One of our subscribers had been requesting that we do a video of the wet market for a while now. As luck (or rampant insomnia) would have it, Michell and I were both up this morning at 5:00 AM. Groggily asking her if she was up for coming along, she cheerfully chirped to the affirmative (she actually does chirp when she says “Sure!”) so after a quick coffee – and hoping the dark overcast would cooperate – we clambered on the YBR 125 and sped off into the darkness toward Dumaguete’s sprawling Public Market.
Morning rides are a real treat in the Philippines. The roads are (mostly) clear of usual manic congestion and the temps are always comfortable – sometimes even a bit chilly as it was this morning. We arrived as dawn was just starting to climb the horizon, parked the bike, and pulled out the GoPro to get our footage.
First stop was the wet market, which our subscriber had specifically requested. Here you can find just about anything that walks, crawls, swims or wades and is considered (mostly) edible. The seafood usually starts coming in around 3-4 AM, fresh off the boats, and the glistening scales of the fish are still shiny and their eyes are nice and clear. Crabs are still clambering around and some of the shrimp are even still alive. Despite the freshness of the seafood, you still can’t get around the pungent aroma of rotten flesh and produce that surrounds you (especially if you come later in the day). Sounds kinda gross, right, but hey, it’s just the nature of the food supply. Just so you know, the actual stench comes from the fact that there is a subfloor under the market where the leavings and leftover meats and produce are hosed down into every night. It really doesn’t all wash out into the sewage system, so some stays around to putrefy and make shopping in the public market a memorable experience.
In addition to seafood, there is also chicken (manock) andpig (lechon). Since this is part of Asia and folks here are not as wealthy as those in the West, all parts of both animals are cut up and offered for sale. In the video you can see an entire table laid out with organs – liver, heart, intestines,…. you name it. It doesn’t sound too appetizing, but I am a big fan of BBQ chicken intestines (isaw), so I am OK with the idea of it. Just not the liver – ick.
From the wet market we went to the produce areas that offer a wide assortment of veggies and fruits to the public. The prices are a bit higher than the Daro produce market but you can find some great deals if you dig around enough. Oranges for 50 cents a pound? Sure, why not?
There is also a cool little flower area in the middle of the market that offers a very nice selection of tropical and temperate blooms that appeals to the discriminating romantic in all of us. That said, Michell did note that I haven’t ever gotten her flowers in all the time we have been together. Hmmmmmm………
A quick final aside: I mention how horrible dried fish smells when it’s being fried. As I type this, my (nice) Filipino neighbor is cooking some up, and man oh man, the stench……..
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