17th Mar 2013

Market Adventures

The bustling markets of Sri Lanka offer a wide variety of fresh seasonal produce all year round and can be found all over the country. They range from the one-man street vendors with their fruit and veg laid out on hessian floor mats, to huge weekly markets with hundreds of stalls. These markets offer a  variety of goods including; aromatic spices, the freshest seafood, organic fruit and vegetables, sweet treats, natural oils and so much more. Spices such as cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, nutmeg and pepper are found in abundance on the island, together with the tastiest blends of curry powders I have ever come across.

A trip to these markets really indulges your senses with the tantalising aromas and array of colourful produce. The hustle and bustle in these markets is exciting and powerful; the sellers shout out prices per gram, weigh their produce in the old and battered brass weighing scales, bargain with hordes of housewives, and last but not least, they never stop smiling.

As far as money is concerned, you will be amazed at what you can get for your budget.  As with most items in Sri Lanka, the price is always negotiable and bargaining is part of the culture. Have fun with it and try to remember that no matter how much something costs, you are probably arguing over a few pence, so try not to take it too seriously.

As far as health and hygiene standards go, it can be quite a shock to the system. Meat and fish lay unrefrigerated and uncovered on old wooden tables, and sometimes on the floor. This, combined with the abundance of flies surrounding the produce can be quite off putting for some, but I can honestly say that I have never been ill from eating the meat or fish purchased from these markets.  The Sri Lankan people, and people from all third world countries for that matter, have been operating in this way for centuries, and in my opinion they are some of the healthiest and happiest people on the planet.