Sunday markets have a peculiarly magical way of bringing together communities for a few brief hours once a week. Whether the market takes place in the town centre, a bazaar, or in the case of Hong Kong—the middle of a commercial plaza—a nostalgic sense of our old agrarian lifestyles returns to the city. The vendors create and grow their own goods, and the customers slowly browse, soaking in those lazy weekend #vibes.
I’ve always been a smidgen envious of bright and breezy Sunday mornings along Marche Bastille, or the weird and wonderful selection of goodies at London’s Alexandra Palace Market. Hong Kong never really had those orderly, pastoral charms since our own popular, but frenzied wet markets are open every day with the sounds of no-nonsense haggling.
Recently however, this gap in Hong Kong’s market (pun intended) has been addressed by Honestly Green and Swire Properties’ Tong Chong Street Market, which combines the best elements of the archetype Sunday market with a little bit of Hong Kong flavour. The vendors include a mixture of local Hong Kong farms, pop-ups from trendy restaurants, and fresh creations from dedicated artisans and hobbyists. Homemade breads, jams, and cookies are often found between rows of Chinese cabbages and sausages grilling on a portable stove.
This smorgasbord and fusion of cultures doesn’t mean that Hong Kong doesn’t have its own distinctive share of sensory-filled market life. Hong Kong’s wet markets are largely considered as living pieces of history, and are currently under threat of going extinct. Their name is derived from the buckets of water used to wash fish scales and stray bits of produce down the city’s grates. Above those grates you’ll find deboned fish, with their hearts beating, and rows of fresh vegetables in varying shades of green. This all contributes to the element of “freshness”, a prized factor in the selection of Chinese groceries.
Tong Chong Street Markets does not seek to replace the wet markets, but rather provides a complementary alternative while giving a little helping hand to the growing number of innovative vendors in this overgrown city. It’s a breath of fresh air in a city that thrives on chain stores and big brands – wander around the market and you’ll find locally brewed beer, gooey homemade brownies, and freshly churned almond milk ice cream, all crafted by young entrepreneurs. These popular stalls help attract the crowds, many of whom only now discover the breadth of produce that can be grown in Hong Kong soils. It’s still unusually hot at the moment, but soon the cooling breeze in late October will mean it’s almost time for passionfruit and beetroot to go on sale.
There’s a lot to breathe in, observe, and try out. And if that delicious goodness isn’t your jam, there are dogs. Lots of dogs.
Find the market on Tong Chong Street, Taikoo Place every Sunday from the 25th of September to the 18th of December. It is open from 11am – 5pm.