I've always loved open vegetable markets. My earliest memory associated with them is walking with a red wire basket with my mom or dad to do the weekly shopping. The market we went to was large and crowded. I remember the open stalls, with makeshift roofs of gunnysacks or large pieces of tarp, displaying mounds of fresh seasonal vegetables. The people haggling for the best deal, the cows munching on discarded cauliflower heads or cabbage leaves, the lazy dog asleep under a cart occasionally flipping his tail to rid it of the pesky fly (Seriously, these are the images that come to mind when I think of the HAL market in Bangalore.) The smell of rotting produce, overripe fruit and the strong odor of spices was always a constant. It was pure sensory overload.
Years later when I set up a home of my own, I still went shopping in such markets. My favorite was the Madiwala market. The stuff in the supermarket shelves just did not match up to the mind-boggling variety available there. Not to mention the quality and price. I always enjoyed bringing home a new- to- me vegetable armed with the suggestion of the vendor on how to go about cooking it.
When we moved to Hyderabad, I was overjoyed to find Raithu Bazars. I took time from my busy work schedule to stop and get my week's supply of fruits and veggies. Similarly, the farmers' market in Charlotte. I made the trip even if it meant going out of my way. I delighted when I spied a stall set up outside a farm selling freshly picked peaches or strawberries. I always insisted we stop to sample their wares. Then the move to Chennai happened and I still made the weekly trip to the Tiruvanmiyur open market.
Well, why this sudden walk down market lane? I was at a supermarket here in Singapore yesterday and was looking to get something to turn it into a quick subjee for dinner, when the thought hit me. Is there a farmers' market in Singapore? Or am I stuck with the boredom and predictability of buying from the supermarket shelves?