market (Tai Yuen Street, Wan Chai)
The toy market is located in Tai Yuen Street of Wan Chai. It has been the center of toys in Hong Kong for several decades, and therefore it is a commonplace to see family businesses for few generations there. Although most of the toy manufacturers in Hong Kong have been heading to Mainland China since the 1980s, while most of the existing stalls have moved to another place due to government’s redevelopment project of the area, the market is still crowded with toy-lovers.
4. Jade Market (Kansu Street and Battery Street, Yau Ma Tei)
Jade shares the same popularity of gold and diamond as in the West for Chinese people. Considered to be sacred, jade shows purity and morality with the meaning of beauty and grace underneath.
Jade market is located in Yau Ma Tei area. Stepping into the market, you can find yourself surrounded with different types of crafted jades, including necklaces, armlets, marbles, and statues. There have been rumours of fake jades in the market. Regarding its position near Jordan, an area with lots of South Asian immigrants, those rumours bring up the controversy of Chinese traditional treasury and South Asian cultures.
5. Goldfish Market (Tung Choi Street North, Mong Kok)
From time to time, goldfish is recognized to bring good luck to one’s home according to Feng Shui. This has made high demand of goldfish among Hong Kong households and led to the establishment of the Goldfish market. There are different types of goldfish with diverse colors and shapes. Most of the shops in the markets display goldfishes inside plastic bags.
6. Bird Garden (Yuen Po Street, Prince Edward)
Bird garden is another unique street market like Goldfish market that sells a specific type of animal. You can find different types of birds and equipments like bamboo cages and porcelain water dishes. The birds sold in the market ranges from big parrots to small sparrows. The market is designed in a style of traditional Chinese garden with greenery surrounding it, which differentiates itself from other street markets in Hong Kong. This makes lots of people who are fond of breeding birds addicted to visiting this market.
Information retrieved from: Hong Kong Tourism Board http://www.discoverhongkong.com/us/shop/where-to-shop/street-markets-and-shopping-streets/index.jsp
Writer & Photo: Seong Hyeon Choi (Vincent)
Editor: Louise Joachimowski
Copy Editors: Ng Nok Hei, Zoe Law, Joy Chung Wai Ling and Lauren Hee Soo Yoon
Online team: Ng Nok Hei