Markets hold a special place in our Green Global Trek.
Markets are the very heart of a culture and it is where one can observe and be a part of true daily life.
For us, the feeling of being in the midst of the smells, sights and people is the most authentic experience to be had.
The abundance and variety of products, tells us much about the economic conditions of our destinations.
(For example, in Cuba, the markets had very limited range of products. In Nicaragua, while the markets are plentiful, the range of fruit and vegetables is limited compared with its’ neighbor to the South, Ecuador. India, while generally considered “poor”, suprised us by the extraordinary range and high quality of fruit and vegetables which are valued despite the economic reality. Haiti even just months after the devastating earthquake was extraordinary prompt to field one or two product market stands, a testament to the resilience and spirit of the people.)
It also tell us much about the importance placed by the local population on having a rich and diverse palette of ingredients, ie their gastronomic culture. What varieties of food one can eat at the market place.
Finally, the mix of local fresh products versus prepared industrial foods tells us much about how localized ie low carbon footprint, is the food source for the community.
In Hoi An, we are awed by the diversity of fruits and vegetables, the quanitity of products, the freshness and how frequently we encounter products we did not initially recognize…..
*grapefruits here are huge! One grapefruit weights 1 kilo (2.2 lbs.)
*three or four variants on what we call ‘lychees’. Small, round, aromatic white flesh around one pit. Juicy.
*fresh bamboo shoots. These look totally different to anything out of a can or anything growing.
*gourds all shapes and sizes, such as bitter melon for example.
*herbs…. 3 types of basil. Even within categories of foods we “think” we know, we discover quite a range of variants within.
*the variety of small sea mollusks and other sea creatures. Tiny small river crabs, little eels and others yet to be identified.
*insects… here the silkworm larvae are eaten in a variety of ways.
Here is this weeks sampling:
|At the market with Hien from the organic farm…. getting an education. Those yellow cone shaped things are fresh bamboo shoots.|
|Beautiful basket full of red shallots|
|Rice paper made from red beans and rice|
|These are two types of fish cakes.|
|Sea clams and squid… fresh off the boat.|
|These mobile “food carts” are very common. A loudspeaker taped message, keeps repeating over and over as the driver goes through the neighborhood selling Banh Bao, steamed buns filled with pork, mushroom and a quail egg. (dim sum style)|
|A variety of foods in the market food “court’|
|Hoi An specialty (yellow) noodles drying in baskets on the sidewalk in front of the marke – used for dish shown next.|
|Another specialty.. this one with a different type of noodle, quail eggs, shrimp, peanuts and broth.|
|Sticks of beef, rolled in rice paper… They keep bringing more, you pay based on number of sticks you decide to eat. Smart strategy as one can never just have a couple of sticks…|
|Tea and cookies served in a very classy establishment. (All the staff are deaf, so there are little squares you can see on left of table that have words written on, such as water/questions/thank you, and a little pencil to write them notes.|
Vietnamese crepe/pancake. Simple, crunchy yummy $1! Always been one of our fave Vietnamese dishes. Here in Vietnam its served with rice paper and you put the crepe inside the rice paper and roll it up with all the greens before you dunk in the sauce.
Hoi An specialty. Cao Lau. A smoked yellow noodle dish, greens, crispy wontons, pork and a bit of broth.
|Sugar Cane Juice “Nu’oc Miya” is pure nectar… extremely sweet, good for you, and a made by crushing the sugar cane with a lemon in a special purpose machine, costs 5000 dongs = 25 cents. Our best spot, with the rice fields behind for a great view.|