Someday I'll have to take a picture of the little bazaar next door where I do most of my shopping. It's not as colorful or exciting as the Tokmok bazaar, obviously, and it's really not very big, but it has everything I need except for dairy products and loaf bread (and some Chinese and Turkish things, obviously).
There are two
people selling vegetables, one selling cleaning and personal supplies
and naan, someone else selling pasta and oil and all sorts of basic
things like that, and someone selling toys and stuff. Those people are
always there. Oh, and the meat guy, but I've never talked to him.
Sometimes there is a woman there selling pickles (not just cucumbers),
and before New Year there were all kinds of decorations in one
usually-empty corner, and two new places just opened in another section
with drinks and candy and used clothes and shoes.
There's also plenty of overlap between what people sell and I'm
never quite sure how to handle that because I like everyone there
(except I'm not nice enough to buy meat). I generally buy vegetables
from one man, and fruit from the other produce man. The both sell eggs
too, but I buy eggs from the pasta women (even though everyone sells
pasta). The vegetable man always has cracked wheat and tomato paste and
will get sesame oil for me too. And he has laghman.
I've blogged about laghman often before, but it's always
interesting to talk about laghman with people because there are strong
opinions about how you ought to serve it. Today the vegetable man told
me a new way to cook the sauce for the laghman. I was going to have
cabbage and black vinegar, which is easy and delicious, but he told me
you can't put cabbage on laghman.
So he had me get some
чинсай (chinsay- I assume this is what would be called Chinese celery in the US) and
suggested that I cook it with radishes (not the little red ones, but
bigger green and white ones, although they're smaller than daikons), but
my husband doesn't like the radishes, so he suggested the heart of Napa
cabbage (which isn't called cabbage here- it's a totally different
name). Then he gave me two tomatoes for free to cook with it and dinner
was ready to go. I'm supposed to peel the tomatoes, but if no one is
around to check on me, that's not going to happen.
Chinsay is likely the Dungan name and if I knew the Chinese word
for it, I could figure out what we call it in English. I like it a lot better than regular celery.
Someday I really need to write a Central Asia Uyghur/Dungan cookbook in
English. But I would hate to have to test so many recipes. Trying
them, even lots of times, is one thing, but testing is totally
Sometimes I miss being able to buy Thai or Mexican ingredients, but I
miss the Central Asian ingredients more when I'm not here.