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!
A Brother's Photo Journey Through the Markets of China
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).
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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,
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.
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?
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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!
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 ...
|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...
|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...
|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...