Flavors of the Locale

I have been terribly sick since I got back from Italy, so this weekend I decide to cancel my trip to visit my friend in Cologne and just relax in Den Haag. After all, for the past couple weekends I have always been wanting to get away, that I had barely explore Den Haag. It is the time to wind down a little bit and see what the local has to offer.

On Saturday I went to Den Haag’s big open market,  Haagse Markt. The dutch seem to have a strong market culture.  Every city has a big open market on certain days. Stuffs you can find there ranges from fresh produces to clothes, and kitchen utensils to electronic gadgets. This market opens three days a week and is supposed to be the biggest of the Netherlands (or even Europe?!)

I took the tram there and first went to the wrong market. Right next to Haagse Markt is the ethnic neighborhood where you can find all the authentic Turkish, Indian, Moroccan and Indonesian groceries and eateries. I fumbled into the Indian Saturday market and the it was absolutely lovely. Although none of the goods they sell actually interest me, it was fun simply to look at what a variety they had to offer: gaudy clothes, carpets, posters and statues of Hindu god, sarees, spices, banana chips, Indian desserts, Indian movies and music, etc. I used to live close to the Indian neighborhood in New York, but none of the markets there was as lively as this one.

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A block away was Haagse Market. It was SO BIG! What attracted me the most was obviously the food section. I literally went out of control buying vegetables and fruits because they had such a wide collection with extremely low price.

A lot of fresh produces were sold in little buckets, and cost only 1 Euro. What an easy and nice deal! I even got some stuffs that are not so easy to find outside China: loquats, persimmons and yums. I also had my first baklava in a year (not easy to find Lebanese restaurant in Hong Kong).

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One thing that should not be missed out for Haagse Markt is sea food. There, you can find all kinds of fresh sea foods from the North Sea. There were also a couple fried sea food stalls that sell extremely delicious fried fish. One of the very best I’ve ever had–yummy!

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Sunday we had the perfect weather here in a while. I went to have brunch in Chinatown with my dad’s friend and his family. It felt very nice to practice my Cantonese with the people in the restaurant even though it was just the basics of ordering food–made me really miss Hong Kong.

On my way back the weather was way too lovely so I decided to take a detour and find the bike path in the woods. Inbetween where I live and the city center is a forest called Haagse Bos. The Dutch royal family’s residential palace, Huis ten Bosch (literally means “House in the woods”) is also in the forest. In the Netherlands there are designated lanes for bikes everywhere, even in the woods. Figuring out my way to downtown through the woods is such an important find to me, because that means next time I go to downtown, I dont have to deal with the busy traffic on the main street.

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After I got home, I tried some recipes with the stuffs I got from the market yesterday. One was baked eggs in avocado, which didn’t turn out to be very successful because I think I got the wrong type of avocado. The other one was some miso glazed eggplants, which was very tasty (and easy to make!).

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For the rest of the day I just sat outside in the sun, had some tea and Cantonese pastry, talked to my friends in HK and the U.S. on the phone, and did some reading. It has been a while since I was able to reach such relaxing and content mood. Life is not too bad after all.

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