Mong Kok Market
Canton Road, Mong Kok
From the window of our hotel room up in the clouds at The Cordis in Mong Kok we could identify two rows of bright umbrellas each sheltering the stalls of a busy market. One afternoon curiosity got the better of us and we marched down (or rather soared down) in the lift to investigate the wonders of a proper Hong Kong market.
Just two streets behind the hotel sits Canton Road – and if you can resist the roasted meat shops that you pass on the way, you may just make it there. This is Hong Kong that you have seen in the guide books and on tv. The chefs expertly hacking the carcasses of roasted meat and handing out styrofoam boxes in which it can be enjoyed, like a production line. The steam coming off the tea shops being mildly interrupted by the scent of stir fried noodles. This is why you came.
The shock is instant – everything here pretty much, is alive. Some plastic bowls with overflowing water contain recognisable seafood such as crab, lobster and prawns but others are a bit of a lottery for a first time buyer. This is how the Cantonese love their produce, as fresh as it can possibly be. You would like a chicken sir? Bear with me while I take it out the back and put it out of its misery. This practice is not for everyone, but this is how it is here.
One strange standout on our meander through the stalls was a cage of live frogs, or could they be toads? Are toads edible? Even so – it was quite a surprise to see these things hopping around waiting to be purchased. You can’t argue though with the freshness of the produce and also the apparent quality
If meat, fish and frog aren’t your thing then there’s always the mountain of fresh fruit and veg – a chef’s dream in this case. All the back catalogue of Chinese cuisine’s best hit’s are present here. Ginger, pak choy, choy sum and some of the more regular vegetables like bean sprouts and spinach. The fruit is fresh, vibrant and varied. We had already eaten before taking a walk around and instantly regretted it, everything looked so good!
There are many markets in Hong Kong in both Kowloon and on Hong Kong Island which means lots of options wherever you happen to be staying. From our experience at Mong Kok Market, we can highly recommend a visit. Especially with Mong Kok sitting dead in the centre of town with superb links via the metro system to just about anywhere in Hong Kong. Visitors to the market can also take advantage of the superb chop houses and restaurants such as Chuen Moon Kee which serves the most incredible Clay Pot Rice.
Opening times: Monday – Friday 0800-2100
Nearest Metro: Mong Kok (Exit E)