Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hong Kong Postcard Day 24 Night Market at North Point

Welcome and thank you for joining us on this last day of our China trip! We have been traveling through China for 24 days now, there were many highlights of our trip: the bike trip through the town of Yangshuo and Xian City Wall topped the lists, so did our visit to the little fishing village of Tai O, but the tram ride at night in Hong Kong was certainly a delightful journey in itself. We took the first tram we saw, not knowing where it would end up, a stop called North Point looked so intriguing we decided to get off and explore. Captured below the view from the tram that peaked our interest, the fruit store with the striped roof was the beginning of a long strip of shops that was open for business that night.
At ground level we got a closer look at the fruits, a wide variety of every juicy morsel imaginable. To their right a meat shop...
... fresh portions had already been cut up and hung, ready to be purchased, it was after all night time and probably the end of the butcher's shift. I remembered shopping at such a stall in Singapore, my mother would send me to get the family's daily meat with cash at hand. Pork cost $3.00 a kilo in the late 1980's, this equaled to $1.50 in American dollars. The cut would be determined by the butcher, all you need to state was the fat content and the cooking method and a chunk would skillfully sliced then be wrapped in newspaper and bagged in plastic.
There were lots of meat stores but one of the common sights was its pairing with a seafood business.
Here's another combination spotted across the street, this must be a successful relationship, for practical reason customers could buy their meat and fish in one go.
Another thing we noticed as the use of red shades for the lighting, they were present at just about every shop, below the smallest fish stall we saw.
Other seafood business were much bigger, this one was equipped with a cleaning stand, the lady with the yellow apron was about to gut and scale the pomfret.
A close up of the assortment of fresh seafood, there were fish of different sizes, cuttlefish, prawns. I was curious whether the price indicated 24 RMB per kilo or pound, this worked out to be about $3.50 Canadian, either weight the price was quite reasonable. 
Another shot of the fish (I couldn't help it) I liked looking at the different types, most had shiny scales, their heads and tails still intact. Back in Canada far too often the grocery stores offered ready packaged fillets or steaks, seeing food sold this way was refreshing. In Singapore my mom and I used to pick through baskets of mackerel, after agreeing on $3.00 per kilo the ones with the brightest and clearest eyes were chosen. This came to about 10 mackerels and they would be marinated with all kinds of spices like turmeric, deep fried and eaten with nasi lemak... oh the memories!
Other stores on site sold produce too, this was the smallest veggie stall, the only lighting it had was from the neighboring shop, the man was fixing up his piles of fresh bean sprouts. 
Below a much bigger vegetable store, I recognized lo bok, bok choy, eggplants and various leafy greens, I was amazed at the choices.
This shop sold root vegetables, boxes of onions, tapioca, sweet potato, yams and taro roots lined the entrance. On closer look tofu puffs and tofu skins could be seen hanging from the ceiling.
It seemed the ones that dealt in root vegetables also sold tofu products, below this business had more soy bean products than anyone else.
A different kind of merchandise, seafood balls made from fish, cuttlefish, octopus or shrimp. Some were shaped into oblongs, those were usually sliced and added to noodle soup or chow mein. There was some dried or salted vegetables for sale too.
Then we came to the egg man, chicken eggs in brown or white shells, would he carry salted duck eggs? On the shelf a few packages of joss money, there were also bundles of joss sticks placed next to the eggs.
A must in any Chinese food market, a dried goods and herbal store. On the wall several jars containing herbs lined the shelves, each one clearly marked with names and prices. Quality varied as much as the prices, apparently the higher the price the stronger the medicinal potency.
Pictured below on the left, a miscellaneous goods shop, it looked like such a mess but I saw some bowls on the back wall.
This stall was much more organized, kitchenware of every perceivable use covered its space. I liked the fact that a lot of its things were very shiny, I also think we could find anything we need for the kitchen here.
Some clothes for sale! Anyone need pajamas or nightgowns?
Another clothing store, the Christmas lights added a homely touch to this corner.
For those who love to sew, a fabric store. Check out the rolls of cloth, people could hardly walk in there!
The streets of shops continued on, but this one below was my favorite: a neat little fruit store with tidy looking boxes. I really like the cheery colored banners at the top of the doorway, they made me feel so welcome.
It was wonderful exploring North Point, we didn't expect to find such a fascinating area in Hong Kong. Throughout our journey in China, I looked high and low for a marketplace of some sort to visit. I did not want to partake in the ones targeted at tourists, rather the kind that was interconnected with local daily routine, the night market at North Point certainly fit into this category.

The evening was coming to an end, we were just about to leave when we noticed movement in the shops, some boxes of vegetables went missing.
Another store with vacant spots, something was going on...
... then baskets of goods began to reappear on the streets, people started to walk up to take a closer look at the produce.
More and more containers of greens lined the roads, some customers started to inquire about the merchandise, haggling of prices began as the vegetables were picked up...
... and handled. I guess there were deals to be made despite this late hour, there were still plenty to choose from.
The negotiating went on into the night, pictured below a last shot of North Point, as the night market bustled in some parts of the streets, other shops were already closed. We left to meet Peter in Kowloon, best wishes were exchanged, the visit was kept short as there were lots of packing to do. This was our last night in Hong Kong, the end of our one week stay in this beautifully exciting city. We had been traveling for 24 days in China, it was also the last day of our trip. What an adventure it was traveling to all those cities. Next week I will share one final post of our journey, please stay tuned! 

1 comment:

  1. A very real shopping experience, not unlike downtown Chinatown here. It all looks so familiar, except the meat shops. Great post.