Scenes from a Mumbai Marketplace

19/08/06 Update:

Just noticed that the theme for this month's Food destinations is 'My local greenmarket' and it would be a shame if I weren't able to share my favourite market scenes with fellow foodies. I shall be updating this post with more marketplace pics to make it more worthy for the wonderful event hosted by Maki of Just hungry.

Market: Vile Parle East Vegetable Market, Mumbai, India

Located on the station road with 70 odd stalls, vendors sell all kinds of vegetables, fruits, herbs. Only fresh produce is sold here.

Open all year round.

Timing: 10 am to 10 pm

Prices of vegetables vary from day to day and a little bit of bargaining is always acceptable as well as fun. The vendors mostly hail from Northern parts of India, they have made Mumbai their home. Vegetables are grown in the out-skirts of the city and are brought in by trucks. There is no refrigeration and any other such modern amenities available in this marketplace.

Scenes from a Mumbai Marketplace

Milder light green chillies, fresh ginger and dark green fiery chillies

Scenes from a Mumbai Marketplace

Tomatoes-15 Rs/ Kg

Scenes from a Mumbai Marketplace

Fruit stall-mostly tropical fruits like Bananas, Papaya, Chikoos, Pomegranates, Custard Apple and some others

Scenes from a Mumbai Marketplace

Radish and green onions

Scenes from a Mumbai Marketplace

Awaiting business

I had been avoiding my weekly trip to the vegetable market since a month because the rains in Bombay turn the entire market place into a slushy mess. We do have 3 supermarkets around our place, and they carry every kind of vegetable-even those that aren't considered local here, for eg. Zucchini, Celery, Peppers in all colours, red cabbage, Baby tomatoes etc. However I desist from buying the 'exotic' stuff-mainly because they are generally stale (Poor turnover?) However, herbs like basil and parsely are quite popular.

Green Markets here are in the open-mostly outside of railway stations, so that people getting off the trains can pick up the stuff they want on their way home. Or atleast, that's my guess. Most of the vegetable vendors are called 'bhaiyyas'. In local parlance, they are called 'bhaaji market'-bhaaji meaning veggies.

There are some vendors that sell just one vegetable-for eg. Tomatoes. (See tomato man above) Some that sell one type of stuff, for eg. Greens like different kinds of spinach, spring onions, coriander, dill etc, and some that sell a little of everything.

The market that I go to is considerably large, extending onto two whole streets and on both sides of each street and everyone shouting the price of his wares-especially if it is CHEAP. (at this point, I strongly regret not having taken a pic of the marketplace in my so many visits-will post one soon enough ). Vendors sit behind HUGE mounds of green peas, beans, tomatoes. Huge as in a kid could be standing inside and not seen!

A friend of mine who has once come visiting from Bangalore was quite amazed to see the variety and quantity of stuff. It was then I realised the advantage I had in being able to procure such fresh stuff plus having a variety of stuff to choose from.

Trucks bringing in sacks of vegetables from the wholesale markets obstruct the street. Then there are small boys-'mobile vendors' as I call them, selling stuff like lemons or drumsticks. Especially so when they are available cheap like 10 lemons for 5 Rupees, or 5 drumsticks for 10 Rupees and they have this nasty habit of calling every female-"Aunty" despite her age. They have another nasty habit of sticking these things under your nose and forcing you to buy their wares or they will block your way with the long drumsticks, until you push them away or buy them.

It's total chaos there. I realised on my last visit that I'd prefer this 'Bazaar' therapy anyday to a retail therapy. Probably stems from the market visits I used to make as a child holding my granny's hand. The smells, the sounds, the whole atmosphere is probably very deep rooted in anyone who grew up in India.

Scenes from a Mumbai Marketplace

What I got home

Vegetables-

French Beans, Carrots, Ridge Gourd, Giant Cucumber, Radish, Tomatoes, Snake Gourd

Herbs-

Coriander, Baby Fenugreek

Fruits-

Lemons (the lemons here are much smaller and skin is thinner), Papaya, Pomegranate

Scenes from a Mumbai Marketplace

Sunday lunch with ingredients fresh from the market

Carrot-Peanut Salad

Radish sambhar (Radish and lentils)

Rice

Snake Gourd Curry

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