Wild & Wet Markets
Roll up your trouser cuffs and explore one of Singapore's wet markets. Fresh food markets are common in many cities, but wet markets are an Asian phenomenon. They're literally doused with water continually to keep the facilities clean. Most wet markets open at 4 am and wind down around noon when the heat of the day takes its toll on the ice that keeps the produce and meats fresh.
Actually, wet markets are typically divided into two sections: the wet area (where the produce, meat, fish, and live animals are constantly hosed down) and the dry area (with sacks of herbs, spices, rice, dried noodles, dried seafood, and beans). Try to fit in one wet market visit to see the staggering range of foodstuffs that go into Singapore's multicultural dishes: eels, cow tongues, frogs, and perhaps a turtle or two. The transactions and movement of goods can make for a hectic, colorful, albeit somewhat smelly scene.
At the fascinating Chinatown Complex wet market seafood and pork products are as plentiful as exotic eels. Stalls in the dry area sell such items as clothing and toys. When you're done shopping, you can stop for a cup of herbal tea at one of the traditional tea stalls. 335 Smith St., Singapore.
Tekka Market, near the top of Serangoon Road, is the place to go for spices and seafood. Singaporeans flock here for dried goods, beef, mutton, curry paste, crabs, and freshwater fish. Upstairs at the Tekka Centre you'll find Indian clothing, brassware, linen, and some kitschy souvenirs. 665 Buffalo Rd., Singapore.
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