Happy Wednesday everyone!
This week I’ve been taking advantage of the fine weather that we have been having, by taking the opportunity to take part in a photo walk around the city. We decided to take the city’s tram, stopping off along the way at a moment’s notice to take some snaps. Some of the photos were of high cultural importance, such as this:
However on a serious note it gave a great opportunity to observe an average market day in the city. To give fair warning, there is a shocking picture at the end, which certainly turned my stomach. So, if you are in any way squeamish I suggest you stop reading when I give the signal!
Anyway, the market itself was a maze of stalls selling all types of goods, some fresh as they could be, some with processed products or cooked goodies such as pastries. It is interesting that such a large amount of fresh produce can be transported across China so efficiently, considering that for at least 6 months of each year in this part of the country a harvest is impossible, whereas in the south there can be two or three a year. Whilst most vegetables and fruit are abundant enough to keep down to a reasonable price, some products are difficult to get hold of, such as limes. In fact, a friend of mine bought some for me on a Chinese website not dissimilar to eBay/Amazon, which is an altogether more interesting way of shopping. Around this time of the year the south of China has just had the first harvest of the year, so the prices of fruit, veg and nuts have plummeted- no excuses for not getting your 5-a-day!
The majority of things are done on a weight basis and, as you can see above, even the highest quality products are priced at teeny tiny prices. Furthermore, it’s possible to get a wide range of spices to help form the base of many of China’s dishes, such as the lip-burning Hotpot.
One thing which doesn’t necessarily appeal to everyone is the meat and fish on display. I generally steer clear from buying fish here, just because of the way that they are preserved/ stored pre-sale. It is not uncommon to see a tank of fish with either far too little water to be able to sustain the fish, leading to their death before their ‘time’, or the water in unbelievably dirty. Indeed, true to form, the fish at the market ticked both of these boxes, except for the fact that some had been part-butchered as well.
The meat was, as usual, left out in the sun which is either appalling hygiene or the beginning of the longest slow-cooked steak of all time. Whichever it was, I left the meat well alone. Next to one stall was a meat associated with this part of the world… doggie. After having this conversation with many people during my time here, opinion is generally divided over the ethics of eating dog, considering that dogs are as popular as a pet here as it is in the West. When raising this point, you are often shot down quickly by people eager to correct you by saying “Well, we only eat a certain type of dog”- the mangy horrible ones, which appears to pose no problems to a lot of people. Nevertheless, this poor beast laid slain on the table in front of me, and was quite a sight in reality… As I said earlier, I will put it right at the bottom and I will leave it to you to decide whether to see it. Fair warning, the head is there,too. Interestingly, some of the market stallholders we reluctant to photograph the dogs and even if we were, they refused a personal photograph. Generally, people were happy enough to let us photograph them, so there certainly still seems to be a taboo about eating dog, even in a country which on the face of it accepts it as normal.
Overall, a thoroughly entertaining day with all of the sights and sounds of the market, so to finish there’s a selection of photos of the people we saw and met, including a lady who decided that our company was particularly boring…
Here’s the dog…
Have a great week everyone!!