So far in Italy, there are a couple of Asian foodstuff that I could get, such as Thai rice, star anise, coconut milk and others. These are sold in kiosks. There will always be one or two in each market.
Lemongrass and Pandan leaves are among the basic ingredients for Malay food. To me, Nasi Lemak and Ayam Masak Merah doesn’t taste complete without them. And as of now, I have yet to find them here in Rome.
Through friends, Cart found out that there could be a possibility of getting the stuff that we need from a place called Mercato Esquillino.
As Cart and I were a little concerned about searching for parking for the car, we decided to take the subway instead.
A couple of the subways here are interesting. They were painted with so much graffiti that it even looks like an artwork! We dropped down to the Termini station and had a walk.
Going down the street, it is an interesting looking, but rather rough looking area here. A couple of the buildings look dilapilated and just sad. It made me wonder why anyone would live there.
We also passed by quite a number of chinese owned shops selling bags, shoes and clothes.
At length we reached Mercato Esquillino. It was a large place. that was divided into two areas. One for foodstuff and the other was for apparels.
When we entered, I was really surprised at what was in front of me.
I didn’t feel like I was in Rome as I found so many different kiosks with owners of different nationalities selling various types of foodstuff – Items from Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, Africa and others.
I found an Indian man selling Indian spices. I could detect him talking in Tamil to his customers. There were a Chinese lady speaking Italian-accented Mandarin. This was a very interesting place indeed and it was almost ironic that there were only a handful of Caucasian sellers.
After going a few rounds the market, asking for Pandan Leaves and Lemongrass, we were faced with the unfortunate news that there were none. We were advised to try our luck the next time by going there again very early.
We then headed to the other part of the mercato where there were bales of bling cloths, waiting to be made. This reminded me of Geylang and Sultan Mosque Street. Back in Singapore, my seamstress Mum and I would be there every now and then to buy cloth to be made into Baju Kurong.
I felt sad as this will be the first year that I’d be celebrating Hari Raya without the family.
After exploring the market, walking out, one of the first thing that I spotted was this :
As I love Indian food, I nudged Cart to enter. We were both very hungry from our recce. We ordered a plate of rice each with gravy and a couple of fried snacks.
Granted that it was not really what you’d get in Little India in Singapore, it was still decent. It eased the feeling of homesickness a little bit.
Esquilino is an interesting place. Its a bit far for Cart and I to be doing our weekly grocery shopping, but I think that we’ll visit again.
For our quest in search of Lemongrass and Pandan Leaves.