How to be a Market Pro in 4 Ways

4:51 PM

After devoting all my bodily functions into immersing myself deep into the realms of the book I've been reading, I’m happy to say I have partly surfaced and am back to reality (a little bit). I love the written word. While it is true that it takes me ages to open one, afraid that I will be overcome by the words, I only need to leaf through the first few pages for this world to vanish and give birth to a new obsession. Much like traveling; I only need to step out the front door to be whisked off my feet. To summarize that paragraph: “Sorry for the late post, I've been lazy.”

One of my favorite places to visit is the wet and dry market. No, I’m not talking about huge supermarkets or posh weekend markets— don’t get me wrong, I like visiting them too. But they tend to get pricey, produce isn’t as good and they’re made for days that I don’t feel like getting mud in my shoes. I’m referring to the legs that every community stands on, the place where they drop produce fresh from whence it came from sans the fancy packaging, where watermelons are sorted by tossing and catching like they’re lightweight footballs.

The place where you can get the freshest finds at the lowest prices. (That sounds like a bad ad)

Exactly how does one become a pro market man? Here are a few secrets passed down by the real pros:
grilling fresh prawns. yum!

Go early or go late

I HATE waking up early. When I mean hate, I will smite you if you wake me without a good reason. But if there is anything in the world that makes is worth getting up for, it’s to go to the market. You can cherry pick from a pile of unsorted goodies at a very good price. If you do wake up late, I would suggest going just before the market closes, odds are the vendors will give you bulk discounts so that they won’t have to bring their goods home.

raw or grilled, I absolutely love bell peppers
Go for bright, firm and shiny.

This applies wherever store you shop for goods. When picking fruits, vegetables or even meats, look for ones that bears a good color and retains its’ shape even when lightly pinched. The more often you shop for your own raw materials, your skill gets better. Unsure of how to pick? ask your friendly vendor to help you choose the best in the bunch, most of these guys take pride in being experts in knowing what’s good and what’s gone bad.


There are three effective ways of haggling my dad taught me. The first one, the sweet approach: ask nicely (but genuinely). Working in the market is tough and they appreciate a smile or a simple “good morning” to brighten their day. If you ask nicely, maybe they’ll give you a little extra. The second is the “turned-off-by-the-high-price-buyer” I’m sure you’ve seen this used in many places so I won’t elaborate. The third is the lightning-fast-math-offer. remember the 3-for-100 deals or buy 1 take 1 offers you see? It’s similar to that but done real time. Say a kilo of a certain vegetable costs 50, you can ask if you could get 3 kilos for a 100 or 110. Since I’m bad at math, I sometimes walk away feeling like I cheated on myself so I try to practice it on my spare time.

Shopping for the week? Pick the unripe ones

Dropping by the market is always easier said than done when you have a desk job like me. I try to go on the weekends so there is no need to rush in going over stalls. If you plan on getting materials for the week, select mature but still unripe produce. This means, the fruit or vegetable has reached the peak of its’ growth and is just beginning to ripen. I then store them on the counter-top and use them when they’re ready.

Obviously, I still need to practice these more often. One last tip: go with the season. This summer may be scorching hot, but it did make way for a lot of good watermelons, turnips and other produce that don’t do so well come rainy or cold season.

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