Photographs of a Chinese farmers market in Guangzhou (Canton). The produce offered here is not core nutrition, but, rather, "complementary" food (副产品), as indicated in the name of the market. This characteristic makes the place rather interesting, at least from a western perspective. Yes, it does sell rice, and roasted duck, and fish. But there are other, more "exotic" or "potent" products on sale here:
- snake (a southern Chinese speciality, almost obligatory actually);
- smaller and larger turtles (the smaller variety goes by the pound);
- deer (not yet skinned);
- dog (skinned, pre-cooked);
- dried, skeletal monkeys;
- so-called smooth newts.
Many of these "foodstuffs" were on the endangered species list back then already, but were sold anyway.
Chinese food safety standards (in general) have changed much since these pictures were taken in 1981, but still pose challenging problems today: "According to a survey pubished in the official China Food Quality News, almost two-thirds of Chinese are worried about food safety, while a fifth have no confidence in drinking water safety." (See the Reuters article "China food safety improving but challenges "arduous", Jan. 7, 2008). If anything, the appetite for exotic food has only increased in my experience.
Nikon FE2, Kodachrome slide film, scanned at 800DPI to TIF with Epson 4990 scanner.
Uploaded May 21, 2007. Updated Jan. 8 2008.
Thomas H. Hahn, Ithaca, NY
© Thomas H. Hahn Docu-Images