The “China Morning Market” is held only early in the morning on Sundays!
Do you know about the “Chinese morning market” that appears only early in the morning on Sundays in Kadoma, Osaka? Stalls line the streets, Chinese language is spoken, and Chinese people are seen walking around stuffing large quantities of pig’s heads and duck necks into plastic containers… It is a scene that is hard to imagine in Japan. It is a scene that one would not expect to see in Japan. This has been going on every week for more than 20 years, and it seems to have become quite famous recently, with articles in magazines and on the web. Young Japanese girls are seen taking pictures of it, and I think to myself, “What the heck…. I was surprised to see them.
However, in this morning market, the shopkeepers and customers are all Chinese, so you can’t communicate in half-understood Japanese. If you visit for the first time, you may ask yourself, “What is this? How do I buy it? How do you eat? and often, the Chinese people’s enthusiasm often makes it impossible to do any proper shopping and you end up failing miserably.
So, I, Shigeru Nekota, who has been visiting Chinese morning markets for the past 20 years and can even speak half-understood Chinese, would like to share with you a thorough guide to Chinese morning markets that has not been written anywhere else.
I, Shigeru Nekota, a heavy user of the Chinese morning market, will give you a thorough explanation!
First of all, access. It is far from any station, and if I had to say, it is a 20-minute walk from the maniacal stations of “Konoike-Shinden on the JR Gakkentoshi Line” and “Kadoma-Minami on the Subway Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line”. However, the bus is the most convenient way by no means. If you get off at “Yasuda” of No. 36 “Subway Kadoma-minami bound” from Osaka Station, it is a 4-minute walk (and 210 yen). However, it is a 50-minute bus ride, though.
It is not recommended to go there by car. The police cars are on the lookout for cars parked on the side of the road, and you will get caught.
And then there are the business hours. The stores are open from 5:00 a.m. to noon, but the best time to buy goods is around 8:00 a.m. After 10:00 a.m., all the goods are sold out and the market loses its liveliness.
The first thing you should aim for at a Chinese morning market is breakfast (early supper) at a food stall. There is a huge line and it is hard to know what is what and how much it costs, so I made a crappy hand-drawn layout map.
World’s First! I made a guide map of morning markets in China
On the far left of the central stall is “tofu brain. Looking at the characters alone, you might think it is something ghetto, but it is a common breakfast dish in China, a soup with tofu. It is a salty soup stock filled with green onions and handmade tofu, and has a gentle flavor.
Do you want it spicy? （Do you want it spicy? If you like it hot, say yes. If you like it hot, say yes. It will be topped with plenty of hot raayu.
The next Chinese breakfast staples are oil strips and soy milk. Soy milk will be added with sugar if you don’t say anything, so the moment you add it, say “No need (booyao)! the moment they put it in. The fried bean curd is freshly fried, which is a nice touch.
Do not mistake it for the similarly shaped “ma hua”. Maohua is a fried bread covered with sugar, and moreover, it is a calorie monster with red bean paste. It is delicious in its own right, but it is sweet and greasy. It is better to dip it in soy milk and eat it with oil strips.
Also, the pork buns and baked buns all look really delicious, and it is tempting to buy them from one end to the other, but if you can take them home, eat them at home as much as possible. Some dishes are only half as good if they are not freshly made.
One such dish is the “Chinese crepe. The dough is baked right in front of you, and then wrapped tightly with an egg and bean sprouts on top. The crepe is very heavy to hold, and you will be quite full after eating one. But the freshly baked, crispy vegetables and the moist crust are irresistible. The slightly spicy sauce is also a perfect match.
Oh, and one important thing. One important thing to note here. There is an eat-in area at the back of the stall, so you can eat freshly prepared food right there. So you will be asked whether you want to take your tofu brain or soy milk to go or eat it, but if you choose to take it home, it will be put in a plastic bag for now. If you want to eat it and leave, point to the eat-in space or say, “I’ll eat it now!” and they will understand.
Actually, there is a key person (Japanese) you can rely on
I had been trying so hard to get people to buy something, and actually hid the fact that there is a key person at this morning market that you should hold on to.
He is usually located at the right end of the stall. He is Japanese but speaks fluent Chinese and can help you with any problems you may have.
When I was alone, he told me what I wanted and how delicious it was. He even asked me if I was full after I had eaten tofu brain, oiled rice cakes, ma hua and steamed pork buns. Of course I was!
Hwaryong Shoji was originally a Chinese food store, but they started holding the market only on Sundays about 20 years ago in response to requests from many Chinese residents in the area to hold a morning market. They prepare at midnight the day before for the 5:00 a.m. start time, and by 2:00 a.m. they are all set up. Sheesh, the Chinese really work hard!
Chinese people are the most stoic people in the world when it comes to food, and this spirit is the same at this morning market. It is much more worthwhile to enjoy freshly made, freshly baked, and freshly fried Chinese gourmet food at such a low price than to eat it in a bad Chinatown.
Even when there is no morning market, you can usually buy Chinese ingredients at Hua Long Trading. You can also find large quantities of meat from parts of China you have never seen before, as well as brown food boiled in some kind of sauce, making for a thrilling food culture experience. I would like to suggest to those who travel to Osaka that they should first “go to the Chinese morning market! but I would recommend the Tsuruhashi area, because if you go to the wrong place with the wrong people, your personality may be questioned. Personally, I think the China Morning Market is by far the most interesting spot in Osaka.
8-5-18 Morofuku , Daito-shi, Osaka (Business hours) 8:00 – 18:00 (Morning market is open Sundays 5:00 – 12:00), closed Mondays
Interview, text, and photographs： Shigeru Nekota
Born in 1979. Worked as an editor and writer for town magazines, travel books, and recipe books. Currently, as a web writer, he writes on a wide range of topics from decadence to traditional crafts. He loves to drink despite his weakness, and his life motto is "Sake is best drunk while walking.
Shigeru Nekota's food blog "I love quirky restaurants! https://nekotashigeru.site/