this appears to be a rather meat-centric post – totally by accident – as compared to the vegetables in the last one. it was completely mortifying to my mother that they were handling raw meat so casually – laid out on trays perilously close to the ground, handled by shopkeepers without gloves (though more worrying was the seeming lack of a tap or handwashing mechanism. my mother is pretty prone to shouting out “poisonous!” from miles away when any of us show an indication to touch something – usually fruit on a tree – so perhaps you won’t be likewise alarmed by this almost careless regard for sanitised food handling.
not that I’m implying that food here is unclean or anything like that. I think it’s a modern construct that we are afraid of what seems to be a disregard for hygiene – witness our antibacterial soaps to wash our antibacterial chopping boards that withstand our sparklingly shiny ceramic knives cutting into our frozen-immediately-and-never-refrozen-after-thawing food – and our practice of eating on tables far above the ground (than vietnamese standards) also breeds the perception that food being near the floor might not be such a great idea.
I apologise if these market posts seem too serious – they seem a good spur to thinking about food, which we seem to take for granted in our harried lives.
the meat did seem clean and fresh – and lots of people were going about doing their morning shopping. vietnamese food in itself is pretty pure and fresh, so it’s almost certain that living in developed countries breed an almost-obsessive need for regulated sanitation – I freely admit to this failing.
- what looks to be like the cow’s calves (I mean the anatomy, not offspring) hanging from a stall
- beautifully perfect grains of unhulled rice
- live baby eels in a pail
- small filleted fish – these looked like they would be very tender!
- salted, dried fish – good for frying with rice or finely diced and sautéed with green beans
- slivered banana shoots ready to be used in a salad – I discovered the wonders of this ingredient rather recently, and they go well with a vibrant dressing with seafood
- marinated fresh fish, ready for frying
- packets of lotus seeds and a pail of winged beans – these beans are delicious sliced across the length and stir-fried with fermented black beans or garlic.