Few places capture Hong Kong better than a wet market. The sound of vendors hawking their products, the varying aromas of fish, meat, and dried goods, the bustling scene of shoppers trying to find the best bargain - wet markets provide a true sense of Hong Kong food culture.
The term 'wet market' refers to the regular hosing down of market floors to keep them clean, and before the British arrived in Hong Kong in the 19th century, these markets took place once or twice a week. After colonization, daily street markets began to emerge, and today, permanent market halls can be found throughout Hong Kong and most neighborhoods have a government-operated market building, well-stocked with vendors selling fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, seafood, meat, and dried goods.
The best time of day to visit a wet market is in the morning when the produce is most fresh, but there’s often a second rush around 6pm when people stop by on their way home from work. The beauty of Hong Kong's wet markets is that the prices are often much lower than in grocery stores and the quality is high. There's also a wider variety of produce to choose from and everything is seasonal. Also, because most of what is sold at the wet markets are produced within the region, the food is as sustainable as you're going to get.
For Yardbird and RŌNIN, Matt or his Chefs visit the Aberdeen or Kennedy Town wet markets every morning. Matt believes in the importance of using local ingredients in order to maintain control of the freshness of the products he uses and to connect himself and his kitchen team with Hong Kong vendors and the food culture of the city. For Matt, it's also important to help sustain local fishermen and farmers as they allow him to understand the local seasonal rhythms, which in turn, provides inspiration for his cooking.