Cool Stuff You Can Buy At A Market Not Near Your House

Kyoto Japan — pickled radishes

I am not a shopper. But when I travel, I love shopping — not at Zara or Desigual  — but at local markets, where members of the community sell what they grow or make.  Every market visit is an education in local culture and every market is a place to feel connected to the local community. People are happy — or at least hopeful. And that kind of shopping doesn’t require you to buy anything to make you feel good.

Nephew Devin at a public market during a quick trip we made from Lesvos, Greece to Ayvalik, Turkey

There are probably not many things in the world that you can’t buy in American stores, but the world is still full of stuff that isn’t familiar to an average American or, at least, isn’t so easy to find in an American store.  Like chicken ass.

Chiang Mai, Thailand in a street market

It’s a lot of fun looking for unusual merchandise. See if you can guess what is in the photos before you read the captions — and let me know if I am mis-remembering!

Larnaca, Cyprus — candles for burning in Greek Orthodox churches

Tokyo, Japan — Rice wine

Inle Lake, Burma — Jasmine flower garlands

Molyvos, Lesvos, Greece — Sheep bells

Bangkok, Thailand — cockroaches

Moscow, Russia — Baboushka dolls

Fantan, Armenia — cow dung fuel for heating

Cairo, Egypt — A variety of herbs and root vegetables

Madaba, Jordan — Muslim Barbie dolls in hijab

Lima, Peru — maracas made from gourds

Venice, Italy — Meringue bells, a local dessert

Jerusalem, Palestine — Abaya, Muslim women’s dress

Amman, Jordan — dyed baby chicks

Ulaanbataar, Mongolia — racing saddles

Cusco, Peru — Gooseberries that grow in little paper lanterns

Lima, Peru — scallops with roe

Battambang, Cambodia — snacks of roasted bananas and sweetened rice

We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.
                                       –The Talmud
The Earth laughs in flowers.
                                       –Ralph Waldo Emerson






  1. Very interesting. Sometimes we just walk by unfamiliar goods without really paying attention – glad you photographed these. But, I’m curious about a couple of them. Not a fan of dying baby chicks, and are those cockroaches for sale – or are they customers?

  2. Thank you Kim. I’ve spent some time on your blog since you commented on a post on my own. What a great way to spend a couple hours. Really thoughtful, well-traveled, erudite, worthwhile stuff. I’m glad to be able to follow you here and I admire your travels.

    And hey, I’m afraid the chicken ass looks tasty.

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