Travel Report: Hefang Market Street – Hangzhou, China.
October 2017. Wonderboy and I were making our way back down Wushan Hill after a peaceful morning exploring City of God Pavilion when we stumbled upon the chaos of Hefang Market Street, Hangzhou’s most popular street food spot. The place was absolutely teeming that day with the Golden Week crowds and for a moment Wonderboy and I had to look at each other and ask: Do we really wanna do this?
October 2017. What an assault on the senses Hefang Market Street was that afternoon with its craft stores, dumpling houses, candy stalls, glass blowing workshops, caricature artists, street games, an abundance of souvenir kitsch and one of the most famous pharmacies in the country specialising in traditional Chinese medicine.
October 2017. “Dude, look at those!” cooed Wonderboy, nodding towards a pair of Chinese guys who’d just been served a pair of monstrous fruit shakes. Luckily they spoke a few words of English and we learned that these drinks, comprised of ice cream, yogurt and succulent chunks of dripping mango, are a Hefang Market Street speciality.
October 2017. It took Wonderboy approximately 3.5 seconds to conclude that he needed to order one of these mango beasts for himself. As an added bonus, he also got his photo taken with the stall’s street touts, a pair of Chinese girls responsible for drawing people in.
October 2017. There are countless eateries on Hefang Market Street, including plenty of options for my very favourite type of Chinese street food: any-crap-you-can-stick-on-a-stick. This guy’s little hole-in-the-wall joint deals exclusively with deep-fried crab.
October 2017. And don’t worry, if crab’s not your thing then fear not Hefang Market Street also offers up meat, pork, chicken, lamb, fish, all manners of weird and wonderful seafood, fried bugs and stuff I can only file in the drawer marked miscellaneous.
October 2017. As hungry as Wonderboy and I were that afternoon, what we really wanted to do is sit down somewhere and breathe after hours on our feet exploring the city. But alas Hefang Market Street was not that place, not that afternoon at least. To get away from the braying masses, dip into one of the many side streets where things quickly quieten down and you can find a place to rest your feet and get some table service. More often than not these places are cheaper too and the food is excellent!
October 2017. Another Hefang Market Street speciality is sweet Chinese pork jerky! With a mountain of different flavours on offer, not to mention free samples, I found myself sauntering over to this market stall. But unfortunately the two witches that worked there totally soured the experience. Having nibbled on some delightful jerky, I was pretty much attacked by Yellow Shirt Witch, who immediately bagged up a sizeable pile and attempted to force it into my hands. “40!!!” she demanded. When I politely declined, Witch 2 told me I could **** off if I wasn’t going to buy anything! Not the end to our Hefang Market Street experience we’d been hoping for!
For more on my time in the city, have a look at my other articles on Hangzhou.
For more on the region, check out my travel reports from around Zhejiang Province.
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