Paddys Market in Sydney, Australia. Oh, how I love thee.
You might think I am joking, but I assure you I am not. I have incredibly fond memories of pulling my little blue trolley behind me, exploring rows of colorful spices, fresh fruit and vegetables… and mushrooms of every shape and size.
Shortly after arriving in Australia, Mark and I discovered there are two food worlds. The world of expensive imported pantry items and restaurants, and the realm of very affordable, locally grown produce and street food. It took a while for it to sink in that the prices were by the kilo (2.2 pounds). Suddenly everything was half price, and shopping became a bargain lover’s heaven. (That is me if you were wondering.)
Soon I was making the trip to Paddys Market every other day. Searching every nook and cranny for interesting ingredients, visiting with the locals, and immersing myself in the entire experience.
Upstairs I found Hay Market Seafood. A little of everything, and at incredibly low prices. For the first time in my life, I understood what it it was like to live on the coast and have access to limitless fresh fish.
Around the corner, I found Thai Kee, with all kinds of unfamiliar ingredients to explore. Featured prominently was the aisle of Vegemite sold in tubs as big as Skippy peanut butter containers here in the states. None of that pungent stuff found its way into my basket. I found I was quite content to shop with my camera for that particular item.
And don’t get me started on the endless varieties of rice. To my surprise, Arborio rice was cheap and plentiful under many brands, which led to weeks of exploring a simplified way to make risotto.
But that is another story for another day. Until next time…