Visiting The Punyu Public Market


The Punyu Public Market used to be where my father would go to sell the veggie he grew in our farm. I used to go with him but I never did any shopping because I was way too young to ever concern myself with such things. Instead, while my dad tried to sell his produces, I played with the other kids.

The market has grown a lot since I was a kid. It is now so big that you can easily get lost in it. On the weekend, the market is packed with wall to wall people. Luckily, it was only Wednesday when we went.

An interesting thing I discovered while touring the market (and China in general) was everyone and his dog can speak Mandarin. I thought (wrongly) that Sarah would get a taste of what I got in Shanghai since Cantonese is the dialect spoken in the Gungdong Province. However, since Mandarin is the official language of China, everyone is required to learn it in school. As a results, Sarah merely communicated with the locals in Mandarin and they all communicated back the same.

If you were expecting the Punyu Public Market to be like the public markets you find in the West, you can forget about it. This will be unlike anything market you’ve ever experienced.





30 thoughts on “Visiting The Punyu Public Market”

  1. Carl Nelson says:

    Most of the people you will come across in Guangzhou/Punyu are not native of the area. That’s why you hear a lot of mandarin. There are still a lot of locals though, if you look for them 😉

    As you know, Cantonese people are very proud of their heritage, so although they are mandated to learn Mandarin, they will not give up their original Cantonese dialect.

    Carl Nelson’s last blog post: WCG Ultimate Gamer Reality Show Review

    1. John Chow says:

      Everyone who knew me growing up was able to speak to my wife in Mandarin. I have yet to come across one single local who could not speak Mandarin. Of course, they speak Cantonese as well. I have feeling Sarah won’t have any problem communicating in Hong Kong tomorrow.

      I didn’t hear a lot of Mandarin in the village. It was almost all Cantonese. However, if you speak to them in Mandarin, they reply in Mandarin without a second thought. Try speaking to someone in Shanghai in Cantonese and see what happens! 😛

      1. Carl Nelson says:

        Cantonese and Mandarin certainly aren’t mutually exclusive in China.

        Carl Nelson’s last blog post: WCG Ultimate Gamer Reality Show Review

        1. John Chow says:

          No it’s not but it seem if you can speak Mandarin, you can communicate anywhere in China. Sarah just told me she has been to Hong Kong five times. In all those times, she has never met one single person there who could not speak Mandarin.

          1. Carl Nelson says:

            Then she is lying to you. A terrible thing for a wife to do!

            Carl Nelson’s last blog post: WCG Ultimate Gamer Reality Show Review

          2. John Chow says:

            If you would have said this last week, I would have believe you. But after seeing what I’ve seen here, I KNOW the chances of you finding one out of ten who can’t speak Mandarin will be next to impossible. Now if we expand that to 1000, then maybe you can find a few. Maybe. 😛

          3. Carl Nelson says:

            “if you can speak Mandarin, you can communicate anywhere in China”

            Of COURSE you can! That’s the official language! But my point is, most of the locals will also speak cantonese, so you or your parents wouldn’t need to have a Mandarin speaker to help you communicate.

            As far as Hong Kong goes, I don’t know who she spoke to here, but I can guarantee that 100% of the population doesn’t speak mandarin. It might be 20% or 80%, depending on who you are talking to. If they are in the service industry, almost certainly they will speak Mandarin. Also, most of the minimum wage jobs here are taken by immigrants from China, so you will hear a lot of mandarin from them as well.

            So while I don’t doubt that you will come across many people speaking mandarin in Hong Kong, it would be absurd to proclaim that number to be “100%”. Unless you’re only talking to people working at retail, or garbage collectors and construction workers, etc.

            Carl Nelson’s last blog post: WCG Ultimate Gamer Reality Show Review

          4. John Chow says:

            Like I said, YOU pick out ten people. If all ten can’t speak Mandarin, I will be shocked. And you can’t pick your girlfriend! 😛

          5. John Chow says:

            Of course, my parents and I will have no problems communicating with the locals. My point is, I was hoping Sarah would have some problems communicating with the locals! LOL

            But that was entirely not the case since bloody 100% of the people around can speak Mandarin. I really do hope Hong Kong is a bit different but Sarah’s been there five time and never came across a single person who couldn’t understand her. So, I highly doubt she will experience anything like I experience in Shanghai. 🙁

    2. Carl Nelson says:

      I should add, if you go further from the large cities, you will come across more Cantonese I think. Anyway, you’ll get to show your skills when you come to Hong Kong tomorrow! I’ll be sure to take Sarah for some really good stinky tofu in Mong Kok 😉

      Carl Nelson’s last blog post: WCG Ultimate Gamer Reality Show Review

      1. John Chow says:

        I doubt I will have any skills to show. LOL I thought that may be people around here spoke Cantonese and learn Mandarin because it was part of school. Kinda like us learning French. We went through the classes but forgot about it once we left. However, I’m finding that everyone is fluent in their native dialect and Mandarin because the school taught Mandarin from every grade level. Sarah can talk to my 5 year old cousin who was born here in Punyu. He speaks Mandarin just as well as Cantonese.

        When we’re in HK, I dare you to point out ten difference people in public or business. Sarah will talk to them in Mandarin and I bet all ten won’t have a problem communicating with her. If they are native to the area, they will be fluent in Mandarin. You just haven’t experience that because your girlfriend is Cantonese.

  2. Flo says:

    Nice pictures! That market looks like what we have here in the Philippines. Must be an Asian thing. Hehehe.

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  3. that was really cool to watch! thanks for the footage John!

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  4. Silvia says:

    I think meat is of high quality and prices are good.That’s nice to have natural food.

    Silvia’s last blog post: Эмили Браунинг снимется в картине Запрещенный прием

  5. Well, that’s definitely not like our markets at all. Great video John

  6. fas says:

    That market looks quite organised. Unlike what is seen in other Asian countries.

    fas’s last blog post: How To Make Powerful Presentations

  7. The market looks very clean and organized. Thanks for showing the photos.

    Peter Lee

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  8. Tran Harry says:

    That video really makes me want to go to China and check things out. I never been there, but that’s where my grandparents were from so there is definitely a lot to see, learn, and experience.

    Tran Harry’s last blog post: Economic News April 03, 2009

  9. Paul U says:

    My sister visited that place a week ago.

    Paul U’s last blog post: A trick to motivate yourself

  10. Agent 001 says:

    Nice pics. The market looks so organised.

  11. Those are some amazing pictures, wow, another world!

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  12. Yea it’s nice to see this, not some prettied up documentary, you get real world life.

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  13. Thanks for the video! I like it. It reminds me my trip back to my parent’s hometown in Fujian China.

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  14. I guess thos DVD´s should all be legal, lol.

    What are you using to film this video? Are you using your I-phone or a Mino HD?

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  15. I guess those DVD´s should all be legal, lol.

    What are you using to film this video? Are you using your I-phone or a Mino HD?

    Marketing Business Review’s last blog post: The First Day of My Freedom

  16. Seems to me that when you will come back to Canada than you will get extra pounds I am sure.

    That one is duck in the last photo.

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  17. Interesting photos. The streets almost remind me of Finsbury Park in London.

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  18. Online TV says:

    This market reminds me of home. In the town where I grew up, the market is just like it is in here.

  19. These are really cool photos. Great to see the native people at the market.

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