I live pretty far north in Qingdao, in a district called Licun. I am the only foreigner for miles, and my foreign friends always give me pitying looks when I tell them where I live. But I really like it. I don’t mind the commute, and there are some definite perks to living in a not-as westernized area–like the open air fruit and vegetable market just across the street. When I first moved here, I thought everyone had a market like this nearby, but I realized I was wrong. Everyone else, I soon learned, just has to shop in boring supermarkets.
Today I meandered through and, for the first time, took pictures, because, I figured, people were going to stare at me no matter what I did, I might as well document the interesting things I see everyday.
There are vegetables as far as the eye can see, of every kind imaginable. Many of these sellers come in early in the morning from outside the city. My new favorite vegetable in actually eggplant. I didn’t like eggplant before I can to China, but let me tell you, the Chinese know how to cook their eggplant.
It wouldn’t be a market without a butcher.
One of the most interesting sections of the market is the seafood section. Since Qingdao is right on the ocean, I’ve got access to fresh seafood daily. A pound of clams only costs $1.50.
Of course it wouldn’t be a proper seafood market without the eels, which Chinese people consider to be fish.
And my favorite part of my market: the open van with live goats to be milked in front of you. People will bring along empty bottles for the goat owner to milk into for about a $1.50.
Open air markets are the way to live, in my opinion. You get fresh produce, and are able to forge relationships with the shop vendors. I buy mantou (steamed bread) from the same lady every time I go to the market. Even if we can’t speak the same language, she knows exactly what I get every time I come, and always greets me with a huge smile.
This market is definitely one of my favorite things about living in Licun.