Outdoor Market; Chisinau, Moldova
Supermarkets are largely an American and Western European phenomenon. In much of the world, a majority of locals shop for their groceries in huge outdoor markets, like this one in Chisinau, Moldova, called the Piaţa Centrală.
If you want to learn more about a country and its culture, visit one of these outdoor markets. They always seem to be jammed with people picking up fresh ingredients to prepare their meals for the day.
Besides food, you can find almost anything imaginable here – batteries, underwear, watches, bootleg DVDs, bed linens, and some items you likely won’t be able to identify.
It’s sort of like a third-world version of Wal-Mart — without the greeters, muzac or climate control.
Finding the fish stalls is easy. Just take a whiff and follow the scent. This Moldovan – sporting a silver-capped tooth and babushka – didn’t need much coaxing to proudly display her merchandise.
Despite the seller’s enthusiasm, I wasn’t a buyer that day. We tended to shop at more conventional stores, where the fish was kept in refrigerated glass-covered cases instead of buckets full of water.
Yes, the food in supermarkets may be more sanitary. But in terms of atmosphere – and photo opportunities — outdoor markets offer much more local flavor.
The crowded Piaţa Centrală in Chisinau, Moldova.
Copyright © Dan Fellner 2012