Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Food markets: Everything that moves is edible

IMG_1152Exploring Pattaya’s food markets is enlightening. As anyone who has travelled in Asia/India and such spots knows, “everything that moves” is fair game and can end up in your rice bowl.

IMG_1155Knowing this, I’m unsurprised to see cockroaches, giant water beetles, ant larvae and other insects I cannot identify for sale in the food market. Not only that: insects represent such tasty and readily available protein sources that street vendors will cook up a stir fry combo of bugs and veggies to eager customers who queue for a tasty snack.

IMG_1153Further down the narrow, congested aisle in the shaded food-and-everything-else market, I heard desperate cheeping. Yes: my personal nightmare was the sight of perhaps two dozen little songbirds resembling sparrows, peeping in fear and scrambling in a knot, trying to stay as far away from the cage door as possible.

Poor things.

IMG_1154The next stall sold tiny tortoises and turtles roughly the size of a Canadian loonie coin, through to ones which were the size of dinner plates. Another cage contained toads.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of being judgemental. It’s prudent to fight such thoughts, but also to be firmly aware of what you are supporting when you order a meal. We’ve not (yet) been offered bush meat for example, but know that this may be available at some destinations.

Just as in Canada when ordering fish and other meals, it is up to us as consumers to be as aware as possible, so we can support agri-food operations which we would wish to condone.