Hong Kong wet markets, don’t expect them to wet your appetite.
The walk home from my office takes approximately 15 min, but the sights that one sees along the way can only be described as remarkable. Hong Kong is busy, Hong Kong is Humid, Hong Kong is hot — almost all year round. Combine this with condensed sidewalks, mobile phone zombies and lost tourists and you get a hybrid city of chaotic beauty.
The fastest route home is through the Wan Chai Wet Market. This term basically means ‘smelly bloody street’ for anyone who is not familiar with the lay of the land. To me, it meant “avoid at all costs’ for the first 6 months that I lived in Hong Kong. However, the longer you live here, the less sensitive you become to the smells of rotting meat, steamed food and butchered carcasses hanging in the small humid alleyways.
Now that my nose has become accustomed to the smells, I find it almost bearable to walk through the wet markets. They never cease to amaze me. On any given day you can see eels squirming around in slimy plastic buckets, crabs clinging to the sides of their watery graves and fish flapping frantically to escape their fate.
The butchers are always the most fascinating. Their blood stained stalls have magnificent displays of meat. Nothing I would ever consider eating, but the blatant display of the raw carnivorous nature of humans is mesmerizing. On the corner of Wan Chai Market there is one particular butcher who always attracts my attention, everyday there is a different meat of interest hanging in his shop. Yesterday there were tails, rib cages and a little bunch of bright green gall bladders ready for purchase. Surviving the walk of the wet market has made me less likely to crave steak for dinner, I now simply prefer a fresh green salad.