Confession Time. I don’t like buying food – especially vegetables – in malls. Never have. I find their sanitized organization scary.
Even when I stayed in London, I would trudge down to the local market and pick up fresh veggies from the guy with a barrow than go to a Sainsbury’s and pick out the pretty looking stuff sitting on their shelves. Don’t know why – maybe it’s the smell of mint or coriander, or the bustle of activity, or bargaining or whether it is congregation of different types of people in the market – I don’t know. But, i gravitate towards a vegetable market.
Back in India, the market place is a whole different ecosystem. It is alive, it is fun, and it is so damn vibrant – that you can stay and watch and just take in the smells and sounds the whole day long. Stuff that I really can’t do in a mall -unless I am at Landmark spending a fortune on books.
Today while getting back from my lectures at Sophia’s I stopped out at Dadar to visit the wholesale market. There is a great satisfaction in picking up 2.5 kilos of baby potatoes for Rs.30, or half a kilo of beans for Rs.10, or even a giant bunch of coriander for Rs.8.
Dadar vegetable market is not a place that you take a camera into, not unless you don’t want to buy vegetables. But there are other markets that you can – especially when dad and mom are in tow selecting and buying.
Vile Parle (East) vegetable market is great fun. It is usually on a Sunday that i go there- twinned with a visit to the Parleshwar temple – one of my favourite temples in Mumbai. Parle is slightly steep in terms of pricing – but, the vegetables are yum.
The guys at Parle, don’t stand for too much haggling – it’s pretty much a take it or leave it policy – unless you go to the vegetable sellers with the baskets, as opposed to the vegetable sellers with the stalls.
But, by far my favorite vegetable market is in Lonavala. Close to the station and close to home. When i go there for weekends, sometimes i pick up vegetables. It comes from Nahik, and is tastier – they claim. and it does – whether it is the power of suggestion or genuine, I can’t tell – but they are very, very tasty.
Again, its not a place in which you can bargain, but a bargain you will definitely get
The next time you fancy a mixed vegetable pulao or a salad, or just tasty vegetables, do pop down to your nearest mandi - and you will get more than refrigerated freshness – you will get truly fresh !