To tourists, Mongkok is a shopping district from bargain souvenirs to high-end luxury goods. However, only blocks away from these traps lie a series of very local and authentic market streets.
Tung Choi Street North is home to a number of goldfish and aquarium stores. Once home to over a hundred shops selling aquarium items, the presence is now half of that as fast food restaurants and other pet shops take over amidst skyrocketing rents.
Building material and home renovation shops huddle around Portland and Hong Lok Streets west of Nathan Road.
Fa Yuen Street's market is primarily for resident needs and not tourists. It has a bit of everything, from cheap housewares, pyjamas, towels, phone charger cables, to fancy fruits and toys. Although some shops lining the street have turned more upscale in recent years, some historic gems remain, such as Kei Tsui Cake Shop, which has been selling traditional baked goods here for over 30 years.
Further west from here towards Tai Kok Tsui, groceries and restaurants dominate, catering more to the local crowd.
Wet markets are typically indoors these days, but Mongkok has one of not many remaining open-air street markets which offer fresh groceries at a good discount compared to the chain supermarkets. Along the sides are dried goods stores for your other food and everyday needs.
Street markets don't have refridgeration, so the meat and fish they sell must be fresh as they won't survive past the day.
There are streets of mid-rise rowhouses that have gone into disrepair over the decades. Owners now commonly subdivide their supposedly large flats into smaller units that are more affordable for the working poor.