While the supermarkets are very handy for all sorts of dried produce the fruit and vegetables that are available for purchase are of mediocre quality. I find that the best range of fresh produce is available in the markets. As I recently started weaning the baby I have needed access to really high quality fruit and vegetables so I have been even more reliant on the markets than normal. Very few stall holders speak English but they are almost all friendly, helpful and welcoming. It is not unusual for me to be given some little extras as a gift for the children, some Rambutan, a slice of mango etc.
Small fruit and vegetable markets are available in a number of suburbs around the town, the stall holders arrive early with their produce and most of the good stuff is gone by midday. Our baby is definitely not a morning person, she likes her lie ins when she can get them so we tend to avoid the morning markets.
The Central Market is a good stop for pork meat - this can be difficult to find in some supermarkets as it has to be sold from a separate, halal, section and only certain cuts are available. From the butcher stalls in the market I can buy just about any piece of the pig I want. I am not certain quite what I would do with a pig's head. I seem to recall reading something about 'head cheese' in Little House in the Big Woods but luckily I do not need to set about making that in order to see us through the winter!
I like to stop off at the large market/supermarket complex on the way in to collect the older children from school. There is a full range of market stalls here selling everything from midin (edible ferns, yummy sauteed in garlic) to the excellent Bario rice grown in the highlands of Borneo close to the Indonesian border. Some stalls specialise in fruit, others in fresh fish, caught daily and brought in straight from the boat. Other stalls sell just about every bit of the chicken you can think of. I did eat chicken feet once, on honeymoon, and it is not an experience I wish to repeat!
Other stalls sell school uniform, local souvenirs and even pet supplies. On our last visit there I found some pet hedgehogs for sale. A friend tells me they make excellent pets but I am not convinced the dogs would be too welcoming.
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|All sorts of fresh fruits are on sale
|Pineapples are very popular, these are small, some are much larger
|Midin, edible firms are extremely tasty fried in garlic
|All sorts of things are on sale from soft drinks to rice
|Pig head anyone?
|Fish is varied, fresh and plentiful
|We could even buy these friendly fellows!