Now that my brother, Zachary, isn’t here, my daddy has taken on the hard work of grocery shopping. Usually he goes to the grocery store once every two weeks and to YiDeLu (the wholesale foreign food market) once a month. But about twice a week he goes to the wet market carrying two large bags and brings them back filled with heavy food.
The wet market contains fresh foods (and some not so fresh foods). Would you like to come with me as I accompany my daddy on his shopping trip?
Top row below: winter melon (a tasteless melon used in Cantonese soups) and Chinese pumpkins. Second row: cabbage, broccoli, parsnips (called “white carrots” here), and zucchini. Third row: Chinese long beans, Chinese okra, and cauliflower.
This girl is helping her mom by selling the vegetables. Top row: Hot peppers, Chinese cabbage (bok choy), eggplants, parsnips. Second row: Carrots (which are considerably bigger than American carrots!), zucchini, bitter melon (well-named), and Chinese green vegetable number 84 (That means we don’t know what it is. There are many Chinese green vegetables we have never seen in America). Third row: Cucumbers, long beans, leeks, and celery.
We can buy many kinds of fungus, below are a few along with one thing that we don’t know what is. It looks like artichoke but we don’t know. I took this picture because of that and the HUGE mushrooms!
This is Chinese pickled vegetable. It tastes even worse than it smells. One time we hired a new house helper and my mom took her to the wet market to show her what we would and would not like her to cook. Mom explained six times that we did not eat pickled vegetable so not to buy it or bring it to our house to cook it. She told her that if she bought it, we would throw it away because we don’t like it. (We will eat anything when we go to someone else’s house to eat, but at our house we cook things we like better.) The first day the house helper came to our house, she had bought….Chinese pickled vegetable to cook!
As well as vegetables, we can buy various kinds of eggs, but we don’t because it’s so hot and they’re not refrigerated. When we buy eggs there in the summer one of three is spoiled. They are sold by weight so the price on the sign means 5.4 yuan for 1 jin- a jin is half a kilogram, or 1.1 pounds.
Next we come to the fruit section. This sharp spiky fruit is durian, also known as “stinky fruit”. That’s a good name for it, because it’s true. They say that when people eat stinky fruit, they smell just like it for three days, but that doesn’t stop them!
At the bottom right of the picture below, you will see a melon similar to cantaloupe, but it is hami melon. It tastes like a cross between cantaloupe and honeydew – less sweet and a little crunchy. Beside it on the left, the red one is dragon fruit. It comes from a cactus and inside it is white with black specks. It tastes a little like kiwi. We like it!
How would you like to have some lovely intestines for dinner? They have a saying in China, “If ET landed in Beijing, they’d put him in a museum. If he landed in Shanghai they would do experiments on him. And if he landed in Guangzhou, they’d eat him!”
Or you could get cupping done at this Traditional Chinese Medicine shop! During cupping, they light a cotton ball, stick it inside a glass or bamboo cup, then quickly stick it on a person’s sore spot. The cotton ball fire sucks the air out of the cup, creating a vacuum, which is what makes it suck up your flesh. They leave it on for a few minutes. When they take it off it leaves big round bruises. This is supposed to bring the blood flow to the sore spots to help cure it. I don’t know if it works or not. I’ve never tried it!
Thank you for coming along with me on this journey to the wet market. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
Til next time!