A Brother's Photo Journey Through the Markets of China

by Kalafina

China's markets are some of the most interesting in the world. Take a first-hand look through the eyes of one who has experienced them (including the deep-fried scorpion).

China has some of the most unique markets in the world which offer everything from fried scorpion to hundreds of songbirds. My brother is an avid traveler (and eater of bizarre foods) so while In China he made every effort to visit the day and night markets. Being an adventurer he always tries to partake in every new experience so expect to see some of his 'interesting' food choices he made while strolling through the markets. I hope to retrace many of his steps in Beijing when I visit China in 2014! My hope is you will be encouraged to consider giving serious thought about planning a trip to China and see its amazing markets for yourself!

We Start in Hong Kong

The Night Market Awaits!
Night or Day the Market is Always Alive
Night or Day the Market is Always Alive

In Germany, my Oma and Opa live near a market where they often go during the day to get fresh produce or beer. The market is not open on Sundays and I have not seen the stands open at night. China's markets are very different. In Hong Kong and Beijing, my brother went out and enjoyed the markets at night. Look at how crowded the streets are! To think even at night people are so busy shopping is just plain amazing!

Hong Kong Meat Market Delight

Downright intimidating
Downright intimidating

My brother loves taking pictures of the markets as they are such a far cry from the neatly packaged supermarkets here at home. I have seen some freakish things in the meat markets of Jerusalem but I tend to draw the line at taking pictures of meat being hung up like souvenirs for tourists. My brother's reaction, "That looks amazing!" Let's face it. As you will soon see, the boy will eat just about anything!

Rack of Goat anyone?

I'll pass on that one
There's plenty to go around
There's plenty to go around

This picture takes first prize for being the most fascinating/disturbing of all. You can literally see the whole rack of the (poor) goat just hanging out for display. I kept having to return for another look because it seemed so impossible for such a poor thing to be laid out in such a way. Again, my brother probably was thinking of all the great spice combinations and unique ways to prepare goat.

It's the Innards That Count

A Variety of Innards
A Variety of Innards

My brother could not resist a shot of the innards available before buying a street market meal of random innards. I would have probably been trying not to vomit and he was practically salivating at the idea of trying all those organs better left inside. Still, you have to admit it's a pretty amazing market which just has bowls of insides sitting out there casually for purchase. I cannot imagine how that would go over in my country!

Innard Takeout

You can get those innards to go
You can get those innards to go

When I asked my brother what the food was in the containers he just shrugged and said, "intestines." "Alright onii, what kind of intestines?" He just said intestines of all kinds, no real specifics. My brother also thought they tasted pretty good as you can see by the smile on his face. To him picking up intestines from a street vendor is no bigger deal then getting Italian gelato on the streets of Rome.

Who Knew Intestines Were So Tasty?

Innards to the Right
Innards to the Right
Intestine Soup
Intestine Soup
Another Delicious Meal for Nii-Chan!
Another Delicious Meal for Nii-Chan!

Aquarium Fish Market

Look but Please Don't Eat
Look but Please Don't Eat

The aquarium fish market is a much more relaxing and vision-friendly place. I personally wish my brother had taken more pictures because it sounds so amazing. Imagine, it's like walking through an aquarium where everything is for sale. My brother obviously enjoyed the idea as you can see by the bright smile on his face,

One of Many Walls of Fish

And all for sale
And all for sale
Much easier than fishing one out of the tank
Much easier than fishing one out of t...

When I first was looking through my brother's market photos I was very confused about the 'wall of fish.' My brother is finishing his Ph.D in fisheries so he has so many photos of the fish markets and I assumed this one was part of them. Thus why the fish were in bags, to make buying and taking away for eating easier.

I got shot down very quickly for my logical idea. These are actually aquarium fish. They are in plastic bags for purchase but you are not supposed to eat them. He said you could find just about any type of aquarium fish.

The Bird Market

The type you eat
The type you eat

My brother told me this lady was picking out her chicken. The chosen one would be plucked from its cage, butchered in back, and handed over freshly dead. Although I shy away from purchasing through a bird market, I am curious as to how such a fresh chicken compares to the usual. Perhaps it would be a bit like the difference between a fish fry made with fresh-caught fish or frozen?

Waste Not Chicken Feet

Want not chicken feet?
Want not chicken feet?

My brother believes part of traveling is always trying new things. This always includes food. So when invited for dim sung, he decided to choose a very special menu option. Special? Yes, it's not every day you get to eat chicken feet (unless you live in a region where you do). I do not know whether it was as pleasing to his palate as meat innards but he isn't cringing in horror (in the photo) so it must have been an okay experience.

By the way, below are photos of his dim sung meal, some delicious duck jerky he had one night for dinner, and a one thousand year old egg he also sampled!

Enjoy the Tastes of China

Dim Sung Delight!
Dim Sung Delight!
Duck Jerky
Duck Jerky
1000 Year Old Eggs
1000 Year Old Eggs

The Fish Market

Not the aquarium ones. The ones you eat.
Not the aquarium ones. The ones you eat.

My brother is graduating with a master's in fisheries so he has spent an immense time around fish. Which explains why most of his market photos were taken of fish in the fish markets. I like fish so it did not bother me one bit but I thought my readers might get bored so I have severely limited my fish market pictures.

Let me start out with a picture combining the totally fresh (aka still swimming) with the 'that's a silver carp with no head' fish for sale!

