While night markets get most of the press in Lonely Planet guide books, morning markets can be an all together different experience in Asia. This morning market is a short walk from where I live in Taiwan.
Most night markets are similar to a fair or carnival in the US. They have lots of fried food, plastic toys you don’t need, and one thing uniquely Asian, counterfeit goods. These can range from fake Adidas shoes to counterfeit designer sunglasses, etc. Don’t get me wrong, night markets are interesting but in my book they are a bit overrated.
Morning markets serve an entirely different purpose. The word here is “fresh”. Anything from fresh seafood to fresh meat and/or vegetables. Morning markets, like night markets, also offer food to eat in small servings, you can take it on the run or sit down and enjoy the paper with some noodles and coffee.
Owning your own restaurant in Taiwan and other developing countries in Asia is very common. Local eateries open up and close down before you even have a chance to try them out. Remodeling a small space, trying your unique idea, closing, trying again, it’s part of the culture. Being your own boss is something that many will sacrifice pay to enjoy.
Here in lies the importance of a morning market. Unlike in the US, if you own your own small restaurant in Asia you probably are not waiting on the Gordon Foods representative to bring your bi-weekly order to replenish inventory. In this small business world you do it the old-fashioned way, the pure way, you go to the market at 6AM and buy what you need.
While night markets are about friends and being part of a big crowd, morning markets are quick and efficient, with half the small talk.