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.
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.
now, if I were disappointed by the lack of exuberant color in the floating market – it was more than amply compensated by the local land market that we had a chance to visit. I’m not a wet-market sort of person; I ashamedly am much better at farmer’s markets or supermarkets. it’s not that I can’t bear to see carcasses and things like that, but rather that I truly appreciate a high level of hygiene, and wet markets are a little too wet – tautology, perhaps – for my comfort. I make exception on holiday though, when they are the best conduit from which to see how local people live and eat, and offer a quick immersion into their lives and community.
this is a first of three posts – mainly because the market was so large, and because I very much enjoyed my walk through here, and it might be useful to you as an introduction to asian markets and groceries!
this was a pretty muted floating market at cai be, along the mekong delta that we visited while on our short two-day stay at the lodge – not the colourful women-in-hats-with-fruit-and-flowers-on-small-boats sort of scene we (and perhaps you) were expecting when you hear something as evocative as a floating market.
while at the mekong lodge, we got a quick look at how coconut candy was made – it’s a semi-hard sort of toffee with a deep caramelly flavour, full of the notes of toasted coconut. essentially, caramel gets cooked in a large pot, thrown on the table to cool, before it’s divided into mounds and pushed out into a mould. these moulds are wooden, with straight trenches so the candy gets shaped into strips, before they’re cut into smaller squares.
we bought a couple bags that had bits of coconut in them, and these are some tasty things – sort of like werther’s originals done up asian-style. tasty!
this is the first of a set of posts I have on a side trip we took from ho chi minh to stay at the mekong delta. after years of only eating-and-shopping/tailoring in this city – not that those are insignificant activities to us – we decided to try something new, so I booked us on a two-day stay at the mekong lodge (their website here).
we stayed in one-storey bungalows along the mekong lodge, did a bit of guided sightseeing and local-eating, went out to see a local floating market and how some traditional delicacies were made – and let’s start with some pretty photos from the trip we took to a bee farm nearby.