Thursday, September 3, 2009
New Market in Kolkata
I finally went to New Market with Krishna this week to watch her in action and see which specific vendors she buys from. I had been there many times before, but never with her. She has been going there for over 25 years, so she prefers it over the more modern stores. The New Market was originally built for the British in 1874. While we just went to food vendors, the New Market area has vendors that sell almost everything.
Since I was raised on a farm, it is only a little jarring to buy meat there. For those who haven't seen how a chicken gets to that nicely wrapped container in a grocery store, it can be an experience to remember. But you definitely know that your purchase is very fresh, since you can get it skin on or off in less than five minutes.
I didn't think beef would be available in India, but it is in Kolkata and on menus around town, mostly because of the large Muslim population here. You do not find this availability in all parts of India.
Here is Krishna buying a carton of eggs. I love how they check the eggs (and you can too!) with a small lamp. This was also how my family used to check our eggs on the farm.
Fish is selected, skinned and filleted right in front of you. No display counter in the way of communicating how you want the fish cut, and you can look at the quality as they do their work.
The vegetable vendor had tomatoes for about 20 cents a pound, potatoes for about 22 cents. Vegetables are very inexpensive in Kolkata although the prices have been rising recently because of demand and weather's influence on crop yields.
This is a picture of Anwar. He is one of the guys you can hire to carry your purchases as you roam around the market. After visiting just the vegetable vendor you can end of with 22 pounds, so Krishna usually hires him to help her out. She has been hiring him since he was 15 years old, so next time I can just find Anwar and have him take me around. Next time you are in Kolkata, ask for Anwar and you can too.