Forget ultraviolet lights, narrow aisles, and long queues at the checkout, when it comes to stocking up the cupboard with your weekly groceries, there’s really only one place to go – the wet market. If you’re not quite ready to ditch the shopping trolly just yet, then maybe our friends over at Sam the Local can convince you otherwise.
Imagine rows and rows of stalls with colorful fruits and veggies – some you’ve never even seen before, lively fish, and other seafood splashing around in tanks and buckets, fresh cuts of meat hanging on bars for display, and ample amounts of chaos and shouting. This is what wet markets are all about.
Nestled inside a building or off of a side street, wet markets generally span over a couple of floors or along a few blocks. Each vendor is singular in the type of produce they sell. For example, one stall will only sell vegetables, one will only sell fruit, one will only sell cookies and sweets, one will only sell pork, etc.
Although they may seem intimidating at first, they are most certainly a superior alternative to supermarkets for buying fresh produce. And here are the top 4 reasons you should check out your nearest wet market the next time you’re in need of fresh produce.
Although supermarkets give you a wider variety in terms of food overall, you will most definitely find a wider variety of produce at wet markets. For example, a supermarket might carry two types of grapes, but the wet market will offer four.
Looking for greens, but don’t want just cabbage, lettuce, or celery? Look no further.
Thought there was only one type of ginger? Think again.
See what we mean?
Not going to lie, it’s probably true that the things bought at the wet market spoil more quickly, but that just means there’s less preservatives in it. It also guarantees freshness because that fish you just bought was still swimming when you picked it, and the chicken still had feathers when you guys first met!
Although markdown items might be cheaper in the supermarkets, the produce at the wet market will be consistently cheaper. For example, a common price for Fuji apples at the supermarket is $12.90 for 3, but at the wet market, you can find it for $10 for 4. Bargain!
Insider tip: if you go later in the day, the prices are even cheaper because the vendors are trying to get rid of as much stock as possible before they close for the day. Think 6pm-7pm.
This is our favorite reason for going to the wet market. Most of the vendors are really friendly and helpful. They can give you expert tips on the tastiest way to cook certain vegetables, the best cuts of meat for different types of soup, even how to know when something is ripe.
If you asked a question that your vendor didn’t know, it’s likely that the nosey vendor at one stall overheard and is willing to chime in with their knowledge. It’s this sense of community that ultimately makes the wet market a unique experience and keeps us going back.
So, have we convinced you yet? Why not check out one of our favorite wet markets on Reclamation Street (Jordan), Graham Street (Central), or Bowrington Road (Causeway Bay)? Or head over to the newly refurbished Choi Ming Market in Tseung Kwan O.