Market day

Markets are important here in Malaysia. I've noticed that most refrigerators are tiny here (compared to the U.S.) but it makes sense when you realize that people here shop every day or two here for their fresh produce, so there's no need for a giant fridge to keep things fresh. I went to the market today (I drove there all by myself!) and I thought I'd show you what I bought. All of this cost 21 ringgit, which at today's exchange rate at $1=3.145rm, costed me $6.68. Oh yes, plus the 30 sen for parking. Not too shabby!

I bought spinach. I have a love/hate relationship with this food here in Malaysia. If you currently eat spinach from a bag, then stop for a moment of gratitude right now and thank your local grocer. Although I appreciate such fresh produce, fresh spinach straight from the ground is really annoying to work with. It's super sandy - I have found that I have to wash and soak it 3x (there's a reason the stuff in the bag is triple-washed; 3 seems to be the magic number!) before I can get most of the sand grains out, although often times I nearly chip a tooth in the end, anyway. There's bugs in it. It's not good to eat raw - you could never make a salad or put it on a sandwich. Plus it only lasts a day or two. But I couldn't make my green smoothies with out it, so I will keep on carrying on.

I bought basil. Thus continues my love affair with this herb. Fresh herbs are especially difficult to keep fresh in the refrigerator, and we've learned the hard way that they must be used on the day you purchase them- or the next at the very latest. So today I will likely be making this again. Yum.

I also purchased fresh tofu, coconut milk, eggs, salad greens (which are quite delicious and make up for the spinach), and the usual stock of other veggies. The other day, Reuben bought quail eggs.

We also make occasional trips to the grocery store, where we stock up on things like soy milk, oatmeal, my diet coke, bread (the Adventist Hospital here runs a bakery that makes and distributes the BEST sprouted grain bread!), and all the other boring stuff. But more often than that, we walk to the mini mart just down the street. They know us quite well down there, because it seems that we stop in for something almost every day. They're slightly more expensive than the bigger stores, but the convenience is totally worth it. It never ceases to AMAZE me how much stock they can cram in their tiny stores. Tedjen (creatively named by its owners, Ted and Jen) packs its shelves so close together that I have to walk sideways to get through. Alpha Mart has a little more space, but they're often closed. But I've never needed anything that I couldn't find there. It's like a magic hat - you can pull out anything. One day when Reuben was sick, I walked down to see if I could find some fresh ginger. When the Alpha Mart guy told me he didn't carry it, he walked over to the Chinese restaurant next door and convinced them to sell me some. Now THAT'S customer service.

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