Sunday, September 7, 2008

Most of the open-air markets had fruit galore, from classic watermelons to fresh lychees...
... And some other fruits I have never seen before. These ones on the top left of the photo look like apples at first glance, but then note their elongated shape and hollow spot where the blossom has departed the fruit, and you might think it looks more like something from the Garden of Eden than a fruit from anywhere else on Mother Earth. Its flesh also is strange to me--almost transparent white, with a spongy, light crunch. Not nearly as dense as an apple. Any ideas for what this fruit is called in English? Anybody?
I also got to see and taste my first fresh fig. I have LOVED the dried ones my whole life, and found fresh equally as agreeable.
Raw meats and fish in the open-air markets were not quite as delightful to me as fruit. We did not get photos from Ngau Tau Kok market, but it gave me a memorable time for sure. The story begins with Jerry and me purchasing Taro ice cream bars at a shopping center, to lick on our walk back to his parent's apartment. He suggested walking through Ngau Tau Kok on our way back, and naively I agreed. At the precise moment the colors and chaos of that place filled my line of vision, I realized my once-delightful Taro bar suddenly tasted like a mixture of fish guts and chicken blood. Oh, wait, that is because such wretched "food parts" surrounded me on every side...! Their odors filled my nostrils, and deceived my brain into thinking the ice cream melting on my tongue was really part of the animal products perceived by my olfactory glands and occular orbs. "Please let me out," I thought desperately, but it was like a maze of booths and sellers, trapping me with every wrong turn. My ice cream was falling off its stick in the heat and humidity, but I could no longer bring myself to lick its dripping purple sides. Eventually we made it out. But by then my ice cream had dripped onto my shoes and into our shopping bag. On the plus side, the experience did not ruin taro ice cream for me--I still crave some at this very moment.
Flowers seem anticlimatic after that last tale of marketry, but I had to post this one for my sister, the floral designer. Next time you work to get arrangements to the cooler before they wilt, just remember: Hong Kong proves no refrigeration needed.

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