Night Markets A Hong Kong Tradition
The tradition of Hong Kong Night Markets goes back to the early days of the region when it first became an major trading centre under the influence of the British traders. With hot days and no air-conditioning the best time to go out "shopping" was in the evening.
Combine the better temperature with the Chinese preference for late night snacking and the idea of having a Night Market was born. Everywhere within the Chinese south-east-Asian Diaspora this has been true, for example in Malaya and other countries with a large Chinese population.
Most adults in Hong Kong have good memories of the several different night markets that operated, including the "Poor Man's Nightclub" which was located on Hong Kong Island in the Sheung Wan district, or the "large piece of land" on what is now Hollywood Road.
People visited to buy cheap goods, have their fortunes told, and eat cheap but delicious street foods. Food stalls served "snacks" that become full meals, but also have light things such as noodles and congee served into the late hours.
As popular places to congregate various forms of entertainment, both paid and free, of course became common and singers both traditional and modern were often to be found. Those singers who could stand up to the sometimes rough crowds would often learn their trade well and go on to professional careers in entertainment.
All those original night markets have been closed, the Macau Ferry Terminal was built on the Poor Man's Nightclub and the large piece of land is now the Hollywood Road Park. But as they were lost people have come to nostalgically realize that something was lost and there have been several attempts to restart them, at least temporarily.
In 2002 a trial was run of a replacement of the Poor Man's Nightclub, near the original location at Sheung Wan Plaza but these soon closed once the novelty had passed.
A more recent attempt was in 2013 when the hkmarkets.org started their PMQ Night Market. While quite successful this was short term, and rather "up market" so not at all like the traditional Hong Kong Night markets.
Today only Temple Street Night Market is an example left of the day to day normal operation of a traditional Hong Kong market.