Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Scoring Cheap Food #2

Armed with my new knowledge of numbers in Vietnamese, I decided to venture out to the street market near my house. I wanted to make a soup for lunch and I was missing some key ingredients.

I surveyed the street quickly to decide which vendor I would buy my produce from. I decided on a smiling old lady who didn't seem frightened by the prospect of communicating with someone who obviously had a loose grasp on the Vietnamese language.

I pointed to everything I wanted and shot numbers out like a rookie. After having picked a lot of vegetables, I panicked. shit. I only left the house with the equivalent of about $2.50 Canadian. I was a little ambitious about being able to haggle to a low and acceptable price. I didn't know how to say i'm really sorry, but I just realised I only brought 30,000 dong. I surely had passed that price, even if she were ripping me off. I pulled out what I and was making a face and gestures and saying xin loi to excuse myself.

She pulled the 30,000 out of my hand and then gave me some more bills back. I imagined she would then only leave me with the kilo of potatoes and I would shamefully be on my way back home. But then she dumped all the veggies I had chosen into by bike basket, and sent me off on my way.

I guess I had enough.

The damage: 26,ooo dong (2$ Canadian) for a kilo of potatoes, 4 tomatoes, 4 hot chilies, a handful of green onions, a yellow onion, and a giant bunch of some sort of spinach-like vegetable.


Anonymous said...

You my dear, are a joy to behold. I can actually imagine you like that :D

Rebel said...

you know, this is why I love the market... some stalls might up charge you a bit, but they're just as likely to give you free stuff, and I've found on more than one occasion if I just stick my hand out with a bunch of money - they take the right amount.

PS - take pictures of the soup when you're done!

PPS - if you can figure out what that spinachy stuff is let me know, we eat it all the time here.

Jonathan said...

Since writing this post, this lady has become my best friend!

-Sorry, but I ate the soup way too quickly to be able to even think of photographing it

-And that spinachy stuff is a type of morning glory called Ipomoea aquatica, aka water spinach!

Jeannette said...

That would cost me 600 yen at least. That's why I only eat rabbit pellets now.

Reese said...

you should stay there forever. much cheaper than canada!