I visit Hong Kong’s dazzling night market
After a lot of confusion about which way to go, we made it to Mong Kok: a network of street markets spanning across a massive area of the city.
We found ourselves in the heart of Ladies’ Market, which contained the bulk of the items, from Chinese wedding dresses to silk robes to electronics. Nicknacks galore!
The walking space in between stalls was narrow, and we had to squeeze past pedestrians walking in the opposite directions. The vendors sqwaked prices at us for items we glanced at. I decided to try my hand at haggling for the first time in my life.
I pointed to an item that I actually wanted to purchase, and asked the vendor, “how much?” She responded with “80 dollar.” (10usd). I had heard that it was smart to start at half of the asking price and work your way up, but I didn’t feel experienced enough to start so low.
I frowned a bit and said, “ehh, that’s a bit expensive. 60?”
“No, 80,” she said, matter-of-factly.
I ended up wriggling my way all the way down to 70 and was feeling a bit tired of the dance, and was just about to give in and pay, when one of my traveling group came in and said “oh, that’s too much.”
The woman then got extremely upset at seeing that I was putting away the money I was just about to hand her. She began jabbering in extremely fast cantonese, making a ridiculously overdramatic pouty face.
From here, I was deciding to give up. 70 HKD is about 9 US dollars, which was way too much to spend anyway. I was actually considering walking away–not just pretending to in order to lower the price. But my way was blocked and I was forced to continue to haggle. I ended up getting her to lower the price all the way to $60. Exactly my original asking price, something that is normally unheard of. Still a bit overpriced for a trinket, but I like to think of it as paying for the experience.
At this point in the night, everyone was getting exhausted, sore, and a bit cranky. Two of my group led us into a Chinese massage parlor on the second story above the markets. The staircase to reach it was narrow, and the hallways smelled of incense. The walls of the parlor were covered in anatomy posters, and a TV softly played a local news station. Three people in our group got a foot massage. This was unexpectedly one of the best moments of the night. Ticklish feet made for contagious laughter, and it was great to take a moment to just sit in comfy chairs.
Everyone left the masseuse feeling refreshed, and we continued on to see the other various markets.
We passed pet stores full of puppies and kittens, and couldn’t help but gawk for a bit at the puppies wrestling in the windows.
I got to see the part of the market that I had been eagerly looking forward to: goldfish markets!
Turtles in buckets, frogs in tanks, and bags after bags of vibrant fish. There was even an alleyway full of nothing but tank decorations.
We passed by a street cart selling the iconic Hong Kong/Macau delicacy, dan tat.
Dan Tat is an egg tart with a flaky pastry crust. We received them hot off a heating rack and were impatient about waiting to take our first bite. The pastry was amazing. Sweet and warm, and the custard was just the right amount of filling. After hunting for locations for good street food for a while longer, we couldn’t handle taking another step, and had to call it a night. Luckily, we didn’t have to spend a lot of time going through the steps of getting on the ferry, since the subway system went underneath the harbor. It took us about 5 minutes to zip underneath the water and emerge back on Hong Kong Island. We headed back to the hotel with sore feet, heavy eyelids, and a bucket load of experiences.