Beneath the bleaching glare of a thousand light bulbs, tourists and locals alike pick their way among the stalls crowding the lanes of Yau Ma Tei’s Temple Street. The overwhelming array of cheap goods includes clothes, shoes, accessories, CDs, and a generous helping. Prices here may be a bit higher than in Shenzhen, just over some of Hong Kong’s less well-known markets, but Temple Street is unbeatable for atmosphere.
A dozen fortune tellers operate around the junction of Temple and Market streets. Most are face and palm readers. The caged white finches are trained to pick a for-tune card from the pack in return for some seeds.
Canto Opera Street Performers
On some evenings musicians and singers perform popular Cantonese Opera numbers next door to the fortune tellers.
Dai Pai Dong
Tighter health regulations have made dai pai dong food stalls a rare sight, but they are alive and well at Temple Street, selling a variety of Chinese snacks, savoury pancakes, fishballs, seafood kebabs and meat offerings.
Reclamation St Canteens
If you haven’t had your fill from the dai pai dong, try the cheap noodles and rice-based food at the covered stalls on Reclamation Street.
It’s likely to be a decent timekeeper but with no guarantees. The local makes and Western are usually good value for money. One stall offers genuine, secondhand watches.
Good buys include cheap t-shirts, elaborate silks, beaded tops and cotton dresses. Have a look at the stall on the corner of Kansu St. Further down, tailored trousers can be ordered with a four-day turnaround.
Best Leather Goods
Leather is not really Temple Street’s strong point. But belts are cheap, and there are plenty of leather handbags and shoulder bags.
From the very cheap flip flops to the reasonable suede or leather shoes, bargain footwear is available almost everywhere on Temple Street, although the variety is not huge and the styles not that elegant. Don’t forget to check the shops behind the stalls.
Cheap sunglasses are easy to find in the market. Embroidered and beaded handbags and shoulder bags are also worth looking out for.
Mao memorabilia, old posters, coins, and jade are found on Public Square Street. Temple Street’s northern extremity is rich plastic cartoon merchandise, including Hello Kitty clocks, Afro Ken and Pokemon.