It’s often difficult to describe a city using only words. Your travels will often include moments where all your senses are engaged in a way where you can’t help but recognise the uniqueness of your surroundings. Hong Kong’s street markets offer a perfect way to taste, see, touch, smell, and hear what Hong Kong is all about. Here are some of the markets in Hong Kong that you should check out to make your Hong Kong experience extra special.
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Ladies Market in Mong Kok is a one-stop shopping bonanza. Here, you’ll find over 100 stalls that sell everything, including clothing, shoes, bags, jewellery, phone accessories… it’s almost easier to try to name items that wouldn’t be available here! The market is incredibly popular with tourists and locals alike so be prepared to be among the crowds, alongside an overwhelming amount of merchandise.
Pro Tip: Many stalls do not list their prices because this is a place where you can use your bargaining skills to go toe-to-toe with the shopkeepers on price. Normally, the rule is you don’t reach for your wallet on the first price quoted – don’t be afraid to use your gift of the gab to bring those prices down.
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Right outside the Sham Shui Po MTR line is Apliu Street, where you’ll find anything and everything related to computer, gaming, audio and electronics. You’re sure to find every computer and smartphone accessory at a bargain, guaranteed! Geek out and spend time checking out the numerous shops and stores here that sell everything from USB cables and TV remotes to state-of-the-art audio-visual home entertainment systems.
Pro Tip: Do you have a broken or old phone (or even laptop!) that you love but thought could never be fixed again? Apliu’s street features countless repair shops renowned for their speed, expertise, and service. Bring your busted equipment here and, in many cases, they can bring your electronic equipment back to life in just an hour for a great bargain.
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Down on your luck? Then head to the Jade Market in Yau Ma Tei, where you’ll find hundreds of vendors selling jade in various forms. In Chinese culture, Jade is associated with a long and prosperous life; many Chinese traditionally wear or are gifted Jade as a standard good luck charm. Jade trinkets, ornaments and sculptures make for fantastic home decorations or heartfelt souvenirs for any of your close friends or relatives!
Pro Tip: Jade comes in a variety of colours, but the greener its shade, the luckier and more expensive they generally are. The most valuable type of Jade is called Imperial and is durable, dense, and displays an incredibly intense, deep green. Be wary of fake Jade – a real piece of Jade always has some weight to it and is priced according to its depth and purity of colour.
Temple Street Night Market
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Temple Street is an authentic, up-close and personal Hong Kong experience. Check out the various vendors that dot the streets selling various knick knacks and produce, visit Chinese fortune tellers and palm readers who sit in tents ready to give you the good – or bad – news, and eat with hungry diners outside packed restaurants on stools. Order local gastronomic favourites like claypot rice, seafood noodles, and typhoon shelter crab while the traditional smells of black bean sauce, fresh ginger, and various spices waft through air.
Pro Tip: Be sure to make time for one of the incredibly famous Claypot Rice restaurants here. Claypot rice is rice cooked over a hot charcoal fire with soya sauce, vegetables, meat and sausage added on top. The intense heat from the charcoal and claypot give the rice its distinctive taste and slightly charred texture. We recommend either Hing Kee Claypot Rice or the nearby Four Seasons Claypot Rice.
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Sneaker Street is Mong Kok is inundated with locals and travellers alike searching for the latest sneakers and sports equipment. If you’re a sneakerhead or collector, this is a great place to find some awesome limited edition kicks from the world’s biggest sport, street, and lifestyle brands. Even if you’re just looking for a casual pair of runners, you’ll find some great deals as there’s always a sale happening! While you’re there, check out the Mong Kok neighbourhood where you can shop until you drop or eat your weight in street food.
Pro Tip: Kill two birds with one stone and get your snack on during your shopping spree breaks! Sneaker Street and Argyle Street offer some of the best Hong Kong snack stands in Kowloon. Try some curry fish balls, eggettes, cheung fun, and other delicious Hong Kong delights. For the adventurous and daring, simply follow your nose and, if you happen to smell something incredibly offensive and pungent… your nose will have likely led you to a good stinky tofu vendor.
Sheung Wan Dried Seafood Market
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If you’re looking for a truly Hong Kong experience, check out the Sheung Wan Dried Seafood Market. These markets have been operating the same way for several generations, selling dried fish skin, dried mushrooms, chinese sausage, dried oysters, fish, clams, abalone, sea cucumbers, and much more. A walk through the street will be a seafood assault on your senses, especially your sense of smell!
Pro Tip: To be honest, you probably won’t be buying much dried seafood here if you’re a traveller, but it’s definitely worth checking out to absorb some of Hong Kong’s traditional culture and to capture some fantastic photos. For the best use of time, the Dried Seafood Market is a good stop as a part of a neighbourhood walking tour which can also include nearby attractions like the Mid levels, Man Mo Temple, Hollywood Road, PMQ and Sai Ying Pun.
Alexander Leung is a Canadian traveller, writer, digital marketer and musician currently based in Hong Kong. Alexander travels in search of unique experiences and enjoys telling the stories of people, places and culture from a curious traveller's perspective.