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As the Yau Ma Tei Wholesale Fruit Market celebrates more than 100 years of service, Hong Kong residents flock to the stalls for a taste of delicious fruit, fresh and ready for purchase. Today, this is the oldest fruit market in the city. Since its founding in 1913, the fruit market has offered fruit, but before the 1960s it also offered vegetables and poultry. Now, the market boasts a fast-paced environment with unique hours and offerings.

Fruit for the Yau Ma Tei market comes from a variety of countries, including the United States, Thailand and Chile. From the United States, Hong Kong will take watermelons, oranges, apples and berries. Grapes come from Chile, and honeydews come from Honduras. With more than 200 stalls situated inside the market, it is not difficult to find exactly what you want. A variety of stalls ensure that you have access to fruit at fair prices.

Fruit Market Culture

The Yau Ma Tei market is a crucial component of Hong Kong life. In fact, the market provides nearly three-fourths of the city’s fruit supply. Though surrounded by high-rises, the urban fruit market maintains its unique culture, and this is a great thing. With a couple hundred businesses housed in the stalls, its history is apparent from the characteristics of the building to the quaint location within the city.

Few people realize just how busy the fruit market can be in those hours where nobody is actually shopping. In fact, the market becomes as busy as a beehive in the most unexpected hours, often beginning at 4 a.m. It might seem strange to learn that the busiest hours of a market’s day is before it even opens.

Still not sure if a visit to the Yau Ma Tei market is right for you? Envision the luscious scent of fresh fruits filling the air as you stroll up and down the aisles, admiring a colorful kaleidoscope surrounded by the sounds of bartering, shopping and setting up stalls. While considered a sleepy market by day, it truly comes alive at night. Come late in the evening to see the stall owners negotiating for the best price.

Even if you are from Hong Kong, you might be surprised to find that the fruit market is home to a wealth of unique culture. It has its own language, diverse working hours and offers quite a different working environment than anything else you may have envisioned. Can you imagine a total of more than 3,000 employees working in more than 200 shops at once? It is truly a hectic place to be.

While the fruit market is open during the day, a typical employee’s shift may begin in the evening, when trucks arrive to unload their goods. Many of the boxes are just arriving from other countries, and others are local. For about four hours, employees lift and wheel crates to their destinations. Some trucks arrive at the shop at midnight with employees often working until 5 a.m. There is nothing quite like the view of the busy streets in these early hours.

Employees of the fruit market may work strange hours in comparison to other Hong Kong residents. An accountant for a flower market stall may work into the wee hours of the morning, clearing up after a long day and preparing for the next.

Visiting the Fruit Market

If you aren’t going to come to the market to buy fruit, at least come to explore the small alley ways and century-old buildings that still grace its presence. This is more than just a novelty destination. It offers rich, in-depth culture you can’t find anywhere else.

Shopping for fruit? You will find a great selection of unique fruits, including lychees and dragonfruit. Passion fruit, pomegranate, African cucumber and star fruit are just a few of the fruits you might not have had the chance to try. Why not start now?

If you are still unsure how to visit the market on your own, you might consider taking a walking tour. These tours are designed to discuss the great history and culture of the market, introducing it in a fun and intriguing way. You might even learn a thing or two about Hong Kong.

You can visit the Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market situated between Ferry Street, Waterloo Road and Reclamation Street. In spite of the growth of local supermarkets, the fruit market remains a popular destination for affordable and delicious fruit. You can’t see Hong Kong and understand its culture without truly exploring the infamous fruit market.

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