My 5: Hefang Market Street – Hangzhou, China.

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1. Hefang Market Street, 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 Hangzhou’s most frenetic market street. It’s also the city’s most ancient trading street, with an eight hundred year history.  

2. Hefang Market Street, October 2017. There’s a vast amount of eye candy on offer in Hefang, from dumpling houses, candy stalls and glass blowing, to caricature artists, street games, an abundance of souvenir kitsch and one of the most famous pharmacies in the country specializing in traditional Chinese medicine. And getting one of these amazing creations, comprised of ice cream, yogurt and succulent chunks of dripping mango, feels like a Hefang rite of passage.

3. Hefang Market Street, October 2017. There are countless eateries on Hefang, including plenty of options for my very favorite type of Chinese street food: any-crap-you-can-stick-on-a-stick. With horrific queues, non-existent manners and barely an inch of personal space to be had, this is not the ideal place for a peaceful dinner! Indeed we made do with grabbing just a few bites before settling down at a comparatively relaxed restaurant on the parallel Gayoin Street.

4. Hefang Market Street, October 2017. Those looking to be adventurous can try fried bugs, octopus and these huge deep fried crab creations. They seemed to be very popular, with every other dude I passed sporting their own stick of crabby goodness.

5. Hefang Market Street, October 2017. I do like myself a bit of Chinese jerky! With a mountain of different flavors 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 some delightful sweet pork jerky, I was pretty much attacked by Yellow Shirt Witch, who immediately bagged up a sizable 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!

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 5s from around Zhejiang Province.

Like these? Then why not leaf through my many other 5s from across China.

I’ve also written a short story series called Challenged in China.

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