My good friend A introduced me to the wet market today and I’m so thankful. A wet market is an open air market with many stalls and people selling produce, fish, and meats. I did not buy any meats. It is so hot, no refrigeration, the goods just hang there and the fat is all glistening because it’s rendering from the heat and stinking up the place and why would any Westerner do that! So no meat. The fish however couldn’t be fresher because it’s swimming around in tanks. You just pick out the one you want. I don’t know if I have to descale it and clean it or what but I don’t think I’m going to find out. I couldn’t tell the difference between a tilapia and a carp to save my life. Who knows what I’d be sauteing up for dinner and I’m not that brave.
Produce I know. I bought peppers, onions, lettuce, beans that I’ve never seen but looked interesting and cost only 70 cents, tomatoes, oranges, Chinese apple? (only bought one of those to try), and carrots all for about $8. I’m totally guessing on the price but let’s just say it was ridiculous. I know a local would pay less than I do and I’m fully aware that I’m paying a skin tax (very un PC) but I’m not going to begrudge someone a few cents or dollars when I have the privilege of living here. To me it’s a small price to pay and it if puts a little more food on someone’s table because they charge me 70 cents for beans instead of 40 cents, so be it.
A’s driver also bought us da bing, which translates to big pancake. They are scallion pancakes that are cooked in a big pan, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and then cut with scissors and you buy them by the bag. We got a bag each and it cost less than a dollar per bag. They are quite possibly the best tasting street food I have ever had and may be my second favorite Chinese food, second to dim sum. I couldn’t eat the whole bag because we were going out to lunch (Mexican, the streak continues) but I could easily have eaten the whole bag. For dinner we’re having stir-fried veggies and the rest of the da bing. My mouth is watering now and I’m not sure how much will be left for Anders to sample.
I can’t say it enough, the Chinese people are so warm and friendly. Just give a smile, a xiexie (thank you) and it goes far. As A says, “Just spreading that goodwill.” And if you can’t offer that up as a guest don’t venture out.
5PM – 95 degrees (a break in the humidity but notice the temp. is still hot)