Scenes from a Mumbai Marketplace

19/08/06 Update:

Just noticed that the theme for this month's Food destinations is 'My local greenmarket' and it would be a shame if I weren't able to share my favourite market scenes with fellow foodies. I shall be updating this post with more marketplace pics to make it more worthy for the wonderful event hosted by Maki of Just hungry.
Market: Vile Parle East Vegetable Market, Mumbai, India
Located on the station road with 70 odd stalls, vendors sell all kinds of vegetables, fruits, herbs. Only fresh produce is sold here.
Open all year round
Timing: 10 am to 10 pm
Prices of vegetables vary from day to day and a little bit of bargaining is always acceptable as well as fun.
The vendors mostly hail from Northern parts of India, they have made Mumbai their home.
Vegetables are grown in the out-skirts of the city and are brought in by trucks. There is no refrigeration and any other such modern amenities available in this marketplace.

Chillies and ginger

Milder light green chillies, fresh ginger and dark green fiery chillies

Tomato stall

Tomatoes-15 Rs/ Kg

Tomato stall

Fruit stall-mostly tropical fruits like Bananas, Papaya, Chikoos, Pomegranates, Custard Apple and some others

Radish and some other greens

Radish and green onions

One of the vendors

Awaiting business
I had been avoiding my weekly trip to the vegetable market since a month because the rains in Bombay turn the entire market place into a slushy mess. We do have 3 supermarkets around our place, and they carry every kind of vegetable-even those that aren't considered local here, for eg. Zucchini, Celery, Peppers in all colours, red cabbage, Baby tomatoes etc. However I desist from buying the 'exotic' stuff-mainly because they are generally stale (Poor turnover?) However, herbs like basil and parsely are quite popular.
Green Markets here are in the open-mostly outside of railway stations, so that people getting off the trains can pick up the stuff they want on their way home. Or atleast, that's my guess. Most of the vegetable vendors are called 'bhaiyyas'. In local parlance, they are called 'bhaaji market'-bhaaji meaning veggies.

There are some vendors that sell just one vegetable-for eg. Tomatoes. (See tomato man above) Some that sell one type of stuff, for eg. Greens like different kinds of spinach, spring onions, coriander, dill etc, and some that sell a little of everything.
The market that I go to is considerably large, extending onto two whole streets and on both sides of each street and everyone shouting the price of his wares-especially if it is CHEAP. (at this point, I strongly regret not having taken a pic of the marketplace in my so many visits-will post one soon enough ). Vendors sit behind HUGE mounds of green peas, beans, tomatoes. Huge as in a kid could be standing inside and not seen!
A friend of mine who has once come visiting from Bangalore was quite amazed to see the variety and quantity of stuff. It was then I realised the advantage I had in being able to procure such fresh stuff plus having a variety of stuff to choose from.
Trucks bringing in sacks of vegetables from the wholesale markets obstruct the street. Then there are small boys-'mobile vendors' as I call them, selling stuff like lemons or drumsticks. Especially so when they are available cheap like 10 lemons for 5 Rupees, or 5 drumsticks for 10 Rupees and they have this nasty habit of calling every female-"Aunty" despite her age. They have another nasty habit of sticking these things under your nose and forcing you to buy their wares or they will block your way with the long drumsticks, until you push them away or buy them.
It's total chaos there. I realised on my last visit that I'd prefer this 'Bazaar' therapy anyday to a retail therapy. Probably stems from the market visits I used to make as a child holding my granny's hand. The smells, the sounds, the whole atmosphere is probably very deep rooted in anyone who grew up in India.

What I got home

What I got home
French Beans, Carrots, Ridge Gourd, Giant Cucumber, Radish, Tomatoes, Snake Gourd
Coriander, Baby Fenugreek
Lemons (the lemons here are much smaller and skin is thinner), Papaya, Pomegranate

Sunday lunch

Sunday lunch with ingredients fresh from the market


Luv2cook said...

I think know the first green. My mom used to make it BUT for the life of me, cannot remember its name.

Is the second one methi?

Ashwini said...

