Wet market Wednesday


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)


About vikarenously

I am an ex-pat living in Guangzhou, China. I am married to the man of my dreams who has indulged my love of travel by working hard enough to snag two international assignments. Oh yes, I also have two amazing children who accompanied us on our first one to Switzerland and are now mature and responsible adults which makes it so easy for us to experience this adventure as empty-nesters. Experience it vicariously with Karen.

4 responses »

  1. Wow, commenting here is harder than shopping at the wet market. The Internet is quite sketchy here today so, as I was saying, the more often you go the lower the price. They will start showing you what you want and what they have that is freshest. And they will compete for your quai. I can tell you the ins and outs of the meat and fish, just email me.

    The pork is fine to buy, probably the best pork outside of Iowa, the beef is not to be bought in the wet market and the fish is not tilapia and you don’t want to know how to cook the carp. They should have frozen shrimp. Just remember every good woman is there when the wet market opens, and you need training for that one. Your Xie Xie, or as I say shay, shay, won’t work with those women, they are on a mission.

    • Hey Nola. I think it’ll take me a while to get up the nerve to buy meat at a wet market. We’re not eating as much meat as we did in the States either which is just fine. There are many reasons these people are thin and not a lot of meat is one of them. I could never be a vegetarian because I do like meat, but only eating it once or twice a week is fine.

      The market I went to was not huge and not far from where we live. It will be the one I go to because they had everything I’m familiar with and I will get to know them and vice versa in no time. It was not intimidating at all which is what I was kind of led to believe. I can’t wait to go back 🙂

  2. I’m with you on the no meat purchasing at the wet market- Salmonella isn’t an issue for them???!!!!!! Your dinner sounds sad, like you are on “Survivor”. scallion pancake – as in onion? this you thought was delicious, cuz someone threw a sesame seed on it? Karen!

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