Qing Ping was most famous for being the place to find crazy, exotic, Chinese meats - think monkey meat and puppies. The government has made efforts to clean it up, so unless you think turtle meat is crazy or know someone who knows someone, you'll most likely be disappointed.
Nowadays, what you will find here is the biggest traditional Chinese medicine market in Southern China - this includes things like dried deer penises and dried gecko for those wanting to see something exotic.
All things dried can be found in Qing Ping - insane amounts of ginseng, deer parts, sea horses, scallops, bugs, and of course the super-expensive, Tibetan, magic cure-all, dong chong xia cao (冬虫下草).
Vendors are pretty cool, but you might want to ask before taking a picture.
Cantonese people are known to eat anything! Just go to this market and see! If you see here dogs and cats alive, people buy them to eat.
Unfortunately, I visited this market at the end of a Saturday and I had no opportunity to see all the shops open.
I had heard about the Qing Ping market from a couple of other travelers. They told me not to miss it if I made it to Guangzhou as it was huge and held all sorts of interesting items! They were right! For me it was very intesting as I could see so many "exotic" animals and a different way of life that I hadn't experienced before. I was totally appalled and intrigued at the same time with finding dogs being butchered but at the time I didn't understand that the dogs were raised to be slaughtered unlike the dogs that were kept as pets. Once I understood that! it was easier for me to understand. (I know some of you won't like the idea of this) Like most westerners (except vegetarians) I don't have any problem with seeing butchered cattle so I don't know why seeing the dogs upset me at first. There are different sections in this huge market. You can find endless rows of seafood, turtles, fish, snakes, and all parts of animals are on display for your shopping pleasure.....gosh you name it and you can find it here. There were other parts of the market that had dry goods but I didn't visit that area. It's a place that I would need 3 rolls of film for if I ever had the chance to return.
A visit to the Qing Ping Market is also a great place to "People Watch". You can see the different styles of food that locals buy so they can prepare their daily meals. Seemed like fish was a popular item at the times that I visited. I love fish so I was interested in seeing the many kinds of fish that were available. I only got to eat it a couple times though.
Many times you will see the ladies coming to the market as a group of friends and they shopped together and made the deals with the butchers and vendors on the meats and vegetables. Notice the guy in the photo is smoking a cigarette while he works.
Everybody goes to the Qingping Market, I went too.
Other users have good pages and pictures about it. I just would like to recommend not to go too early in the morning (around 8, as I did) because there is not much to see. The merchandise keeps coming during the day, and most of the interesting stuff is there by noon (so they told me).
It's difficult to choose a classification for this activity... it's kind of a cross between 'Zoos' and 'Eating and Drinking' :-)
Dried wolf berries, persimmons, scallops, seahorse, starfish, fungus etc. Any edible stuff that can be dried are found here!