“Life Well Travelled Hong Kong” is a digital journey that brings Hong Kong to life through the eyes of two travelers seeing it for the first time. Read their story here, or download our free interactive eBook. Learn helpful tips. Even book a ticket.
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5:15 am | Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market

First catch of the day

As a city surrounded by water, it’s easy to understand the symbiotic relationship Hong Kong has with fishing. Dotting the harbor’s edge are dozens of fish markets where fishermen do much the same as their forefathers did centuries before them, dutifully bringing in the catch every morning. Today we’ve set out to visit an area on the south end of Hong Kong Island called Aberdeen. For many generations, it’s been composed of a group called “Tanka.” Often referred to as “Boat People,” they

Top: Worker struggles to catch a giant fish

arrived in Hong Kong between the seventh and ninth century and have passed down their knowledge of fishing to every generation who practices the craft today. The area is home to one of the largest fish markets in all of Hong Kong: the Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market. We get there before dawn, and much to our surprise, it’s already busy. Fishermen in waterproof coveralls are rapidly unloading their crates as local resellers and restaurant chefs peruse the catch to determine which ones make the cut and which are best left behind. Here you can buy almost any seafood you desire. We pass booth after booth and see an amazing array of aquatic life. Everything from giant mantis shrimp to lobsters, snapper, sturgeon, manta rays, eels, salt fish, even octopus. It’s almost like taking a trip to an aquarium. We’re halfway down the main promenade and our shoes are soaking wet from the several inches of standing water that seems to meet every step we take. Occasionally, a splash crashes over the wall of a tank as a merchant with a net scoops up abundant bounty ready to be sold. The sounds of bubbling tanks fill our ears as briny sea salt air wafts through our sinuses. The experience leaves us feeling much more connected to the sea and the importance of living in harmony with it, something Hong Kong seems to have mastered in spades.

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