To Market, to Market.

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 Β 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 Β 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, Β “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?

19 thoughts on “To Market, to Market.

  1. Lol – literally! Oh yeah, mothers never stop being mothers. At 40 yrs old back staying with her in Oz for a while after dad died she announced one day – today we are going to clean the house! As if I was still 12 yrs old. Nice try mum.
    I love Asian markets. And the way you write about them.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I actually did teach myself to fillet a fish on YouTube! It took a few tries to get it good enough (I often ended up with way less meat than what should constitute a fillet) but hey, practice makes perfect. This market looks amazing – I’m in England and although the food is okay many other of the products are quite suspect (i.e. not entirely sure how legitimate their origins are) so they’re not something I really use. I’d be there everyday if I was in Saigon though!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fortunately I do not like fish or season, so something like this will never happen. We have a lot of normal price grocery markets here in Berlin, usually twice a week all over the city at diverse places. The selection of vegetables usually much better than in the supermarkers and you have the chance to buy regional products directly from farmers or hunter cooperatives standing there also. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m still chuckling at your filleting photo! You butchered it! That’s hilarious! I caught a squid once when fishing (I left an empty hook dragging the sea floor so that I could eat some lunch without my husband telling me off for not having my line out). It was really big! Got home and Googled how to fillet it and make squid rings. Got my husband to do it, as I would have stuffed it up like you. Crumbed them and they were were FANTASTIC! Thanks for a funny read πŸ˜ƒπŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

  5. These past years I have become my mom’s support as I learned to fight back the injustice that I have endured when I was younger. Almost forty now so I am helping my mom to finally fight back


  6. We both love markets and especially Vietnamese ones!! But to be honest I have never bought a fish at one as i usually just buy my fruits and veggies and then eat prepared food there. I leave making fish curry to the experts ahaha. So good on you for trying and ending up with something that tasted delicious. Loved the mom stories.


    Liked by 1 person

  7. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I live somewhere near with lot of street shops, almost like you shown in picture πŸ™‚. Yes sometime you try youtube and it ends up somewhere … when i try to clean fish one day πŸ˜‚ and the poor wish was literally


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