5.11.11 To Market, Part 1: Exotic Tastes

Market lady 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife
Foods markets, especially in Third World countries, are where you can really see what the people are all about. In Yogyakarta, the “traditional market,” as my driver Toto referred to the place where locals shop for food and dry goods, is an open-air, multi-level building teeming with humanity—sullen youths smoking clove cigarettes, wizened old ladies hunched over baskets of shallots, krupuk sellers, batik-clad matrons shopping for fish, the occasional leathery homeless man brandishing a tin begging cup. Around the perimeter of the market are countless little stands where vendors and cooks ply their specialties: fresh salads, soups, fried tofu and tempeh, cow skin crackers, grilled satays, iced coconut drinks with green cam cau jelly, sweet cakes made from glutinous rice flour. There is a general din composed of the constant roar of motorbikes, the swishing of beans though bamboo strainers, the clang of metal spoons and the sweet melodies of caged songbirds. I am never happier than drifting through such a place, absorbing it all (even the scary smells), tasting what I dare, interacting when I can and marveling at this daily life that is so unlike my own. I took so many pictures that I’ll spread them over a few posts. This one features the many strange and exotic foods I came across (but did not eat) at Beringharjo market, which was built on the site of a former banyan tree forest in 1758.
Chicken head 790 xxx
chicken heads are skewered and roasted to a crispy golden crunch
Fat satay 790 xxx
among the many kinds of satay are these made with strips of jelly-like fat...
Egg satay 790 xxx
...and these of burnished quail eggs, next to piles of roasted tofu
Quail 790 xxx
quail are roasted with the eggs still inside
Innards 790 xxx
some serious nose-to-tail eating must be on the menu
Pigs heads 790 xxx
although the city is predominantly muslim, the pig was still represented
Blood 790 xxx
at first i thought this was liver, but it turned out to be big blocks of congealed blood
Dried squid 790 xxx
there were more kinds of dried fish and seafood than i had ever seen anywhere
Durian 790 xxx
napping near a pile of  durian jackfruit


Geez, what an inspired collection of the strange and natural... I love all the textures and shapes. Iced coconut drinks and crackers sound good to me. Thanks for all the wonderful photos and updates. I feel like I am there...
Jan on May 11, 2011 at 5:46 am —
Congealed blood? Fat satay? Yikes! Shouldn't have checked this one out while at the breakfast table! (Chocolate Moctezuma semi-amargo and Rocky Mountain toast--so tame!) Can't wait for tomorrow's installment--truly! Love to George. (Does the congealed blood have healing properties??)
~Sari on May 11, 2011 at 5:56 am —
good god--bring back the krupuk. That chicken head!!
Lisa on May 11, 2011 at 6:40 am —
Sari, couldn't bring myself to get any closer to the blood--it was pretty gross, though the old gal selling it gave me a big grin!
laura on May 11, 2011 at 7:00 am —
Either I am a boring gastronome or a compassionate being. I can't stomach most of this. The Wheel of Life indeed.
Vetivresse on May 11, 2011 at 10:43 am —
If you eat one part of an animal, perhaps it's actually more compassionate not to let the rest go to waste.
laura on May 11, 2011 at 1:38 pm —
That's jackfruit, not durian.
lynne on October 22, 2011 at 7:03 pm —
You're so right—thanks for pointing that out, Lynne!
laura on October 23, 2011 at 7:26 am —