This week the intrepid field-trippers were: two thirty-something parents (in need of entertainment for a toddler and a Granny on a Sunday morning), the toddler being Gracie, 2 ½ years, and Granny Sue (whose age I’m strictly forbidden to publish ever again).
If you haven’t already discovered Island East Markets, then it’s well worth a trip to Taikoo Place. You’ll find a French market atmosphere, made up of a good selection of stalls stocked with the freshest of produce from local Hong Kong farmers and some great products from local independent designers, including kids and ladies wear, toys and jewellery.
Hits: the freshest seasonal fruit and veg on a good number of stalls, often harvested on the very morning of the market – the produce looks so much better than what you see in the supermarket; a good and wide selection of stalls including these particular faves: Desi Store – a not for profit company selling South Asian handicrafts made by artisans trying to improve their lives. We loved their wooden toys handcrafted by disabled artisans in Sri Lanka; Cutie Cutie Baby – a great selection of affordable and cute but practical kids clothing, including UK favourite Boden; KidiNC – another cool independent yet affordable kids clothing label with quirky onesies and Ts; Tide – something for mama this time, featuring fab jewellery and bags, Mutt Museum – again, more for mama and the denim cheongsams really stood out; Levain – delicious bread that you’d expect to find in the best of local bakeries; and Healthy Family – fresh, good looking, tasty veg –just looking at this little lot makes you feel instantly healthier! Other hits: the feel good factor knowing that you’re supporting local farmers and independent designers; and a good selection of eateries (more on that below).
Wooden toy from Desi Store, cardigan from Cutie Cutie Baby, T-shirt from KidiNC, denim cheongsam from Mutt Museum
Tide and Desi Store Stalls
Misses: late set up of stalls – although 10am is the published market opening time, many of the stalls were still setting up just after that, so it may be worth planning your arrival time for a little later; lack of entertainment for toddlers – child-friendly activities and entertainment are promised in the market promotional literature, but there was nothing organised while we were there, (although this may have been down to our early arrival), and we struggled to keep Gracie’s interest and wandering hands at bay. On reflection, I would have found it far more pleasurable to have been there solo (rather than on a family field trip in hot pursuit of an errant toddler!); expensive – $60 for a loaf of bread and $50 for a large head of broccoli gives you an idea of produce prices, and although there is no denying that the produce on offer is better than the local supermarket’s offerings, you do pay up for it!
Opening hours: every Sunday until 12 May 2013, 10am (ish!) -5pm
If you’re hungry: there’s a good selection of HK’s favourite restaurants here, including The Press Room and Enoteca in the square where the market is held. Or you can just munch your way around from stall to stall choosing from delicious chocolates, brownies, strawberries, bread… and the list goes on!
How to get there:
Island East Markets is located on Tong Chong Street, Taikoo Place, Island East, right below the commercial buildings of the Island East complex (Dorset House, PCCW Tower etc.). It’s less than 3 minutes walk from Quarry Bay MTR, exit A. Maps are here.
Island East Markets
Tong Chong Street, Taikoo Place, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong