On the Local (Wet) Market in Shangri-la

A (last) step into the Tibetan part of Yunnan, and of course I went to a local market there, too. Again, I have some impressions to share…

Here in the mountains, the climate is harder, the growing periods are shorter – and one has to wonder how much of the produce offered on a market is locally grown, how much has to be imported.

In the case of the chilli, my big interest, it is to be expected that a lot of it would be imported in dried form, and it does look like that.

Then again, it was just such a dried chilli which gave me the needed hint about a locally grown chilli which is without compare in its fascination.

Towards the north from the old town of Shangri-la, where the city is still more of its old Zhongdian – i.e., less of a tourist dream of Tibet, more of a living small town at the edge of Chinese civilization – there lies a larger market for agricultural produce, for restaurants same as local’s daily purchases.

It’s actually, by the looks of it, more like two markets. Two parts?

One is a newer (and less-used) market hall south of a road. The other a market north of that same road, largely also covered, and older, by the looks of it.

Need a quick breakfast of baozi or mantou? You can grab that here.

A few household goods you’re missing – or a chat and some few special things brought by locals:

The focus is, as always, on various vegetables, on pickles, on tofu – and I also came past the poultry.

There was less variety of vegetables, a different selection, than in the places I’d visited before, at lower elevations, in Yunnan.

That included how chilli was hardly to be found fresh. For all the denial that asking about dishes using chilli had provoked, there was not so little of that, though.

Dried whole (and here again, recognizable as Qiubei chilli when it comes to the darker red one), as powder, as flakes…

… and as the first hint that I was indeed looking in the right place, by going to Nixi, on my hunt for the mysterious, perennially growing, golden Tibetan tree chilli!

Of course, I also went out for Tibetan food, see here.

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