International Food Markets
I have had the opportunity to visit local food markets in some interesting locations around the world. These are typically referred to wet markets or open markets as the floors are typically always wet and they typically have no walls. This type of market is where many of the locals get their food. Many Americans are somewhat disgusted by this type of market as we are accustomed to having our food neatly packaged and sanitized from the reality of what it really is. Meat is slaughtered, butchered and packed in neat little plastic coated trays for us in a factory far away. In many other countries, this is done right in the market and right out in the open. This can be a culture shock for many. You have been warned, you may be disgusted by the images. But this is really what your food is.
Photos from my trip to a Philippine Wet Market in Manila
Overview of the seafood section. This area had just about every type of critter found in the ocean. And as a scuba diver, there are many you don't' see too often.
Butchering is done right out in the open. They have nothing to hide. This market also had a HUGE produce section with lots of Durian Fruit. For those who do not know what Durian is.... it is the worlds stinkest fruit. It is actually banned from many public locations in Asia due to it foul and very strong odor. The Durian is the very spiky fruit in these photos. The group we were with purchased one to try and had the ladies cut it open for us. This took them about 5 minutes to get through the tough and spikey exterior which then revealed about 4 small pieces of very soft and creamy fruit. The stench of the fruit is obvious once it is open. There was a lady buying fruit about 50 feet away and she gave us the look of death when the stench hit her nose. She quickly paid and ran off. Durian has a strong odor similar to natural gas, crossed with rotting onions. However, it is extremely sweet and has notes of almonds. People either love Durian or hate it. I find it repulsive and the flavor of rotting onions stayed with me for hours. Others will say is stinks but it is delicious. I think there is a Durian gene. Either you have it and you like Durian or you don't like it and you find it repulsive. Driving through a small village on our way to Batangas had its share of small meat markets too. I also had a chance to visit a Market in Managua in Nicaragua. This market was huge. They had just about everything from pots and pans to hardware, to packaged foods, meat, and even live iguanas for consumption. I think I was the only American in the market. This is far off from any tourist destination. This is where Nicaraguans purchase what they need. My customer was looking for specific items to purchase and this was the first location he went to. This market was dark and extremely crowded in most areas. Some areas it was so crowded that I could not take photos. I was warned ahead of time to be on the look out for pickpockets.
Now this is fresh chicken! There were several other animals running around in the food section including dogs. I visited this market several weeks before Easter. Some in Nicaragua believe that eathing Iguanas is good for aphrodisiac powers and/or that you will gain the strength of the iguauna. It is cooked around Easter in a soup called Viejo (Old Indian) and a dish called Pinol de Iguana (breaded iguana). The sale of iguanas is banned during the reproduction season from Feb 1 to April 30 It has also been recommended by the government in some years due to food shortages due to drought. The iguanas are still alive and their feet are tied behind their backs. It is banned to eat the green iguana, but you will notice these are for sale too. I