I've already given up on the former. I have never found a Vietnamese eatery here which provides the requisite quantities of the more commonly available bean sprouts, coriander, mint and lime wedges, not to mention the delicious garnish of fried shallots and of fresh red chilli slices. I've seen Thai basil for sale at garden centres, but the more exotic herbs like sawtooth coriander (also called culantro, distinct from cilantro/coriander)? I didn't have a clue where to begin. That is, until a search for galangal (which I have still yet to find in Auckland) led me to the Avondale Sunday Market. There, amongst the young bitter melon and snake bean plants, next to the holy basil, I came across the perilla with its distinctive purple underside, as well as the long spiky leaves of the sawtooth coriander. Hooray!
|Vietnamese herbs like sawtooth coriander (a.k.a. culantro) and red perilla were available|
It's not one of those markets where you go to eat, not unless you are into deep fried hot dogs and the like, though you can certainly choose to sample pre-made Asian food like taro sticky rice rolls wrapped in banana leaf, if you are not worried about moist food stored at room temperature. You also need to shuffle your way past the stands selling Korean socks, cheap underwear and second hand goods, before you reach the vegetable section. But once you get there, what a reward! Here are some things that piqued my interest.
|Banana trunks and artichokes|
|Three kinds of eggplant|
|Not sure, black sugarcane and burdock root|
|Relatively cheap tomatoes (to think they were briefly sold for $12.99/kg at Countdown earlier this year!)|
|Possibly arrowroot and Jerusalem artichoke|
|Goose and duck eggs|
Avondale Sunday Market
Avondale Racecourse, Ash Street, Avondale
Sundays 6am - 12pm
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