If you are still confused what otak otak is and why anyone would want to eat it, gag at the thought of tau fu fa even if you are vegetarian, then it’s more than possible you need a crash course in getting over yourself.
I am wet market obsessed and love my local market (Ghim Moh) so much that weekly visits are no longer enough. It’s not as cheap as you might think though and even when I go with someone who can speak Chinese, it still costs more than Fairprice Finest. But as it’s so much fun and a lot less than a trip to Chanel, who cares?
There were two people responsible for my wet market fetish. One of them is Kay who, among other things, does wet market tours. Just call her up and ask her when she is next organising her Tekka market tour and add yourself to her list.
Tekka is actually one of my most hated wet markets simply because I can’t stand the smell of the melting mutton fat that seems to waft around the whole of the ground floor (incidentally I love level 2 of Tekka with their fabulous kurtas and other styles of Indian tops which you can snap up for a steal). The idea is that if you can survive Tekka’s wet market, you can survive anything. Kay will give you a run down on the basics from how to buy spices, fruit, fish and meat to what to look out for and what to avoid.
Then, go solo. The best and most user friendly wet market out there, I think, is Tiong Bahru. It has been refurb’d and has a grassed, open-air centre so any fish/meat pong dissipates rapidly. It’s the best market for buying fresh fish (not including the 2am-5am fish market, but that’s another story) and you can find many a delicious breakfast treat on the upper level – do your research and look at this website I eat I shoot I post for inspiration. Otherwise, just join the longest queue and ask the person in front of you what’s good. Nine times out of ten people are very friendly and more than happy to share their knowledge.
Kay Karuna: 6873 7884, www.kkaruna.com
Images of stalls and stall holders (except those below) are courtesy of Postcards from Stella
More than just meat…Here’s Aunty Chuin this morning at Ghim Moh market (#01-227A) selling beautifully fresh flowers. She will even tell you how long she’s had them on her stall for. Orchids are $1 a stem and last for a good two weeks. Lotus flowers cost just $1.20.