“Cities are all the same nowadays,” you will often hear.
Global trade has led to many brands (seemingly) being everywhere, and many an inner city has come to look basically the same as any other, it is true.
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The beginnings of globalization in the Columbian Exchange (as in, when Columbus “discovered” the Americas and species of “Old” and “New World” started to spread and mingle) made global food offerings similar even sooner.
Yet, differences also remain, and nowhere are they more obvious than at local markets…
Such “wet markets” are particularly interesting in their regional differences, which speak to the extent to which different places are still shaped by their different ecological conditions, resulting in different offerings.
Unsurprisingly – in spite of all the talk of globalization and uniformity – on Hainan, this includes a much stronger presence of fish, shellfish and seafood.
Here, even the markets in Hunan, where carp and eel would typically be the major, if not the only, fish on offer, are already distinctly different, even though one may think of them all as Chinese markets – and of course, in Europe, things look different yet again.
(I have a whole series on markets over on ChiliCult, my blog about hot spices and the world to be discovered through them.)