Spring onion and methi?
I know you said easy but not from where I am looking :-D

Neelu said...

MEthi....And Icant c other pictures....I dont know whats wrong wth blogger, I cant upload my pics too !

Neelu said...

Hey Is it lemon grass ?

Anonymous said...

Lemon grass and fenugreek.

Nandita said...


Reeta Skeeter said...

Would'nt like to take a guess on the second pic...but is the thrid pic methi/fenugreek???? Liked ur blog a lot :) try mine just started posting though:


Reeta Skeeter

Menu Today said...

No 2 , this leaves used to make delicious tea, I donot remember the name.
No3 is Methi

Krithika said...

Third one is methi. Second one looks like some kind of grass.

Priya said...

:-( ...I cant see my earlier comment...Anyways, The second one is lemon grass...and the third I miss lemon grass..I love it in my tea :-)

shammi said...

Not sure about the first, although it looks familiar. The second is methi.

archana said...

1) Nira or garlic Chives
2) Methi

No.1 is a guess, and 2 for sure.

Thank you Nandita, for a very refreshing post

starry nights said...

I think #1 is onion chives
the second I dont know.I miss going to the large open markets. it used to be a daily trip with my mother.

Vaishali said...

Lemon grass and Methi/fenugreek leaves. I am dead-sure. Didn't even look at what others have written. :)
Btw, lovely photos, Nandita. Have you got a new camera now? (Sorry, if you have written about your new camera before. Haven't checked the rest of your posts yet. I am blog-surfing after a week today. Busy with parents-in-law.)
Love that profile photo of yours too. Didn't know that food-bloggers can be good-looking too. ;-)

Revathi said...


Look at you !!!! All cool and beautiful !!!!
Glad to see you and to tie a face to the name of a blogger. Very few of us have our pics posted , for the rest of us we are imagining what our dear fellow bloggers would look like. If Vaishali appears before me without the pan on her face, I WONT beleive that its her !!! Neither LG without a plant !!

As for the guessing game I know what they are exactly.. I read all the comments he he heeee !!

Will go home and tonite send my entry to BB#2. :)

Nandita said...

ALl your comments brought a big smile upon my face! Honestly!!

Revathi with her compliments upon my pic- yeah I finally decided that I must come out in the open :) But i do love Vaishali with her pan or now Meeta with her camera

Vaish- I discovered some features in my camera that i dint know existed, thanks to food blog school, using the Macro function and adjusting flash according to the light available. I use a Nikon Coolpix5000. I was feeling your absence on my blog, coz you are generally the first one to leave a comment - was even telling Meeta that i can feel your absence

Archana- you the one of the few commenters who have actually like my post--haha, or atleast said that you liked it- thanks dear, it's a good change to write about food other than recipes.

OK, now for the answers, Neelu as usual guessed it right first- i mean both answers.

Then Menutoday, Vaishali, Priya were the other right ones who got both the greens right.

Now with the monsoons in full swing, I ENJOY my teas spiked with lemon grass, it's bliss! Ginger and lemon grass both sometimes--mmmmm....let me go get my cuppa now !

Nandita said...

Reeta SKeeter- I like your nick-are you a journo like the one in Potters'??
Welcoem to my blog and i shall check out delhi foodies soon enough
Catch ya around

Anupama said...

hi Nandita, I read the other comments and am a bit confused. I thought lemon grass was a sour tasting herb used in thai cooking and what you have shown is what we call gavati chaha in marathi. we add it to tea in winters and it has medicinal properties. Please clarify.
Smart photo of youself BTW

Nandita said...

Yeah Lemon grass that I saw was available in US is a thick woody stem-but this is the lemon grass that we get in India , same thing that you called gavti chaha or chai ki patti
The basic herb and fragrance is the same-that is my knowledge on this-anyone else who can throw some light for us?

Thanks for the compliment :)

Puspha said...

Oh I missed the guess. Anyway, in Malaysia, we use only the bottom part of the lemon grass. Our chicken or mutton curries and sambal would not be complete without it. It gives a special aroma & taste to those dishes.

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