Image credit: Annie Weibull-Erlandsson.
Shanghai residents are only too familiar with the city’s dearth of shopping malls. Sometimes you have to walk a whole block to find one. Thankfully, Cao’an Market, Shanghai’s oldest agricultural market is to close at the end of the month so developers can build the shopping malls, office buildings, and hotels of which Shanghai is in such desperate need.
Cao’an Market, Shanghai’s oldest central wholesale-retail agricultural products market, is due to be shuttered at the end of the month, forcing stallholders and customers alike to less reknowned markets on the outskirts of the city or small neighborhood greengrocers.
In its waning days, the colorful landmark that has been selling fish, vegetables, meat and fruit to residents for 20 years is still ticking along, but somberness hangs in the air.
“I will remember the place fondly,” said a retiree surnamed Xu, who lives nearby and was among the up to 30,000 people who went to the market every day.
“We have no choice but to go to other smaller green grocers nearby,” another woman who shops regularly in the market said sadly.
Cao’an has long been the premier wet market of Shanghai, thanks to its prime downtown location at the west gate of the city. More than 1,500 stalls there have done annual trade valued at 6 billion yuan (US$952 million). Prices were generally up to 30 percent cheaper, attracting shoppers seeking the freshest ingredients at the lowest prices.