A wet market
is generally an open food market.
Some of the common names include "Cultural Markets"
, "Gaai Si"
The floors and surroundings are often routinely sprayed and washed
—to the extent of flooding it at
frequent intervals—which gave it the name "wet
The main characteristics of the market have traditionally been
associated with a place that sells live animals
out in the open. The collection may include
, and pigs
. Depending on
the region, animals are usually caged and killed for live
preparation. Fresh fruits
are also available. Wet markets
generally combine butcher
shops and fish markets
in the vicinity. The higher hygiene
standards of supermarkets
many wet markets to operate indoors.
Wet market vs supermarket
Supermarkets have become heavily industrialized, often using
chemicals and other preservatives to mass produce and package for
longer shelf life
. Wet market products
are generally stored for short periods of time and are always
expected to be fresh.
For some customers, it is important to see the animal live before
being sold. Specifically, they may want to check its health and
quality. This is generally not an option in supermarkets, except in
or fish booths. Most wet markets
have facilities for allowing a customer to choose a live animal,
then either take it home as is or watch it killed and cleaned.
big-box stores, such as Walmart, provide
these facilities in their Far Eastern
stores, but not in their U.S. stores.
In many cultures, freshness is desired over the welfare of animals,
in some cases to the point of animals and fish being butchered and
skinned without first being killed. Animals are kept alive as long
as possible, and are often caged in tiny enclosures. The slaughter
and butchering has historically been performed in front of
customers upon request. The image of butcher shops and markets
filled with live animals has been heavily criticized in many
standards are not
maintained, wet markets can easily spread disease
and viruses. Because of the openness, newly
introduced animals may come in direct contact with sales clerks,
butchers and customers. Insects such as flies
have relatively easy access to the food products. Many times the
carcasses are thrown on the floor to be butchered more
Depending on the country, food administration groups may or may not
require licensing to sell food in the markets. There is usually no
return policy. If stale products are sold, liabilities vary greatly
depending on how the government manages it.
Image:Wet_market_singapore.jpg|A wet market
Image:HK SYP Market 60402.jpg|Indoor markets
are generally more organized than outdoors in Hong KongImage:E8975-Namdaemun-ginseng-and-matsutake-shop.jpg|Live
turtles next to pickled ginseng in Namdaemun Market, Seoul
markets also exist under shopping areas such as this one under
Lok Fu Shopping Centre
- Wordie, Jason.  (2002) Streets: Exploring Hong Kong
Island. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. ISBN
- Source: Newsweek, early 2000's, date unknown