Night markets in Hong Kong
Night markets (Chinese: 夜市; Jyutping: je6 si5) in Hong Kong are bazaars usually located in older areas like Sham Shui Po, Mong Kok or Sheung Wan. Besides selling toys, clothes and food, some night markets in Hong Kong also provide divination to visitors, such as the Temple Street Night Market, which is popular among foreign visitors.
Night markets in Hong Kong first began as night bazaars, or 大笪地, which, in Cantonese, refers to vast public open spaces where people gather. Like many other Asian countries,Hong Kong saw a growing trend of people gathering after work to socialise in open-air spaces. This trend gradually expanded to include other cultural and recreational activities and features, such as singing, juggling, fortune-telling, local food stalls and flea markets. At the height of night markets, they provided Hong Kong’s grassroots as the best place for affordable everyday entertainment.
Sheung Wan Gala Point was the most popular night bazaar, emerging as the "poor man's nightclub" in the 1840's. Not only did it serve as a significant recreational spot among locals, it was also one of Hong Kong's most popular tourist attractions between the 1970s and 1980s. The site was permanently closed in 1992 due to new developments in town.
While night markets no longer serve as key recreational spots for locals, their distinctive cultural features have attracted many foreigners, and today, they remain as popular tourist attractions for visitors to Hong Kong.
A key milestone in the history of night markets in Hong Kong was the launch of PMQ Night Market in 2014. Contemporary art products, including handicrafts, fusion food, were introduced, adding new elements to the traditional night market. Bands were invited to perform shows at this market aimed mainly at Hong Kong youngsters.
List of night markets
This is a list of night markets in Hong Kong sorted by their locations and opening frequency.
- Sheung Wan Gala Point
Hong Kong Island:
- Night Market PMQ Central
- Tai Po Bamboo Theatre
- Sheung Shui Night Market
- Tsing Yi Bamboo Theatre
- Leung King Estate Night Market
Ladies' Market (女人街) - It goes without saying that a great variety of products in Ladies' Market are for women, such as accessories and clothing. Still, products for men are also sold. For instance, there are phone accessories, backpacks and furnishings etc. A large part of the market's reputation originates from its bargaining culture, meaning that customers can bargain with shop owners for a cheaper price. In addition, the market is famous for selling fake branded products which resemble those of renowned brands . Customers can decide whether to purchase those products by their own preference regardless of the brand name. The above culture and commodities have turned this market into one of the most popular landmarks for tourists.
Temple Street Night Market (廟街) - Temple Street Night Market possesses a number of diverse attractions. Like many night markets, this one is also clustered by stalls selling clothes. Yet, they are more special and famous since stalls are providing mainly men’s wear. The market is also known for plenty of fortune-tellers whose fortune-telling skills differ from one another. Some may look at the customer's’ lines on the face while some may read the customer’s palm of the hand so as to predict their future. The performance and shows at night also contribute to accumulating the fame of the market. Specifically, Cantonese opera would be occasionally performed which attract a lot of people, especially tourists to have a taste on the traditional Chinese culture.
Yau Ma Tei Jade Hawker Bazaar (油麻地玉石市場) - Famous attractions in Yau Ma Tei Jade Hawker Bazaar are actually being indicated by its name. Amid the market, there are lots of jade stalls selling jades ranging between dissimilar qualities, purities, colours and even thicknesses. Thousands and thousands of foreigners are fascinated by Jade, which is being highly prioritized by the Chinese. Pearl is also another high reputation earned attractions in this night market as it is cheaper than jade.
Mong Kok unrest
The authorities tried again this year to crack down the unlicensed stalls in Mong Kok Night Market near Langham Place. Local activists oppose to any moves that are seen as threats to local traditions. Dozens of people gathered to defend the vendors after watching a video of the night market on a local activists Facebook page, on Monday night.
As officials tried to shut down a night food market in Mong Kok, hundreds of people confronted with police on Monday night. It lasted for the entire midnight, until 8:00 a.m. in the morning. At least 54 people were arrested and dozens of people injured. Meanwhile, a police officer fired two gunshots to the sky to warn the violent defenders of the vendors.
It is believed that the authorities tried to crack down the stalls this year, unlike before when they used to turn a blind eye to the situation, is the proximate cause for the conflict.
Leung King Estate Night Market conflict
Food hawkers set up stalls outside of Leung King Plaza on the second day of Lunar New Year, 2 February. A group of security guards with unknown identity (due to the problem of outsourcing) confronted with the hawkers, saying that the area around is a location prohibited. Somehow, the food hawkers have been selling traditional foods there for over 20 years already.
The hawkers are forced to leave, some confronted which led to a serious conflict. One hawker’s stall was pushed over by the guards, adding more tension to the conflict. Meanwhile, some security guards put up metal barricades to drive out the hawkers and block the region. The residents are annoyed and discontented since the barricade were blocking the ways to home, which has caused inconvenience. The reckless and violent actions of the security also upset them. Until midnight, over 200 people surrounded the area, there were violent conflicts, even journalists were injured.
- Baum, Julian (Sep 11, 1984). "Adding a little cha-cha to Peking night life". The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Publishing Society (d/b/a "The Christian Science Monitor"), trusteeship under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
- 吳, 昊 (2001). 飲食香江 (in Chinese). 香港: SCMP Book Publishing Limited. pp. 103–104.
- "Top 10 Attractions". Discover Hong Kong. Hong Kong Tourism Board.
- Chan, Yannie (Apr 28, 2014). "PMQ Night Market A Success". HK Magazine. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
- "Ladies' Market". Discover Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Tourism Board.
- "Things to Buy at The Ladies Market". Ladies-Market.HK. WL Media.
- O'Riordain, Aoife (Feb 16, 2002). "Hong Kong: the complete guide to Hong Kong's markets ; It's not just fruit and veg in Hong Kong and Kowloon. Here, there's a market to suit every taste, just as long as you're prepared to haggle.". The Independent. Independent Print Ltd.
- Crawford, Barclay (Feb 12, 2007). "Fake luxury goods still rife at Ladies Market". SCMP. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
- "Temple Street Night Market". Lonely Planet.
- "Temple Street Night Market". Discover Hong Kong. Hong Kong Tourism Board.
- "Temple Street Night Market". temple-street-night-market.hk. WL Media HK.
- "Jade Market and Jade Street". Discover Hong Kong. Hong Kong Tourism Board.
- "Hong Kong's Mong Kok clashes: More than fishballs". BBC News. 9 February 2016. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
- "【旺角騷亂】旺角黑夜11小時 衝突時序表". 蘋果日報 (in Chinese). February 9, 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
- "良景邨「小販夜市」又衝突 4人受傷拉1人". 蘋果日報 (in Chinese). February 10, 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- "良景夜市連日爆衝突 「管理員」身分仍然成謎 警被指包庇". 立場新聞 (in Chinese). February 10, 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
- "記者接連於屯門夜市遇襲 記協促警方徹查". Hong Kong Journalists Association (in Chinese). February 10, 2016.