Thursday, July 17, 2008

Chợ Bến Thành – Part I

One of the most common sights in Vietnam is food markets. Chợ Bến Thành is the best known market in HCMC. I’ve already posted about the food I’ve been eating at Chợ Bến Thành but I’ve been meaning to have a whole overview of Chợ Bến Thành since there is so much more than just the “food court”. I live a minute away so I am pretty familiar with this market. You can’t get lost like you would in a souk in Morocco but there is definitely a lot to see. I will cover the fresh food section around the market and will have another post on what’s inside.

I live by the north side of the market or by the cửa bắc (north entry). When we first started living here, The Boyfriend asked me what cửa bắc meant. Not having started my Vietnamese lessons, I had no idea. Now it’s so obvious! My Vietnamese lessons are already paying dividends (unlike my currently underperforming stocks...)! By the cửa bắc are flower vendors and fruit vendors. I find the fruit vendors here though quite pricey so I never buy fruit from them. I love going through the doors because it smells like fresh flowers!

Cửa Bắc. The north side entry of Chợ Bến Thành.

Fresh flower merchants by the northern entry.

Fruit vendors on Lê Thánh Tôn St. always stack their fruit nicely but charge a lot.

Right after the flower section, on the right and left side is the fresh food market. This is my favourite section. They sell anything fresh you can think of (and some things you would never think of): vegetables, meat, fish, frogs, seafood, eggs, etc. It is most active in the morning. Customers look at produce and negotiate. Vendors clean fish. I’ve even witnessed passionate arguments with women on the verge of physical altercations. I could learn a few Vietnamese swear words from them. For this section, pictures are worth a thousand words!

All sorts of fresh vegetables are sold.

Fresh green peppercorns. I love finding things I’m not used to seeing fresh!

The gac fruit is so amazing looking. Read all about it on Gastronomy!

Freshly grated coconut. You can find a lot of food here already prepped so you can save yourself the hassle: peeled potatoes, sliced onions, minced garlic, etc.

Tofu vendor. There’s a little girl who always helps her mom sell tofu.

Fresh seafood. The shrimps are still alive!

Fish debris. Eewwwwww!

Don’t these crabs look beautiful with their bright blue coloured claws?

Poor Frogs. Before, and unfortunately after.

This vendor only sells fake flowers.

The meat and fish rows. It can get stinky in here!

I don’t know what these are but I was told they’re from the sea…

Fresh and dried fish.

All sorts of innards. Looks yummy…!

Hooves anyone?

The crab vendor. All picked and ready to eat, or at least cook with. Isn’t this to die for?

Fresh snails and clams.

I always buy vegetables here, but did you notice what else she sells??

Yep, that's right. Some type of grub.


Linda said...

It actually looks more like chrysalis?? Possibly bobyx mori (silkworm moth). They boil them out to get a single strand of silk in the silk making process... it said to be high protein... no thank you!

Mom said...

You're righ Linda ,we call "nhong" .I ate when I was young but I don't think I will eat now .

Anonymous said...

The ones that u were told they're from the sea, the pic on the right, I think they're sea cucumbers....

Wandering Chopsticks said...

I was thinking sea cucumbers too for the one on the right. The sea cucumbers I've eaten have always been dark though.

Last one are silk worms. Tastes like peanut butter. I tried a small portion with my com binh dan once in Hanoi.

Miss.Adventure said...

Linda: I ate the coconut worms so you can try this if you ever come to VN!

Mom: I can't believe you've even that!

Anonymous: I thought they were sea cucumbers too but I didn't want to guess!

WC: Taste like peanut butter? I'll take your word for it!

Anonymous said...

Silkworm grubs are also sold in the street markets of Seoul, Korea. The Korean ones were a bit flatter, why I don't know, but they were tasty.

Anonymous said...

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Duc Le