Published on April 8th, 2014 | by Le Gastronome Parisien2
The new season of Island East Markets
Created in 2012 by Janice Leung who runs the blog e_ting, Island East Markets is a local produce market installed every Sunday near Taikoo Place in the eastern neighborhoods of Hong Kong Island. After a break of two months, Island East Markets comeback for a new season starting this Sunday, April 13, 2014. Enjoying the attractiveness of hongkongers for local productions, both in terms of food and handicrafts, Island East Markets experiencing a growing success and attracts more and more producers, artisans, brands and sometimes Chefs.
Obviously, I don’t talk to you about this market without having been there. I therefore propose a joy ride to discover some of the exhibitors there.
Find Island East Markets in the middle of all this buildings isn’t easy. Even my Google Maps had lost his compass ! No anxiety, if you turn around, you’ll be pleased to discover a little more neighborhood reported a nice street food and small lovely shops. A detour to the delicious 金峰靚靚粥麵 on Yau Man Street is also highly recommended…
That’s it, I finally spotted the cart of plastic fruits and vegetables, I arrived safely ! The market is not very big but still has a fifty stands. The public is heterogeneous. I expected many Westerners but they remain a minority. We meet young couples but also people concerned about the quality of the products they buy.
It’s true that when we talk about the organic farming boom in Hong Kong, we imagine at first that concerns only the upper caste. Reality is quite different. The phenomenon is profound and affects a much larger population. Organic markets initiatives in the New Territories such as Tai Po Farmers Market, organic stores openings in popular neighborhoods or the Sunday gatherings in Fanling organic farms clearly attest to this.
In Island East Markets, it’s possible to fill up with fruits and vegetables from local producers. The Organic Farmers Association and Choi Yuen Village have very well stocked stands. It reveals salads, eggplant, cabbage, ginger or mushrooms. Also very present, beet which is very popular and one comes in vinegar or refreshing drink. With other products such as strawberry and apple, beet is one of the standards of organic farming in Hong Kong and many farms grow.
Several stands are specialized in baking and pastry. Here, Levain Bakery (if my memory is correct) left his Central neighborhood to come propose bakery specialties from all over Europe, Koughlof, Pretzel or Madeleines. For this new season, I understand that the famous Bread Elements of Chef Gregory Michaud and Grassroots Pantry also be part of the exhibitors. Great gourmet moments on the horizon…
To go with my pastries, nothing better than a good coffee. I walked over to CENG Coffee, a coffee beside Kowloow Bay for a vigorous Double Espresso from Guatemala.
At the end of the market, a scene allows every week to Hong Kong artists to perform. Unfortunately for me, I missed Robynn & Kendy (which I definitely fan) but the young singer of the day looks good. This same scene sometimes hosts Chefs for demonstrations including Chefs involved in the promotion of organic farming in Hong Kong. Jérémy Biasiol is for example already come.
This joy ride ends but I also could talk about the milk candy from Cloud Candy or succulent ice cream from Happy Cow. I enjoyed strolling through the market because the atmosphere is peaceful and merchants are adorable. Of course, I could criticize the over-representation of western brands (found for example French foie gras… ) and the presence of food chains like Mr Bing probably less concerned with environmental issues but the initiative remains remarkable and the project deserves to be supported and developed. I recommend without reservation to go for a sunday joy ride in Island East Markets and continue with the discovery of the nearby neighborhood. Don’t forget to visit their website and Facebook page to keep you aware of the many events organized in the first place the egg hunt scheduled for the next two weeks.