Plonk me in a foreign country, point me in the direction of a food market and you won’t see me for dust.
|Kas Market, Turkey|
Local food markets are one of the quickest ways to get a vivid snapshot of a country. They give you the opportunity to see ordinary people living their lives. You see the type of foodstuffs they eat and you see how they interact with each other. In short, because the food market is there for the locals, not you, they give you a chance to mingle in a way you never can when you visit dedicated tourist attractions.
As a bonus, markets can offer rich pickings for fiction and non-fiction writers alike. I wrote a story called Sieving out the Weevils which opened with a scene at my local market in Fiji. The story was published in the 2011 Writers Abroad anthology: Foreign Flavours.
On my recent trip to Turkey, I spent a happy hour wandering around a small market in Kas in the Antalya region, marvelling at the beautiful fresh produce and drinking in the atmosphere.
|Buying fresh yogurt - Kas Market|
I communicated largely by sign language with women selling herbs and salad leaves and a lady with a bubbling pot of corn on the cob. I watched a woman spooning a thick white substance into plastic bags which she weighed for her customers. Noting my curiosity, she gave me a small dollop to taste: it was yogurt – thick, fresh and very sour!
I feel another mini-series coming on...