Cat Ba market, the seafood paradise of Cat Ba island, is a place that everyone will have to visit once during their vacation.
Cat Ba market has been the local trading place for those who want to sell their products and those who need to buy them. This is a chance for the locals to earn money from the farm produce or seafood they have and tourists to experience Vietnamese trading culture and delicious garden-fresh foods. Therefore, if you have your vacation on the island, don’t forget to drop by the market. It can be an unforgettable experience.
Cat Ba market consists of 3 areas that respectively sell seafood, meats, vegetables, and fruits. This makes the market more like a local than one for tourism where souvenirs, handicrafts are sold. Actually, it is quite interesting because by visiting Cat Ba market, you may have a closer look into the locals’ life plus to some extent, the average cost of a local market is lower than that of ones exploited by tourism. If being a backpacker or budget traveler, you should get to Cat Ba market for daily meals and experiences.
Here, the most recommended product is seafood as the seafood here is extra fresh and much cheaper than others. Shrimp, crab, fish, oyster, squid, octopus, snail all are naturally caught or farmed by the local fishermen and are swimming in the tank. Each kind is abundant in quantity and variety in size, so you can freely choose to buy what you like. A kilogram of seafood is surprisingly just US $8 to $25. In addition, If buying fresh ones, you can have some nearby restaurants cook them right away for your meal. It only takes you US $2 to $4 more for a truly delicious dish. Apart from fresh swimming seafood, dry ones are abundantly available for midnight snacks and presents. Dry squids and dry fishes are highly recommended as they are easy to eat. If buying a large number of those, try bargaining with the sellers to get the best price as the people here are very hospitable and willing to give you some discount.
Fresh seafood in Cat Ba Market
Besides, you can drop by vegetable and meat areas if you want. Like seafood, meats, vegetables, and fruits here are self-produced by the locals, thus very fresh and clean. Also, they are considerably cheap, compared to other markets. Therefore, though not as unique as seafood, those are still worth buying and tasting.
Another must-see spot in Cat Ba market is the food court, where foods are cooked and sold. If you want to try other specialties of the island, don’t forget to come there. You may find some tasty dishes for your meal.
Cat Ba market is open every day from 9 am to 9 pm. Usually, it is suggested that you should visit it at lunchtime or dinner time so you can have a cheap and delicious meal (especially for backpackers and budget travelers).
Other products in Cat Ba Market
To get to Cat Ba market is quite easy as it lies near the center of Cat Ba town (about 300m along Mot Thang Tu street towards Cat Ba national park). Therefore, you can just walk to the market with your friends and family. Taking a walk will do good to your health and with companies, is also fun. If choosing to walk, use a google map or ask the locals the way to the market. If not, you can hire an electric car at about US $0.5/person. On an electric car, you can have the drivers take you around the island before getting to Cat Ba island, which is also interesting.
Duc Anh Tran
Images source: Internet