Thursday, October 18, 2012

Taipei Zhongshan Market

If you are familiar with my blog and previous posts you already know that I love wet markets, their colours and atmosphere. Whenever I am visiting a new town or new country I need to find out what produce is being sold and how it is displayed (and sometimes like to compare prices).

Recently, while I was in Taipei (Taiwan) I visited Zhongshan market which is a few minutes walk from Zhongshan MRT station.

Zhongshan market

Zhongshan market is located on the ground floor of an old red brick building. Vegetables, fruits and soy bean produce are separate from the fish and meat stalls. The place is rather small, clean and well-lighted. The wet market itself occupies most of the floor keeping the back area for food stalls (dai pai dong) while one side is being allocated to clothing stores, a hairdresser, a tailor & alteration shop (and if I recall well a religious paraphernalia stall).

Most of the vegetables I saw were similar to those available in Hong Kong at the same time of the year. The main difference I found between Zhongshan and Hong Kong wet markets is the way produce was displayed, weighed and wrapped up.

Vegetable stall
Display: Each type of vegetable is put in separate (blue) plastic buckets. Everything is more organised and tidier than many of HK markets (…I don’t mind a bit of mess)…

Weigh: use of digital weighing scales. This would be most welcome in HK where most stalls are using analogue (Chinese catties) scales, which I don’t really like (= trust), particularly when I buy for the first time from a certain seller.

Plastic bags: 2 types: 1/ thin & transparent (you can see rolls wound around a metal bar in the middle of the veggies); 2/ sturdy with pink & white stripes (hung on low wall).

Individually wrapped produce
A lot of veggies are already pre-packed for easy convenience. It seems to me that too many plastic bags are being used.  

Note: I don’t know the name of the long green strings (veggie in plastic bag in the centre of photo). If someone can help me…thank you!

Fishmongers stalls at break time
I visited the place at about 2pm and it was quite empty, except for a few late diners at the dai pai dong. Countertops, floor, sinks and low walls had all been washed, towels were drying on metal pipes, and everything seems to be on standby and ready to resume its activity late afternoon. 

Dishes on display at a dai pai dong
I don't want to draw any conclusion after having visited only one place and would like to visit other wet markets next time I go to Taiwan. The only remark I would make is that it was surprisingly tidy and clean (and yes…with too many plastic bags).

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