the last of three posts on the local market, and it’s such a peek into their lives, isn’t it?
I highly recommend a walk through a local market near you if you’re ever on holiday – they reveal interesting things about the people that you don’t get to see at the typical tourist-packed sightseeing spots, and they also make you think hard about the way you eat. I’m pretty proud of the fact that almost all the food I eat is wholesome and freshly prepared – courtesy of mum + grandma + an interest in cooking and the fact that the asian culture places lots of importance on home-cooking-and-eating – and seeing all these fresh groceries continually renew my appreciation for them.
I’m having difficulty identifying some of the things in these photo, so help me out (or forgive me) if I get them wrong! from top:
- traditional vietnamese steamed rice cakes – these are sweet snacks that I think are called banh bo, and are variants on the standard asian rice-flour-and-coconut-milk recipe. it’s actually pretty remarkable how many permutations of these snacks (we call them kuehs in singapore, a term of indonesian origin) exist across asian regions
- baskets of different alliums: onions, garlic and shallots
- fresh rice noodles – we really wished we could bring some of these home. fresh rice noodles in vietnam have a silky texture that we don’t often get in chinese noodles, and they taste fresh and clean, rather than stodgy
- peeled and ready-to-use bamboo shoots – if you’ve only had the preserved and vacuum-packed sort, these will be a revelation in crispness and taste
- all manner of preserved and pickled seafood – there are variants of preserved dried shrimp across asia which add both a delicious funk and unique umami to common dishes
- an array of condiments, legumes, beans and aromatics
- roots and edible flower petals – I don’t remember what the name of these are, but I do remember our guide telling us that the petals are used in soups
- an array of dried seafood – cantonese families (like mine) throw them into soup for a deeper, richer flavour, and the variety in vietnam is truly impressive
- different grades and types of rice
- and eggs of all sorts.