I don’t know what I expected when my professor said we were meeting up at a farmer’s market to explore Tampa culture. Rows of quaint tents occupied by wrinkly cute old ladies? The occasional offering of Granny Smiths and Galas?
But Sanwa’s Farmer’s Market is different. Imagine how taken back I was when I arrived at a warehouse-like building surrounded by cars. Upon entering the palace, my senses were overwhelmed with the buzz of different languages and colors and people.
Exotic Market Must-Haves
In the initial Sanwa room lay rows of foreign products, perfect for spicing up a boring palette. The “rooster brand” sriracha, as I like to call it, adds sensual vegan spice to noodle soups and stir-fry. In fact, most things taste better with sriracha. Except cereal. Just say no to sriracha cereal.
Also available were five-gallon buckets of soy sauce, and exotic edibles like pink guava syrup.
My friend Jasmin was the first to spot the Holy Grail of beans. Beans are at the bottom of the vegan food pyramid, offering plenty of vegan protein. Make sure you soak them for maximum nutrients and digestibility. Extra points if you have the patience to sprout them!
Foreign Fruits (And Veggies)
Just when I thought I’d explored every cranny of the Sanwa Market, I found the glorious produce room. Among generic produce like onions, apples, and strawberries, nestle foreign fruits and vegetables.
I found squash that I could pet, taller-than-me cane stalks, and fruit that looks like a small fluffy creature: rambutan.
Sanwa included it’s own organic section of produce, albeit small. I scored a huge tub of organic mixed greens for around seven dollars. At other nearby grocery stores, like Publix, you get half the amount for that price. Even if I’d just gone home with my lettuce-find, I’d have been a happy camper.
I love frequenting farmer’s market, but there’s a certain thrill when I discover a new Tampa gem. Sanwa’s Farmer’s Market was exceptionally exciting because of the array of funky produce and foreign market fair.
Sanwa, you haven’t seen the last of me.
What’s your favorite exotic produce to incorporate in vegan dishes?