Archive for the ‘prickly pear’ Category

Sunday Shopping at Paddy’s Market

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Ah Sunday, the day of rest, and if you aren’t tired,  grocery shopping. Wednesday through Sunday in Haymarket (about a ten minute walk from my Glebe residence) Paddy’s Market is open. Paddy’s Market is basically a large warehouse where vendors rent stalls and sell all sorts of clothes, giftware, australian souvenirs(read: TACKY t-SHIRTS), discount (probably illegal) electronics, UGG boots, and all sorts of other odds and ends. If you can manage to hold onto your money past that, you get to the back area which houses the fresh fruit and vegetable stalls.

Yaella (resident of apt 29, the whose internet we have all been stealing) is an orthodox jew, (how do I always find the jews? or how do they find me?) and she and I had discussed on friday that we should check out the market over the weekend because we had heard tell of crazy low prices on locally grown produce. Because she is orthodox she could not do anything on saturday (she isn’t even allowed to use electricity on saturdays, im learning so much about judaism) so we agreed we would go sunday.

We discussed meeting up at 11 am but true to form I slept till 11:30 and we didn’t end up leaving till closer to 1. She was a great sport about it though, and after getting general directions from another girl in our program who had been to the market the day before we were off! Little did I know that I had made a friend who was more directionally challenged than I was. Yaella and I did very well for the first part of the journey (which basically involved going straight until we hit the broadway, the main road through our neighborhood) but then we got a little turned around. Being females, we felt no shame looking for an Aussie who could point us in the right direction.

DO WANT!! Spotted this puppy as we were waiting to cross the street. ADORABLE!!!!

We approached a friendly looking man with two kids and a stroller and politely asked in which direction the market was located. Before he could summon the breath to push out the words to answer us, a burly fellow with tattooed arms literally jumped in front of him and launched into a boisterous and detailed explanation of how to get to the market with a big goofy smile on his face. He was so enthusiastic and seemingly thrilled to be giving us directions we half expected him to rip open his shirt revealing a street map tattooed to his chest and tell us to go around the left nipple and stop when we reached the belly button.

Fortunately Yaella and I had not reared off course, and only needed to make a right and continue down the main drag to reach our destination. We wandered for a few minutes through all the stalls selling clothing and touristy junk. Yaella kept wandering towards the vendors selling Kangaroo pellets. I told her she should get one and put it on the floor in front of a fireplace. Her intention was to snuggle with it. Frankly I think my suggestion was less alarming.

We wandered around quite aimlessly for a few minutes before growing impatient and wanting to know where all this cheap produce we had heard so much about was located. We asked a friendly teenage girl working at an information desk, and on her instructions found it without incident.

Inside the fruit market. There are so many vendors, and most of them are selling locally grown produce which is awesome!

There was an obnoxious amount of produce, it was glorious.

We walked around the fruit market for a few minutes and while I was just marveling at the buffet of colors and smells Yaella was busy using her jew powers of observation and bargain hunting to find the cheapest prices. What she noticed was that the produce stalls located around the perimeter of the market had the highest prices, but the further into the center you walked the cheaper things got. This is why I hang out with jews, I don’t think I would have ever noticed this on my own. Shalom.

I purchased six bananas for $1.50, which in Sydney is an ABSOLUTE STEAL because things here are so expensive. I also split a 60 cent bunch of basil with Yaella because there is only so much basil one can use at a time. I got six tomatoes for $1.30 and 250 grams of dried mango for $4.00. Basically we got away with produce robbery because the prices we found were insanely low. I am never buying produce from the grocery store here ever again. Lesson learned.

We spent at least an hour walking around checking out all the different types of produce. We found all sorts of weird things we didn’t recognize, and some things we did recognize but were weird none the less. I present you with exhibit A:

Giant mutant sweet potatoes. What. The. Heck.

There was lots of Dragon fruit, also known as the strawberry pear. To me these looked like some sort of poison grenade from an alien planet, but apparently they are chinese in origin, I would be very interested to learn how to cook/prepare one.

There was also a fair amount of Papya, also called a pawpaw, which I never knew, even though I grew up singing "The Bare Necessities" from the Disney movie "The Jungle Book"which says "when you pick a pawpaw or prickly pear, when you prick a raw paw, next time beware! Don't pick the prickly pear by the paw, when you pick the pear try to use the claw!But you don't need to use the paw when you pick a pear from the big paw paw. Have I given you a clue?" I feel like my elementary education failed me since it has taken me till my third year of college to properly decipher these lyrics.

After a few hours of bumming around the market we headed back to the apt and Yaella made some homemade soup with the fresh basil, pieces of the mutant sweet potatoes and some rice. It was quite delicious, and she was generous enough to not only allow me to steal her internet from inside her apartment while she was cooking, but let me sample some soup once she was done. I spent the rest of the evening hanging out online and catching up with the roomies. It wasn’t until late that evening that it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to figure out when and where my classes were taking place the next day. I grabbed my laptop and headed out into the hallway and OF COURSE this would be the one time since I’ve been here that the internet was completely down. There are people that will tell you that it doesn’t pay to procrastinate, but it does, it just deals in the currency of agony and stupidity.

I resolved that I would get up early the next day to check my schedule, because there was nothing else I could really do about it. Thusly my lazy and thrifty sunday ended in a brief moment of panic, a sudden realization that I am an idiot, and an equally swift separate realization that there was no use having a panic attack over something I could do nothing about.