Not all of the food-related enjoyment in China was eating. Some of it was shopping.
Traditionally, meat and produce has been sold at wet markets. We went to a couple of them, and they were very interesting. The produce and meats are very fresh, and very cheap. I wish we had produce markets like this near me. Although we have farmer’s markets in the summer and fall, they’re only open for a few hours a couple of days a week. It’s not like I can just go to a market any time and get such fresh local produce. Not to mention the live fish and seafood! (I actually do have an Asian market a couple of blocks from my house that sells live fish and has an interesting assortment of produce – but it’s not all that fresh obviously neither the fish nor the produce is local.)
The markets were huge!
And just look at this gorgeous produce. Notice the gigantic zucchini by the woman in the following photo – they would cut off rounds of it, maybe an inch or so thick, so you could just buy a big zucchini wheel.
Have you ever seen such plump, fresh gingerroot?
I don’t know what the fruit is that’s in the bottom right corner of the photo below, but we saw some that appeared to have been grown in some sort of mold so that it had a face embossed into it. It looked like you were buying little shrunken heads:
And one more produce photo just for fun:
But it wouldn’t be a wet market without the fish. There were live fish:
And live snakes:
and live octopus, shellfish, and other assorted seafood:
Of course, there are also grocery stores. We went to a Merry Mart to look around and pick up a few things. It was huge! The top floor was produce, beverages, canned and dry foodstuffs, imported products, candy, snacks, etc. The main floor was meats (fresh and frozen), dairy, and bakery. The basement was “dry goods” – small appliances, electronics, cosmetics, cleaning supplies, hats, socks, and all sorts of miscellaneous household goods. It sort of reminded me of a Walgreens without all the drugs.
I didn’t take many photos, but here’s an assortment of eggs (I don’t think the brown eggs are naturally brown. I don’t think they were tea eggs, either, but I’m not sure what they were):
The frozen meat section was interesting. The frozen poultry, meat, and seafood was stocked in open bins, so you could just pick out what you wanted:
They also had black chicken. I’d heard of it before, but that was the first time I’d seen it in person. Yes, the skin, meat, and bones are black. I didn’t take a photo because it really didn’t look very appetizing at the store, but if you want to see it, here’s an article at The Kitchn with a photo.
That wraps up the food. Now I can move on to the tourist spots!