Street Foods and Markets

If by some change you become fed up with eating in restaurants or trying fast food, you can always take a trip on the wild and possibly unsanitary side and see what you can get to eat on the streets or outside. For stands heavily populate Nizhny Novgorod as you can find something to eat around every street corner. Though food stands offer a variety of foods, nothing can even come close to the famed shawarma. Шаурма (shaurma) as the Russians call it is an Arab dish that basically serves as a Middle Eastern taco. It’s a pita wrap filled with different types of meat, vegetables and sauces. Shawarma is staggeringly cheap as it usually goes for roughly 100 rubles, or about three dollars. I’ve never been disappointed with shawarma as it always comes in either two forms: tasty or absurdly delicious. People who operate these stands are usually from central Asian countries and are almost always curious as to where we were from. Unfortunately, there are two sides to this tasty coin. These shawarma stands don’t seem to appear to operate under any health or sanitation codes as the vendors preparing our food seldom wear gloves. Many Russians even warn us about eating at these stands and that you can’t just choose any at random. You need to be aware of that stand’s reputation prior to ordering from it. Despite this, if and when you come to Nizhny, you must try shaurma, and not just at a restaurant, you need to go through to whole experience. One of the most prolific examples of cultural difference from the west is the рынок. A рынок (rynok) is a typically outdoor market that offers a plethora of goods. Fruits, vegetables, honey, meat, fish, you name it, the market has got it, and it’s goods are not just limited to groceries either. As shoes, clothing, and consumer durables can also be found in markets, you could walk into a market naked and walk out fully clothed and fed. These densely-populated microcosms can sometimes be home to shady characters, so it’s advised to keep a close eye on your belongings while you browse. Again, sanitation and health safely aren’t well regulated in these areas, so be careful what you buy. This is especially so when it comes to meat and fish. Though raw meat isn’t under the sunlight like most of the goods at the market, quite a few vendors don’t seem to refrigerate their products. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s fascinating just to peruse the stalls as you feel like a true word-traveler watching two babushkas haggle over a head of lettuce. It truly is other worldly. My next blog will be focus on groceries.

 

Shawarma meat being prepared without gloves.

Shawarma meat being prepared without gloves.

Shawarma stand.

Shawarma stand.

Another shawarma stand.

Another shawarma stand.

Copyright-infringing shawarma stand.

Copyright-infringing shawarma stand.

Shot at interior.

Shot at interior.

Partially-eaten shawarma.

Partially-eaten shawarma.

 Closeup at vegetables and fruits. The guy in the light blue shirt gave me the most pleasant look after I took this picture.


Closeup at vegetables and fruits. The guy in the light blue shirt gave me the most pleasant look after I took this picture.

More vegetables.

More vegetables.

Meat.

Meat.

 View of the Market.


View of the Market.

More meat.

More meat.

View of the meat room.

View of the meat room.

 Here we have the obligatory market kitten who's ultimately responsible for the commercial success of all the vendors. This little guy wouldn't look up for the picture though....


Here we have the obligatory market kitten who’s ultimately responsible for the commercial success of all the vendors. This little guy wouldn’t look up for the picture though….

Another view of the market.

Another view of the market.

Christopher Moldes buying shawarma.

Christopher Moldes buying shawarma.

Shawarmas, unite!

Shawarmas, unite!

Dried fruits and nuts.

Dried fruits and nuts.

I'm not going to lie, this room didn't smell great...

I’m not going to lie, this room didn’t smell great…

Random picture of market.

Random picture of market.

As I said, the meat isn't always refrigerated, so be careful.

As I said, the meat isn’t always refrigerated, so be careful.

 

 

–Max Parker

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