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Hong Kong Eating

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6 April 2009

N22 17.472 E114 14.312 Live Reef Fish Trade

It was simply glorious to finally go to sleep without worrying about storage. We can now start working. Working in Hong Kong meant starting our day looking for the nearest busiest “Yam Cha” or dimsum breakfast. It is after all, all about FOOD. With millions of mouths to feed day in and day out, it is no wonder that the ocean is under extreme pressure.

We are no different. We love seafood. We love to eat. No ifs and buts about it. The word of choice now is sustainability. How can we eat knowing we may not have all these tomorrow? But we are not here to pass judgement or to fret about what will become of us. We only have a full day in Hong Kong and our mission is to visit the shark’s fin wholesale market and the live reef fish trade.

Seahorses and sea moths or pegasusSeahorses and sea moths or pegasus

Our hotel room was conveniently located not far from Sheung Wan. We were agog with what this place had. Dried seafood products of all imaginable types. What flabbergasted me were two shops that had little dried Pegasus or sea moths. These weird creatures are so difficult to find underwater – how did they manage to hunt so many of them?!

Shark's fins drying on the roadShark's fins drying on the road Shark's fin shops Shark's fin shops

It was a Sunday (Palm Sunday at that!) when we walked to Sheung Wan, so not all shops were open. Human traffic was not its usual abundance, so it was quite pleasant to leisurely pretend we were dumb tourists taking holiday snap shots. An alley had big strips of road covered with small shark fins for drying. Two Chinese men were busily cutting away parts of the fin joints and cleaning the fin for selling. They didn’t want their photographs taken. The men apologized but said they didn’t want anyone snooping about capturing their business – totally understandable. Everyone has the right to their own business and we really try hard not to pass judgement. It’s a matter of demand that needs to be supplied. And Hong Kong has many Chinese appetites to satisfy.

Chinese junks and dingy in Lei Yue MunChinese junks and dingy in Lei Yue Mun

Later on in the afternoon we made a long pilgrimage to Lei Yue Mun, the seafood Mecca that is a bit off the commercial area. Easily 30 to 40 stalls with live reef fish tanks meanders through this busy bay side area with restaurants conveniently tucked in between live fish stalls.

Groupers and codsGroupers and cods

There were so many types of groupers and a glaring lack of Napoleon wrasses in comparison to eight years ago, when we were last there, also to photograph the tanks. Our host then was the father of our friend Emma Fung. He eagerly showed us around with Yogi happily snapping away. And when it was finally time to enter a restaurant and eat, we ordered beef.

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  • Paul S

    This is great stuff Stella.

    The picture & your words really tell a story.

    It hits home when you say:

    “These weird creatures are so difficult to find underwater – how did they manage to hunt so many of them?”

    Keep up the great work. P

  • Antonio Sy

    You here in HK?

  • Mary Ann

    Interesting stories. I am glued. Will be looking forward to your updates, every step of the way. I have also stopped patronizing Shark’s Fins Soup. 🙂 Plain noodles soup is fine.

    Keep us informed of the underwater world, cousin!

  • http://www.stepworks.com.hk Emma

    Freundie friendies! So sorry to have missed you this weekend but it looks like you got some good work done. Stella, good to hear your voice – lost the second part of our convo, but will resume when we find one another online.

    I’m glad you got some good shots of the sharkfin trade. Let me know what I can do to help. We launched our intranet project I was working on successfully and my bro and family is still here – had a lovely time.

    Right, look forward to following your adventures and hopefully meeting you somewhere along the way.

    Will also spread the word to get some blog following going on.

    Dive and travel safe sistah…here to help 24 hours if there are any emergencies…just call the mobe.

    Em x

  • Lida Pet

    Dear Yogi and Stella

    you are off to a great start! I will definately follow your expedition and look forward to meeting and diving with you when you get to Indonesia. Wishing you safe travels and great stories!


  • stella

    Dear friends writing in to our blog, thanks so much for visiting. Please keep checking in every now and then as we share our adventures with you.

    Yes Antonio, we were in Hong Kong for 2 nights. We had to zip in and out.

    Now in Palawan and off to Tubbataha on April 10.

    To be continued . . .

    Stella & Yogi