As fall settles in to northeast China, and the “squirrels” are beginning to appear, I am thinking of cold weather foods and the lovely potato & leek soup I’ve added to our regular dinner rotation (Thanks, Pinch My Salt). That means a trip to the local market. This is where I buy nearly all of our meat and vegetables, along with some fruits, fresh noodles, small breads, maybe a pound of peanuts, or some fresh, spicy cucumbers. All smells aside, I like a market where the whole pig is on the table in the morning, or the chicken feathers are still out on the sidewalk. I go to the regular supermarkets and the import shop too, but this is our real food movement happens.
I had previously written about bei shi cheng, but over the last couple of years, I’ve settled in to a regular appearance at a market in the Hun nan district, specifically in the Fengxiang neighborhood. On a recent trip my list wrote up like this –
15 eggs – 7.40rmb (~$1.20)
chicken (4 breasts, 2 leg/thigh) – 26rmb ($4.25)
beef (1 kg minced, 500g skirt) – 120rmb ($19.60)
pork (1 kg loin, 1 kg shoulder) – 60rmb ($9.80)
vegetables (various & plentiful, about 3 lbs) – 15rmb ($2.45)
Last summer, a friend introduced me to Bei Shi, a market on the north side of Shenyang that sells vegetables, meats and some other wonderful products. I returned the favor by introducing it to many others. Now, this is one of my favorite places to go.
First of all, everything is fresh. I’ve never purchased anything here that wasn’t terrific. Second, the stall vendors seem to know us now. They wave and smile, and they are happy when you buy something from them. The make recommendations on what is good. They repeat their Chinese if we seem confused. The meat vendor where some of us buy our ground beef once spent several minutes writing down the characters and telling us the names of the various cuts of beef. As if I’ll remember those. I can’t even remember “apple” half the time. Third, we buy fresh pasta, dumplings and tortillas there. Of course, I use the pasta for spaghetti not Chinese soup. And the tortillas make excellent quesadillas as well as their spicy egg wraps. About a pound of fresh noodles costs 2 kuai, about 25 cents. One of the best deals in China.
I would choose a visit to this market over a trip to any grocery store in the city. Enjoy the pictures, and we’ll continue enjoying the gorgeous and delicious food.