To market, to market

I’m going shopping today. I do more and more of my food shopping at the open markets, as opposed to large grocery store chains. It’s easier for me now that I have some Chinese friends to guide me through the process. I’m learning to understand the prices when vendors say them, although sometimes the Sichuan dialect is a little difficult to comprehend.

Setting off from my apartment building, I walk down the drive to the main gate. The large residences on the right were built for distinguished University professors.


This is where I go in and out every day on my way to or from home. Most housing here is arranged in large clusters of apartment blocks of about 6 stories. They form “communities” entered through a main gate, often staffed by security personnel. Many of the larger communities are almost self-sufficient, with convenience stores, bakeries, food markets, repair shops, and other services.

An open-air or “free” food market in Chengdu. Some markets are set up in narrow streets or alleys, and some of the smaller ones, like this one, are covered by awnings and umbrellas. The larger markets are huge roofed-in spaces, often in the middle of large apartment complexes or commercial areas.

The source for this photo is http://hellkvist.org/photos/china.php

A tempting array of green leafy vegetables. Most of these photos were taken by my friend.

Piles of green onions, or “spring” onions. You’ll find these in many Chengdu food dishes.

A couple of varieties of ginger

An assortment of seasonings and foods: shallots, garlic, beans, etc.

Some vendors thoughtfully sell shredded potatoes, saving the busy cook much valuable time in the kitchen.

From left to right: 1. Sichuan chilies, 2. peanuts, 3. hua jiao (Sichuan Pepper), 4. Sichuan chili powder.

From left to right: 1.kelp (dry, preserved by salt), 2. vermicelli (the yellow and brown kinds are probably made from sweet potato. The white kind is made from rice)

These are “wood ear” mushrooms (I believe in the U.S. they’re also called “tree ear”). They’re used for their crisp texture and color, and are believed to improve breathing, circulation, and well-being.

Canisters of tea in one corner of the market

Waiting for a friend to finish their shopping….

On a vendor’s table, folding eyeglasses for sale

Something cold for a hot day: Inside the ice cream freezer

And finally…cakes, cakes, cakes. A bakery display case

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