I am not a shopper. 90% of my wardrobe is hand-me-downs from my friends and if it wasn’t for that I’d probably get around in a rotation of three outfits. It is only my intense love for food that gets me grocery shopping each week and going on a, “shopping holiday”, is probably what they’ll make me do on holidays in hell.
I don’t mind shopping at my local market though. We have outdoor markets in Australia, but it’s totally different to the markets in Saigon. Australian outdoor markets tend to have handcrafts and fancy cheeses made from organic milk from the highlands of Lithuania and expensive dips from the Blue Mountains- most markets are not really a place for the weekly grocery shop. Living here though, I barely have to go to the supermarket at all. I’d much rather shop at the outdoor market than walk around Woolworths listening to an elevator version of Taylor Swift and getting hit in the leg with someone’s trolley. Here I’ll just get hit in the leg by someone’s motorbike.
In the markets here you’ll find almost everything you could ever need. Looking for a raw frog? We got it. Fruit and veg you have never seen and don’t know what do do with? Also here. Undies? I no longer buy my undies anywhere else.
The other morning I headed to the market, list in hand, wanting to buy some fresh fish for a curry, but the only fish I have ever bought looks like this-
and when I went to the market and saw this-
I had no idea what to do. So, I did what any independent woman in her late-30s, living abroad would do. I called my Mum.
“Mum, I want to buy a fish for a curry but I am at the market and there are just whole fish. What should I do? Do you think I can cut it up myself?”
“Just pick a fish and cut it up with the bones, it’ll give flavour. Don’t try and fillet it yourself it’s not something you can learn on Youtube. And watch out for small bones”.
“How do I know which fish to get?”
“Just get a fat looking fish. But watch the bones, don’t choke on a small fish bone!’
I am 37 years old and my mumma is telling me to watch out for bones when I eat a piece of fish. No matter how old you are, your Mum is always your Mum!
I picked out a fish that looked nice enough, not that I really know how they are supposed to look. Then when I got home I decided NOT to take my mothers advice and that I would try to learn how to fillet a fish from Youtube.
So this happened.
“Just cut around the spine”, said Youtube fella, “and look, look how easy this lovely fillet just comes away”.
No sir, as you can see, a lovely fillet did not just, “come away”.
Anyway, this poor bastard ended up as a fish curry that I padded out with prawns and tofu due to a lack of actual fish, and it was bloody delicious.
Do you live somewhere with outdoor food markets? Have you ever tried to teach yourself something with Youtube only to have it turn to shit?