Friday, March 7, 2014

São Paulo's Mercadão; a photo essay.

I was born in São Paulo, Brazil. Between my many moves I've added up about 9 years here, and I barely know my own city.

I've decided that its better late than ever to venture out into the wild and get to know the places I've always heard about, but for a number of reasons never really got to know.

First stop; the Municipal Market
Rua Cantareira, 306 - Sé (near the São Bento Subway Station, or the Parque D Pedro II bus stop).

It is a gigantic farmer's market, located in downtown São Paulo that has somehow eluded me for years, and now I finally realised what I've been missing.

The architecture resembles an industrial warehouse, bursting with food items, from solid to liquid, cold to hot, fresh to dried, prepared or raw. There are dozens of fresh tropical fruits, vegetables, wine, cheese, chocolate, seafood, chicken and spices.There is something there for every taste, and I recommend you show up hungry and try  the famous Mortadella (Bologna) Sandwich or an enormous Pastel de Bacalhau (Cod fish pasty). 

If I had to describe it in one word it would be abundance.
Abundance of colors, smells, flavors, textures, sounds. It is a great collection that stimulates all the senses and were I a creative person of any sort, I would have felt compelled to write a song, a movie or paint abstract pictures.

Although I didn't create anything, I did feel a newfound appreciation for the city in which I live. There is so much in here that I am missing out by wishing I was somewhere else. 

There were things hanging from spice racks that I would have thought were a world away, but turned out to be within my reach, just a few stops down the subway line. Enough to inspire even the most culinary challenged (yours trully) to want to give a go to the most outrageous recipes.

All the vendors were very friendly and eager to get you to try their merchandise, so if you are comfortable with it you can make a meal of samples of all sorts of different flavors.

I finally understood why, for my entire life, people insisted that I go there, and the reason for the astonished and disapproving looks that followed the statement "Well, I just never got around to it". If you are a fan of food, if you're an artist, or just your run of the mill wanderer I absolutely recommend it.