Sunday, April 27, 2014

Wet Markets

Going to a Wet Market is always an experience.  There are varying degrees of "good" v "bad".  I wandered down a side street by Nanxing Lu and market owners were just setting up their stalls.  These are often an 10 x 10 space.  They set-up bins or baskets of items on the curb.  This market was clean and the vegetables looked fresh.  A small noodle stand next door served locals big steaming bowls.

All kinds of eggs everywhere.  Duck, quail, pheasant, turtle, chicken, etc.  Preserved eggs, soaked eggs, fermented eggs, hundred-year eggs.  

Chris and I were in the French Concession area a few weeks ago.  European and Middle-Eastern Consulates are in this neighborhood along with beautiful old historic buildings.  We walked into a wet market that looked really nice from the outside.  This was in a large warehouse space, with vendors each taking stalls inside.  Like an indoor flea market.  
     Lots and lots of meat and seafood, but the conditions were really poor.  

The stalls themselves were full of debris and clutter.  None of the vendors had meat or seafood under ice or refrigerated.  These squids were set out on a broken tray, still smeared with ink.  The back walls were a collection of unclean pans and containers.  This scale for fish so filthy.

I think there are markets like this all over China, as well as in many, many parts of the world.  I don't know which countries have food safety laws and which do not.  I think the key is to find a market that feels clean and that you feel comfortable buying food from.  Lots of people in China will spend more to buy from City Shop, or Ole or Times - stores that carry imported items but are also clean and organized.  There are no guarantees, but more peace of mind.

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