When I first moved back to the US, I remember “farmer’s markets” being all the craze. I would hear things like, “Oh, I got these beautiful fingerling potatoes at the farmer’s market today!” or , “I like knowing that my tomatoes are from a farm just a couple hours away from me.” It sounded a bit pretentious to me at the time, but then I realized that my family shops at a so-called “farmer’s market” in Beijing for all our groceries. It isn’t a novel concept, nor is it a new-age health or sustainability craze, it’s just the way a lot of people buy groceries in China.
Welcome to Shuang Yu Market, the local market by my home in Beijing.
Bags of man tou, or steamed buns, in the back of a van.
Locksmith and key duplication.
The fresh meat hall where we get all of our pork. Freshly ground pork, ribs, spine for stew, etc.
Often, we’ll walk in and see a whole carcass on display. You pick the parts you want and the butcher chops it up for you. I feel like in the US, you forget that you’re eating pig when you eat pork. Everything is packaged in unnatural square and rectangular shapes.
Entrance to the vegetables hall.
Rows of vendors selling vegetables from their farms. We always go to the same one.
Off to the side, there are the chilies and spices.
Eggs are picked by hand out of this mound and paid for by the kilo.
There’s a separate section for grains where we get all our rice. We buy all different kinds of rice.
Seriously spoiled. Long grain, short grain, sticky, less sticky, sweet, mild, we have it all.
Scale for the grains.
There’s also a tofu section where all different kinds of tofu are made.
Tofu in the making…
We asked for a small cut of the freshest silken tofu.
Tofu, like everything, is also purchased by weight. Nothing is prepackaged.
Our final stop is always the noodle stop. This is a small noodle and bread shop owned by a young couple.
Origins of pasta? All the noodles are freshly made.
We bought my favorite knife cut noodles, which are thick like fettucine but less uniform in shape because they are knife cut. There’s a certain chewy roughness to it.
Yumz. Fresh noodles are the best.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see all the amazing foods my mother and grandmother threw together for me from these groceries.