Seafood and More at Sai Ying Pun Market (Hong Kong, 2018)


As I’ve mentioned before, I really enjoy walking around food markets in cities I’m visiting. Whether in Montreal, London or even St. Paul, if there’s a big produce market and I have time to visit it, I am there. Of course, Hong Kong is the ideal city for one with such preferences. I’ve already posted a couple of reports from the Graham Street wet market, located fortuitously right next to my hotel. Today I have a report from a covered market (well, two actually) about a 20 minute walk away: mostly from the Sai Ying Pun Market and a bit from the Centre Street Market. My interest in the former stemmed from having read about its seafood section and that is what this report is heavy on. The vegetarians should console themselves with the pictures of vegetables that start the slideshow and those of tofu etc. from Centre Street Market. Or just go back and look at the post on roadside fruit and veg

Unlike the Graham Street. market, the Sai Yung Pin Market is indoors, taking up several floors of a large building. You can ascend the building by stairs or go up an exterior escalator. Midway up the building is a walkway that takes you across the street to the Centre Street Market which is not a produce market. I began briefly in the vegetable section at Sai Ying Pun Market but then quickly went up to the seafood levels, which is what I was most interested in. It is quite something, with vendor after vendor offering up a dizzying array of fish—alive and deceased—various crustaceans, cephalopods and mollusks, and more. I was there on a Wednesday morning and it is a busy daily market, with people (mostly older women) shopping for the day’s cooking (presumably). I tried my best to stay out of everyone’s way while looking at and taking photographs of most of what caught my eye.

The only frustrating thing was not knowing what many of the things I was taking pictures of were. There was no English signage and as I was not going to be buying anything I did not want to distract the vendors with questions that would go nowhere and would take a lot of time (this is not the kind of place where you can expect a lot of people to understand/speak English well). In the case of the fish, I have not attempted to guess at any of their identities. For crustaceans I’ve in many cases taken guesses that may be wrong: please correct me if you know/suspect otherwise. The frogs and turtles, however, I am pretty sure are frogs and turtles.

A note on some of the pictures: many of the vendors—and this was true of the fish and meat vendors at the Graham Street Market as well—set up lights that put their wares in a better light but which also played up hell with m camera’s automatic white balance, casting red and blue hues over a number of shots—as I was taking pictures on the move, I did not stop to adjust it for each situation. Where this could be fixed/ameliorated in editing, I’ve tried to do so. And as pretty much everything was taken on the move, fans of tight framing and sharp focus should also adjust their expectations.

As always happens on walking through a market like this one, I regretted being in a hotel and not in an apartment where I might be able to cook some of this stuff. Then again, it is never going to be my goal to visit Hong Kong to eat my own cooking—though this might change in a few years when I might start returning on work for five weeks at a time every other year. Anyway, speaking of not eating my own cooking in Hong Kong, my next report from the city will be of another hipster’ish fusion restaurant in Soho.

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