Something's sprouting in HK

Something's sprouting in HK

YP cadet Jimin Kang has found the perfect place if you're in the market for healthy snacks, cool crafts and a Sunday stroll

coverislandeastmarkets.artg6tdvrf9.1islandeastmarketsimg6935.jpg

The stalls at the market offer everything from vegetables to creative artwork.
The stalls at the market offer everything from vegetables to creative artwork.
Photo: YP Cadet Julian Pang

coverislandeastmarkets.artg6tdvrf9.1islandeastmarketsimg6942.jpg

The stalls at the market offer everything from vegetables to creative artwork.
The stalls at the market offer everything from vegetables to creative artwork.
Photo: YP Cadet Julian Pang

coverislandeastmarkets.artg6tdvrf9.1scmp20oct13epmarket6jonw9009.jpg

The stalls at the market offer everything from vegetables to creative artwork.
The stalls at the market offer everything from vegetables to creative artwork.
Photo: Johnathan Wong/SCMP

We all know Sundays are lazy days. But next time you are at a loose end or you want a break from catching up on school work, there's a healthy and creative alternative to sitting around at home.

Every Sunday between 11am and 5pm, a temporary village pops up in Taikoo Place in Quarry Bay, selling some of the freshest produce and coolest handicrafts in town.

Island East Markets was established by the Hong Kong Markets Organisation (HKMO), an independent group that also founded the PMQ Night Market in Central.

"[We want to] promote small-to-medium enterprises in Hong Kong, and offer organic farmers [a way] to get seen by lots of people," says HKMO's event manager Vivian Au Wai-man.

"At this point we have reached 500,000 people. So far, so good."

The HKMO - which was founded by food lovers Vincent Poon and Janice Leung - gives curious Hongkongers the chance to discover health-food items, delicious organic produce and other treats.

But it is also a great place for artisans - skilled people who make things with their own hands, instead of in a big factory - to sell their wares.

Ding Wei, whose small business Bayblue House makes homemade soap, loves selling at the market.

"I like the size of the market here," says Ding. "They have more room for us, and because it is outside, we can attract more people."

It is also a good place for small businesses to see if there is a market for their products.

"This is my first market ever," says Asmita Bharadwaj Das from Artreasure, a company selling hand-painted paintings imported from the east coast of India.

"Families paint [these paintings] generation after generation, so it is a heritage art form. Each painting is completely hand-painted with natural colours, and has its own story to tell."

Like the other vendors, Das believes the atmosphere at Island East Markets is special.

"I like the vibrancy here. It's a one-stop shop where you can find anything. Also, it's easily accessible and a great place to hang out on Sundays," says Das.

The Organic Farmers Association also joins the weekly hangout. Its stalls are packed with freshly-grown produce from Fanling.

"We started coming this year. Our goods are organic. We don't use chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Instead, we use organic fertilisers like ash and peanut shells," says one vendor at the market.

"It's nice because [the HKMO] provides little tents when it rains. They also take care of the vendors."

Even if you aren't interested in buying anything, there's plenty going on to keep you entertained. In the past, Island East Markets has hosted cooking classes and jazz performances.

This month is dedicated to yoga, with teachers from Yogananth Andiappan Community hosting free classes for the public.

One of the instructors, Foster Barnes, has been surprised at how naturally Hongkongers have taken to the market lifestyle.

"It's a lot more inviting than I thought it would be. I feel like there's a new spirit developing in Hong Kong that's more health-conscious, green and organic," says Barnes.

"Now we're going to hang out and explore a little bit."

Island East Markets runs every Sunday from 11am to 5pm at Tong Chong Street, Taikoo Place, Quarry Bay

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Something's sprouting in HK

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