A trip to the wet market in Guangzhou China

The variety of food shopping in Guanzhou is pretty vast. There are the traditional grocery stores (my favorite one is a Japanese-owned chain), a Sam’s Club-esque mega center, an Australian butcher/baker, an overpriced yet uber convenient Western grocery store less than a block away, and then there’s the Wet Market.

A Wet Market is an open-air market selling fresh fruits, veggies, and meats, including seafood.  Our neighborhood market is on the first and basement level floors underneath a large hotel and residential tower. Most neighborhoods have a wet market of some sort, although I have heard ours is one of the most comprehensive ones. In addition to “wet” items, there are many stalls selling  conveniences that remind you of being in Walmart.

Our wet market is by far the cheapest place to buy produce. It’s probably the freshest place, and likely the place where you need to spend the most time cleaning your produce.  It’s loud, a little dirty, and full of local culture.  To buy, you approach the stand and the vendor hands you a basket. You fill up your basket with what you want and they weigh it and tell you the price  – cash only!

Downstairs are vegetables and small stores and service people - like shoe repair, nail salon, a tailor, toys and inexpensive clothes.

Downstairs are vegetables and small stores and service people – like shoe repair, nail salon, a tailor, toys and inexpensive clothes.

FRUITS AND VEGGIES

Fresh veggies - most people buy what they need daily.

Fresh veggies – most people buy what they need daily.

There are probably about 20 veggie venders. Almost all have carrots, broccoli and onions. The variety comes in what kinds of greens, potatoes, bok choi, and herbs you want.

There are probably about 20 veggie venders. Almost all have carrots, broccoli and onions. The variety comes in what kinds of greens, potatoes, bok choi, and herbs you want.   There are also about 15 varieties of mushrooms available.

I'm not exactly sure what this root vegetable is?

I’m not exactly sure what this root vegetable is?

The fruit stands are upstairs. There are half a dozen stalls and all have oranges, dragon fruit  and bananas.  Many will also have kiwi, pomelo, star fruit, tomatoes, strawberries, apples and cherries.  One stand has blueberries and avocados  - which are special treats here due to the price.

The fruit stands are upstairs. There are half a dozen stalls and all have oranges, dragon fruit and bananas. Many will also have kiwi, pomelo, star fruit, tomatoes, strawberries, apples and cherries. One stand has blueberries and avocados – which are special treats here due to the price.

I love these little Mandarin oranges! My fruit lady always opens one up for me to sample while I'm shopping!

I love these little Mandarin oranges! My fruit lady always opens one up for me to sample while I’m shopping!

FRESH MEAT

The wet market is also a source of fresh meat.  There are probably 30 stalls with meat - mostly pork. All open air.

The wet market is also a source of fresh meat. There are probably 30 stalls with meat – mostly pork. All open air, all next door to each other and the fruit stands.  It’s tolerable in the cooler months but during the steamy summer, this place is home to lots of strong odors.

You can buy innards.

You can buy innards.

Take your pick! They will mince the meat on the spot with a pair of super sharp knives.

Take your pick! They will mince the meat on the spot with a pair of super sharp knives.

The dude behind the counter is eating his lunch!

The dude behind the counter is eating his lunch!

Proving that it's the animal you say it is in China is important. The sign wasn't enough for the goat stand.

Proving that it’s the animal you say it is in China is important. The sign wasn’t enough for the goat stand.

POULTRY

The chicken stand - you pick your (live) chicken, watch them prepare it.  Key word here - YOU!  I do not buy chicken this way.

The chicken stand – you pick your (live) chicken, watch them prepare it. Key word here – YOU! I do not buy chicken this way. Surprised?

More chickens at the ready in wooden round basket crates.

More chickens at the ready in wooden round basket crates.

TOFU

The tofu stand. Fresh or already fried. Right across from the chicken stand.

The tofu stand. Fresh or already fried. Right across from the chicken stand.

SEAFOOD

There's also seafood. This is where the smelly stuff starts and the awareness of what's on the bottom of your shoes becomes present.

There’s also fish. This is where the smelly stuff starts and the awareness of what’s on the bottom of your shoes becomes present.

Tanks with live fish - large and small - are around.

Tanks with live fish – large and small – are around.

Basket cages hold frogs and turtles.

Basket cages hold frogs and turtles.

This kind lady chops fish all day long.

This kind lady chops fish all day long.

The fish is so freshly prepared that the mouths, now separated from the filleted bodies, are still gulping for watery air.

The fish is so freshly prepared that the mouths, now separated from the filleted bodies, are still gulping for watery air.

Shrimp

Shrimp

New discovery - a bucket of snakes.  Awesome.

New discovery – a bucket of snakes. Awesome.

Crabs all tied up with a bow.

Crabs all tied up with a bow.

About 

Currently, I’m globetrotting with my family as my husband is a Vice Consul with the United States Foreign Service.

Our first post was Recife, PE, Brazil, and we arrived in August 2010. Upon arrival, our daughter had just turned four and our superbaby son had just turned three months.

During the summer of 2013, our family of four moved to Guangzhou, China, for a two-year post. Our daughter is seven and our son is three.

9 thoughts on “A trip to the wet market in Guangzhou China

  1. admin Post author

    Seriously – I rarely head over to the protein section. Fruits & veggies are what’s in my bag! :)

  2. Jessie Bryson

    Those weird root vegetables are daikon radishes!!

    Love these photos, the wet markets were my favorite places in China (I miss tofu so much!)…but yeah, most of the time didn’t venture into the proteins too deep.

  3. admin Post author

    Thanks for reading and thank you so much for telling me about the radishes. :) I need to look up how to use them in a recipe. Do you know if beets can be found in China? I haven’t seen them in the wet market here.

  4. Jessie Bryson

    I never saw them at the wet market; I vaguely remember seeing them once or twice at Taste but that was it. Don’t think beets are much of a staple in the Chinese diet…

  5. Danny

    May I ask the address of your wet market? I have one nearby, but I don’t like it very much and fruit is very expensive! Thank you…

  6. admin Post author

    It is in Liede district, around the block from the Police Station. 猎德派出所 Liè dé pàichūsuǒ

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