Time for Street Snack

Freshly Made & Affordable
Freshly Made & Affordable
or a bit on the dry side
or a bit on the dry side

My brother prefers to try the unique street vendor foods over pricier sit-down restaurant options. He claims to have found some of his most delicious memories at these places. So why is this module on my brother's love for street food in the midst of the fish market section? Well, because of the great street vendor foods he got to experience (and you get to see) in this section!

Fried Starfish

I pass on that one
I pass on that one

Once I knew what he was eating I did not know what to say. I always had this idea of starfish belonging in the ocean where they tormented mussels and regrew lost arms. My brother must have some different idea because he does not appear to be upset at disrupting the 'peaceful starfish' lifestyle. He does not really have much to say about the taste but I am still completely impressed just by his decision to make eating an experience.

Fried Scorpion on the Menu

Goes great with the fried starfish
Goes great with the fried starfish

My brother did not just get a plate of starfish at the fish market. O no. He also got a nice little side dish of scorpion. Once again, I had this idea of angry black scorpions scurrying in the desert with the stingers ready to strike NOT of them being eaten like fried onion rings! Obviously, my brother breaks all my nature stereotypes and here is the picture to prove it!

Truly Fresh Seafood

is still alive when you buy it
is still alive when you buy it
Still swimming & ready to put up a fight
Still swimming & ready to put up a fight

After so many market pictures, I have decided I must reconfigure my definition of fresh. FRESH means it was alive when you bought it and you/they killed and ate it. These fish are 'fresh' but not FRESH. They are not swimming around happily BUT are very far from the misshapen rock hard 'fish' found in the supermarket freezer. Plus, I really like looking at all the different fish types and this picture shows a nice amount.

The Hong Kong Flower Market

Quite the pretty place
Quite the pretty place
Orchids. My brother's favorite flower
Orchids. My brother's favorite flower

After so much death I think it is about time we add a little 'life' to the lens! Thus why I have included the flower market in Hong Kong. I can see it being a beautiful place giving off a sense of peace in the market chaos. Perhaps my interpretation is far off but I hope to someday have the funds to discover the truth for myself. In the meant time, I will settle for a few pictures and a wish.

Hong Kong Bird Market

For beauty. Not dinner
For beauty. Not dinner
Songbirds always for sale
Songbirds always for sale

The idea of a songbird market reminds me of when my brother and I were small. We would always listen to a tape which told the story of a nightingale's secret song, a lost duke's child, mystery in Venice, and the music of Vivaldi. For some reason, even years later, the music still remains and I see it in these song bird photos.

Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery

The Music was Everywhere-In her Ears, In her Head, In her Heart
Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery (Audio CD)

Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery is a story intertwined with the music and work of the famous composer, Antonio Vivaldi. I would have to write thousands of words to describe the art of the tale and its truth. So instead of reading lots and lots of my drabbl

View on Amazon

Random Moments in China's Markets

What will you find?
What will you find?

My brother, in the picture above, is a lot like me. We both love to take pictures of things which strike our fancy or amuse us. They make for a personal story to tell and let's face it, give life a little spice. I wanted to include just a few of my favorites. I do not know which market(s) they are all from but I do know they are pictures ready to be shared!

Random Moments in the Market

Good try nii-chan but I don't think it works like that!
Good try nii-chan but I don't think i...
Fried Dace in a can?
Fried Dace in a can?
Half-hour Ice Cream
Half-hour Ice Cream
the Practical Umbrella Vending Machine
the Practical Umbrella Vending Machine

Eyewitness Travel Books on China & Hong Kong

The best travel books out there (trust me. We own quite a few including the China edition)
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: China

Packed with color photographs, illustrations, and detailed maps, Eyewitness Travel Guide: China explores China region-by region; from the marathon meanderings of its Great Wall ...

View on Amazon

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Beijing and Shanghai

The updated and expanded DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Beijing & Shanghai will lead you straight to the best attractions these great cities have to offer, from the Great Wall of C...

View on Amazon

Top 10 Hong Kong (EYEWITNESS TOP 10 TRAVEL GUIDE)

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Hong Kong will lead you straight to the best attractions Hong Kong has to offer. Whether you're looking for the liveliest nightlife in Hong Ko...

View on Amazon

Top 10 Beijing (EYEWITNESS TOP 10 TRAVEL GUIDE)

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Beijing will lead you straight to the best attractions this rewarding and vibrant city has to offer. There are dozens of Top 10 lists, includi...

View on Amazon

Updated: 02/25/2014, Kalafina
 
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?
4

Comments


   Login
Sheri_Oz on 06/09/2015

I'm just putting together my photos and memories of China so I loved seeing these pics. Those Asian markets are just so special!

Mira on 11/12/2014

Fun article! I like these Asian markets. I only saw them on food shows. Very interesting. A friend of mine traveled to Thailand and said the food (for one thing) was phenomenal.

cmoneyspinner on 02/27/2014

This was fun! So exotic!

ologsinquito on 02/25/2014

It looks as if your brother had a remarkable trip. The pictures are beautiful.

You might also like

Confucius

Confucius, 551-479, was a Chinese political figure, educator and social think...

The Oldest Aged Kefir Cheese and the Tarim River Basin Mummies...

Cheese claims a longer shelf life than milk. Some consumers enjoy aged cheese...


Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...
Error!