Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hong Kong: Temple Street Comes Alive After Dark

This is my first day in Hong Kong, and after a 14-hour flight arriving in the early morning before this bustling, densely populated cosmopolitan city stirs awake, I was thoroughly beaten. But after a much-needed nap (and I never take afternoon naps) and an early dinner with my uncle for some refueling, I got my second wind and ventured out onto the streets this evening to the Temple Street night market.

Temple Street is in the Yau Ma Tei neighborhood on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong. (If you're not familiar with Hong Kong, there's two distinctive areas connected by the popular ferry service -- Kowloon and what's known as Hong Kong island. I'm staying on the Kowloon side.) Everyday starting around 2 p.m., vendors set up stalls over a four-block area along Temple Street, but really much of the action begins around dinner time when the dai pai dong or restaurants with street-only seating go into full steam.

While there are a few food vendors, the majority of the hawkers sell souvenirs and tschokes. It reminds me of the Chinatown street festivals where booths are selling cheap leather products and T-shirts. It's like that multiplied by a hundred, with products ranging from the touristy Oriental items (silk blouses, tea cups, fake jade pendants) to the cheap goods (toys, fake electronics) to the just plain weird (dildos and lingerie).

This vendor was selling pickled items and preserved plums. I guess it's a nice way to start the evening and get your appetite going.

The tiny food vendors pour out onto the streets, creating their eating areas. This one with the sign "Spicy Crabs" seemed to have the largest gathering. Funny, though, the crowds seemed to be separated between the tourists and local Chinese. I didn't try any of the street food because I just had a big dinner with my uncle. But I have to say one vendor selling claypot rice dishes had some sweet smelling food!

Some vendors set up a table with displays of their dishes, like this food vendor selling a whole bunch of shellfish.

This guy was selling fresh water chestnuts on a stick. I'm not sure how this is a popular treat because water chestnut, while slightly sweet, can be pretty bland.

I saw this dog hanging out next to this big basket of durian, the smelly fruit that seems to be in a lot of Southeast Asian countries. The dog was totally sprayed out on the floor but popped his head up to pose for me.

I thought this print of the kids was creepy.

The weather is just starting to get warm as Hong Kong moves into spring, which makes this soft serve ice cream truck a good idea.

This sign is right in front of a row of stalls that had some explicit adult items like the aforementioned dildos, lingerie, g-strings, etc. I felt like a shower just walking by them.

The Temple Street night market is more a tourist attraction, with the exception of the dai pai dongs catering to the local Chinese looking for a cheap hearty dinner. To find it, take the subway (known as the MTR) to the Yau Ma Tei station and walk along Man Ming Lane until you hit Temple and just keep following the stalls.


Kim said...

I'm so glad you've hit the ground running - blogwise. Gorgeous photos, as always!

Carolyn Jung said...

"Dog with Durian.'' Doesn't that sound like it should be hanging in a museum? LOL
Have a fabulous time over there. I'm hungry just looking at your photos.

pesmegaara said...

I LOVE roasted chestnuts!

Single Guy Ben said...

Pesmegaara, they weren't roasted! They're water chestnuts that were peeled and then placed on a stick. Not exactly the same. (I, btw, love roasted chestnuts too.)

James said...

I too am a huge fan of DOG WITH DURIAN :)

And boiled peanuts! Which I thought were in one of these photographs at first. At second glance it seems like that's not the case, but I still am a huge fan of them.

Single Guy Ben said...

James, yeah, I think boiled peanuts would be more typical and more of a popular sell. I think these are just roasted peanuts.