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March 27, 2015

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Last orders called at century-old market

SHANGHAI’S oldest wet market has been slated for demolition to make way for an urban renovation project, its manager said yesterday.

Tangjiawan Wet Market in Huangpu District opened in 1903 and is popular among locals for its low prices and quality produce, the 70-year-old, surnamed Yu, told Shanghai Daily.

But in August, the two-story building, along with several neighboring apartment blocks, will be razed to the ground to be replaced by a new apartment complex and a public garden.

The redevelopment will mean the end of an era for the market’s more than 200 stallholders, Yu said.

“Most of the merchants came here in the 1990s from neighboring Anhui and Shandong provinces,” Yu said, who’s been in charge at Tangjiawan for more than two decades.

“A lot of them have made a good living for themselves,” he said.

Among them is tofu vendor Wan, who said he is unsure about his future.

“I have no idea where I’ll sell my tofu once the market’s gone,” he said.

He said he left his home in Anhui almost penniless, but over time built a successful business, and earned himself the monicker “King of Tofu.”

Yu said the merchants will not be entitled to any compensation because of the demolition, but will be given back any advance rent they might have paid.

Several people said they will be sad to see the market close.

“The vegetables, meat and eggs are all fresh and the prices are lower than at other markets,” said resident Zhai.

Zhai said that as well as losing the market, he is also losing his home as he lives in one of the apartment blocks slated for demolition.

A man called Zhou said he’s lived near the market for 87 years.

“It’s always been popular,” he said.


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