After closing its doors for almost 18 years, Central Market has reopened to become one of the most anticipated destinations in Hong Kong.

Plastic red lampshades on the ceiling and the Terrazzo staircases are just a couple of things that remind visitors of the market’s long history. To understand its significance, one should first take a brief look at its 179-year-old history.

Central Market’s history

Central Market old sign
Photo by Hiufu Wong

Dating back to 1842, Central Market was originally an elegant Victorian style red brick and granite stone building. In 1939, with a demand for more space, the current Streamline Moderne style architecture took shape, reflecting the rise of functionalism in architecture in the city and worldwide. The new four-storey building was packed with 255 market stalls.

After surviving the Japanese occupation in the 1940s, Central Market continued to thrive through the 60s. Yet, as financial skyscrapers replaced residential quarters in Central, the popularity of the wet market dwindled. Finally, in 2003, Central Market ceased operation.

After that, it was controversially listed under the Land Application List, a system that allows real estate developers to acquire, and potentially, demolish listed sites. Fortunately, it avoided bulldozers again.

And thus, in 2009, the government decided to take it off the Land Application List and preserve the building for revitalisation.

Central Market 2.0

Central Market's exterior
Photo by Hiufu Wong

Today, boasting more than 30 food and beverages options and about 20 lifestyle brands, the new Central Market claims to be a “Playground for All.”

Chic design stores replace pungent fish market stalls. Hip diners replace busy wet market shoppers. Children bring their curious grandparents to check out what is left of the old market.

A supermarket and a few bars and restaurants take up most of the ground floor. The outdoor atrium in the centre has become an exhibition and public event space. More shops and small exhibitions dot the spaces on the first and second floors.

Our favourites at Central Market

Central Market Exterior
Photo by Hiufu Wong

Perfume Trees Gin

One of the first gin brands in Hong Kong, Perfume Trees Gin is famous for its refreshing botanic taste combined with unique local flavours.

The space on the ground floor of Central Market serves concoctions inspired by the old market such as Butcher Wing and Fishmonger Shing cocktails.

Hong Kong Tram Store

Central Market Tram Store
Photo by Hiufu Wong

From old plastic toys to red-white-blue nylon canvas bags, the store’s knick-knacks offer a nostalgic journey to the good old days.

YuM Seafood

YuM Seafood pays tribute to Hong Kong’s fishing port history with its wide range of dried seafood products.

Get some dried flounder fish and dried scallops for adding umami-ness to whatever stews and fried rices you’re making.

Found

The place to grab a CBD infused coffee or gummy in between stressful work meetings.

Foreforehead

Central Market Foreforehead
Photo by Hiufu Wong

A visit to Foreforehead is never boring. That’s why we were thrilled to know that the Sham Shui Po-based gallery shop has opened a new branch in Central Market.

The shop’s eclectic collection promises something unique and playful for your upcoming Christmas party gift exchange. The retro-style Japanese glassware and taboo-ish toys designed to spark conversations about sex and gender, for instance, are two of our picks.

Slowood

This is one of the biggest zero-waste green supermarkets in Hong Kong. Check our article on Hong Kong’s eco friendly supermarkets for some other supermarkets.

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Filed under: Shopping