bazaar bustle: shau kei wan market

this is a corner of hong kong that visitors rarely venture to, but on a ding ding ride-around (see photos here) one balmy spring evening, we disembarked along with the remaining passengers when the trusty tram pulled to a stop in between blocks of nondescript old buildings in shau kei wan. a few steps away, under colourful tarpaulin covers and the flares of yellow light bulbs, we joined the throng of residents as they trawled and shopped their way through the street market.

this is hong kong, real and raw.

skw overview
skw yellow stall
skw side green
skw meat stall
skw baskets
skw chinese signboards
skw basketman
skw hori overview
skw red lights
skw chickens
skw foam lids
skw btwn stalls
skw butcher

market under the trees


the butchers are at one end, across from the breakfast stalls. a variety of makeshift stalls selling fresh vegetables and fruits line the main road on both sides. in between sundry kiosks, a newsstand and hot food hawkers. a young indian man hawks his puttu mayam from the back of his bicycle. at another corner, a friendly kakak does brisk business of her nasi lemak and karipap, in between a fruits seller and a peddler selling traditional indian beauty products.

This is Setapak Jaya market and it is certainly a rarity: A combination of wet and dry market cum food court laid out in the open along a tree-lined street. For over three decades now, it has served the residents of the housing estate just adjacent to it as well as those around the Setapak, Seri Rampai and Wangsa Maju areas very well.

The vendors start setting up around 7am each morning and about an hour later it all shifts into full throttle as shoppers drag their trolley baskets through the stalls to stock up on their household needs. their baskets filled and every box in their shopping list ticket, they settle down for breakfast. chinese noodles, economy rice, roti canai...

the stalls are built under and around the trees, which provides natural shade and sometimes, a place to tack a nail and hang an essential. walk through this outdoor bazaar and soak in the vibes of a simple life where basic needs are easily and cheerfully met.


setapak jaya market by the lake, around the corner from royal selangor visitor centre (4 jalan usahawan 6, setapak jaya, kl gps 3.196, 101.724)

directions with the royal selangor visitor centre on your right, at the traffic lights, turn right. at the next traffic lights, you will see a lake on your right. turn right again. the market is stretched out towards the right, at the end of this road. you will see a new food court on your right just before you hit the market - start looking for parking.