The Red Market derives its name from the red bricks used in its construction in 1936. The place offers a variety of fruits and vegetables sold on the ground floor, fish and seafood on the first, and red meat (mainly pork) on the second. Except for the ground floor, the Red Market is not a place for the fainthearted. The produce, brought over twice a day mostly—but not exclusively—from mainland China, is processed with incredible efficiency.
A skilled fishmonger snatches a live trout out of a tub, scales it with a huge cleaver, makes a cut at its tail and rips it apart while the fish is still alive. The whole process takes less than a minute start-to-finish. The more feisty of the fish receive a few blows with a blunt club on the head, just enough to weaken it. The torn corpse is laid out for the customers, snapping up the fresh wares.
Tied up crabs, lobsters other sea-creatures make ineffective attempts to escape the tiny overloaded tubs. Smaller fish bounce up and down the dirty tables. Contrary to a common belief, fish out of water don't asphyxiate due to the lack of oxygen. Rather, the gills dry up, which impedes their functioning. To give a comparison, it's like sticking a hairdryer right into one's lungs.
One the second floor, you may find animal organs hanging from metal hooks, be it a heart, intestines, skin peeled off a pig's face and other—harder to identify parts. The butchers process meat wielding cleavers similar to those used by the fishmongers. It takes less than a minute for a butcher to cut up pig's head and hang up its tongue on a hook.
Nothing goes to waste. As the cleavers rhythmically slam against the wooden blocks, the chips of flesh fly in every direction, sticking to the unwashed in a long time walls. Heaps of minced meat pile up in the thirty-degree Celsius heat. Stuffed into white-plastic bags, after a short delay at the market's entrance, they’ll end up at the restaurants' and individual clients' kitchens.