Wet markets

Ry and I recently went to a wet-market with my nan to get some bits and bobs for dinner.

The term ‘wet market’ comes from the extensive use of water to wash the floors (due to the sale of fresh meat and fish); to keep the fruits and vegetables fresh and to keep fish and shellfish alive.

They also sell dried goods and cooked meat.

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The fish/shellfish is so fresh that it’s still swimming when you pick it!

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Traditionally, the markets also sold live animals such as poultry, reptiles and pigs. Some customers want to see the animal live before buying it, mainly to check its health and quality.

Having lived in the UK all my life, with its pre-packaged meat in supermarkets, I really disliked wet markets when I was younger. This was mainly due to the fact that I once saw customers choosing live chickens that they’d like for dinner and the market trader would put it in a big bucket of salt water to kill it. They could then pick up their chicken after the rest of their shopping. You can’t get fresher than that, I guess.

However the sale of  live animals in markets has been rare since the SARS epidemic.

Just regular butchers these days.

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Although wet markets are popular with older citizens, those with lower incomes and domestic helpers; they have recently become places of interest for tourists to see the “real Hong Kong.”

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Finally we headed to nan’s for a bit of nosh…

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People often asked me what I ate for dinner with my family when I was in the UK.

Surprisingly enough, we never had sweet and sour chicken balls or prawn crackers.

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This is an example of a traditional home-cooked meal. You usually have a bowl of boiled rice and a couple of dishes.

Nan cooked us a prawn omelette; chicken, dried oysters and Chinese mushrooms in oyster sauce; some pork and vegetables from a soup. And a cheeky little side of chili oil, top notch!

xxx

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