Food Destinations # 2- Scenes from a Mumbai Marketplace

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


Alison said...

Nandita - the postcard came! Thank you so much! I love the photos of the fresh fruits & veggies at your market. I soooo wish we had a market like that where I live.

Prema Sundar said...

Hi nanditha,
The pictures taken in the mumbai market place is lovely. I always love to go markets in india and i miss them very much...

Krithika said...

You are making me homesick. love the pictures. Your Sunday lunch looks delicious. Look at the color of Carrot salad. Wow !

Linda said...

Hi Nandita,

I really enjoyed this write-up and all the great photos -- looks like great therapy indeed :)

Puspha said...

Soooo colourful.

Inji Pennu said...

It gives me goosebumps when I see pics like these...fresh live markets..!

janaki said...

Hi nandita..seeing ur pics of the Parla market.. wow feels nice. I used to love the way the brinjals, tomatoes and all fruits looked in these markets. I always went shopping and bought a medley of colours, leave aside the fact that then I hardly ate any.:)

Nandita said...

Hey Janaki,
You've been around here sometime? I think Parla market is one of the most abundant markets around, i feel lucky to be living around here :)

Paula said...

The pictures are so colorful. Those papayas look to die for!

Manisha said...

Nandita, this brings back so many memories! VP(E) was a very popular haunt for us. For fresh veggies, for Vijay Stores, Prabhu Kripa, the jewelers, Dinanath Mangeshkar Hall, the bindi-walas inside/under Dinanath, the salwar kameez boutiques and so much more! The best part was always coming home with all those fresh veggies! Thank you so much for these pictures!

And congrats! This is a post that deserves to win!!

Manisha said...

Hey Nandita, to answer the questions you posted on my blog - I didn't live in VP(E) but have plenty of close relatives who did and still do. My alma mater is in VP(W) - no! not Mithibai or NM, but NMIMS - so I know what you mean by VP(W) has/had a pathetic market! I lived in Andheri(E) as well as Versova so I am generally quite familiar with those areas. Versova has changed a lot since we left so I probably won't recognize much there!

VP(E) was a favorite haunt. Super place to shop for veggies, get some quick bites at that snack place right next to Dinanath, pick up namkeen from the stores. In those days, Anjali used to have all the latest salwar kameez styles so that was also a must. Gad! I remember Anjali but don't remember the name of the snack joint! I remember that they had tried to introduce pita pockets and it had failed miserably. They had also tried to introduce doughnuts and that failed, too. Yikes! This is going too far back and I am showing my years :-D

Spicelover said...

wow... we do miss that here. we do have farmers markets and stuff.. but nothing compared to the fresh markets in india. We are moving back to india in a month and am soooo looking forward to this.
Love your blog!!!

Mugdha said...

Wow....this brings back a lot of memories. Born and brought up in Mumbai, I have lived in VileParle east and then west! I cannot agree enough to the fact that this is one place where you can always always find the freshest of fruits and vegetables. My favorite aunt who a native of Mumbai moved to Pune several years ago and everytime she was visiting us and we would go to Parle market for various things, she would always say how fresh the veggies are here and she would always buy some. Back in I was in school and wondered whats the deal with buying veggies everytime from vileparle east market! My aunt would say, "You grow up and lets c what you do" And as i grew up, I myself spent hours shopping for the best fruits and veggies at the parle market, I had the known go to veggie/fruits buys who would always give you the best produce and the best rates! So misss buying these fresh veggies in Bangalore!!!

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