Just about everything you can imagine can be found at a market somewhere in this wonderful city, but on Tuesdays, I need groceries! That means I head to my favorite fruits and veggies market that a friend introduced me to when we first arrived in Cambodia. I’m starting to get to know the women a little and can carry on brief conversations in Khmer. When I go up to a stand, the lady hands me a shallow, plastic basket which is used to carry what I want to get. Broccoli, carrots, you name it. When I have what I want, I give her the basket back, she takes it all out and weighs it, tells me a price and bags it. Often she looks at my veggies or fruit and adds a little something she thinks would go well with what I bought. Most often it’s a little green onion and tiny red chilies, something without enough weight to bother. My favorite veggie lady is quite generous and must think we love spicy food! Into my backpack it goes and on to the next stall!
The best part is the bartering though and that is all in Khmer! If you start bartering in Khmer the prices drop really fast, simply because you know the language a little (especially at a more “touristy” market)! It’s best to try to bargain before putting everything in the basket. The Khmer are very relational so the more you go to the same people and stop to talk with them, the better the prices. Market day is also social day and not to be done in a hurry.
Some of my favorite peeps at the market (whose names I cannot yet spell):
Veggie lady – she is always excited to see me. She also has eggs, which at first I thought was random but this is Cambodia so it really isn’t.
Passion Fruit lady – Very opinionated and if she doesn’t think the ones I grab look good, she simply switches them out. I found huge avocado here too!
Jackfruit lady – I don’t know how she does it, but she has the best! She has a wicked looking knife to cut the jackfruit.
Apples and Oranges – I swear she has at least six different kinds of oranges from six different countries. She is also opinionated (pretty common theme here) and will switch out my oranges if she doesn’t approve.
The nut lady and the kitchen lady – these ladies are so much fun! I love visiting them with Ian because while he is off getting a bowl or cutting board, the nut lady always wants me to try all her nuts and dried fruits! So tasty!
There are plenty more for mien, dragon fruit, mangoes, bananas, everything you could want! I am really enjoying getting to know this women and practice my Khmer with them. This week I learned how to say, “May I please take your picture?” so I’ll try out that phrase next week!