This Little Piggy Went To Market

I’m mad about markets. There’s something about the cut and thrust of them that I love and respond to. I always think of markets as theatrical places, colourful and loud, lively and flamboyant. The stall holders shouting their wares, the barrow boys sweeping past with their loads, the chickens, ducks, flowers, fruit and vegetables – everywhere there is something happening, something to catch your eye, something to tempt. And, rather like a stage-production, the scenery in the market changes depending on which ever part of the globe you happen to find yourself in.



Jakarta pisang-bunches

Jakarta Pasar tebet, plastic goods Lots of buckets Jakarta, Pasar Tebet
Jakarta, Pasar Tebet A million shallots

dried squids.Jakarta, Pasar Tebet

Gorgeous green bundles in Pasar Tebet

In Europe, markets tend to be outdoor affairs, but here in Jakarta, as far as I’ve seen they are mostly inside. The heat can be quite stifling and the smells take some getting used to, it’s definitely an assault on ones senses but oh so worth it as what greats you is a sight for sore eyes. Never in my life have I seen so many chilies, bags of rice, exciting looking condiments, plastic buckets, bras and knickers, mountains of avocados, and men, so many men all trying to sell me tea-towels and table napkins.






Jakarta Pasar Tebet, sleeping butcher

Butcher in Pasar Tebet. Jakarta

Jakarta Pasar tebet Papaya

I could happily while away an entire day down at my local market in Tebet. It opens at 6.30am but by midday the butchers and fish market are nearly out of stock and only a few straggly chickens are left tethered to a crate. I can hardly bear to look at them. Right next to them is a meat cleaver ready to end their pathetic lives in just a single stroke. The butcher asks if I want one and makes a slitting throat gesture with his finger across his throat, I decline. Likewise the ducks cooped up in small wire cage, eating rice from a bowl. This is not the side of the market that I enjoy or wish to spend time in, but I’m including photos of it so that you can get a feel for the place.

Oxtail. Pasar Tebet Jakarta

Jakarta sad chickens Pasar Tebet

Tapioca roots in jakarta market

Galangal in Jakarta, Pasar Tebet

Jakarta, avocado mountain

The things that excite me are the fruit, vegetables and spices. There are still so many that I don’t know the names of, let alone how to cook but maybe one day I shall learn.


Jakarta Nasi merah

Jakarta Pasar Tebet

33 thoughts on “This Little Piggy Went To Market

  1. I visited the market in Tebet with a friend once. The pineapple sellers were quite the charmers! Thanks for this post, brings back good memories.


    1. I’m glad it brought back good memories. I walk to the market about twice a week, it holds much fascination for me. Yes, there are a lot of charmers in there but it’s good fun and we always have a laugh.


    1. I took 80 photographs that morning and it’s been so hard to whittle them down – I’ll have to snuck the others in posts at a later stage.

      Yes, having read your ‘About Me’ on your blog, I knew that part would distress you but I wanted to give as ’rounded’ picture as I could of the market.

      The fruit and veg has to be seen to be believed, it’s an absolute treat to have so much choice. You can buy pretty much everything in that market which is why I love it – it’s a real treasure trove!


  2. Lottie: Couldn’t help but see the photo of the bras. Whenever I go shopping with my SigOth, I inevitably end up among the scanties and this worries me; not because I mind or think I shouldn’t be there, but because I never know where to look to avoid being thought by the passing parade to be a voyeur. It occurs to me that Irishman might have the same problem. Has he said? 🙂


    1. I do feel for you men, yes, I’m sure Irishman is the same. It’s not like you can stand there fondling the lace or fabrics of the scanties in the shop to pass the time because A) the assistants would probably think you were some sort of perve or B) a cross-dresser getting off on it all. It’s difficult to know what to suggest other than you feign madness and put a g-string on your head and runaround while SigOth does makes her scantie purchases.

      As I was taking the photo of the bras, one of the men in the market held one up and strapped it across his chest and started dancing around – as soon as I tried to photograph him, he became all self-concious and took it off – I told him he was a spoilsport! it would have made the best photo of the day! 🙂


  3. A sumptuous feast of photography. Markets are always full of good subject matter but I too suffered from drop jaw the first (and last) time Mrs. Ha “invited” me to go to the wet market with her. Our chosen chicken, Myrtle I think it was, was dispatched before my eyes and tasted bitter when she appeared on the evening dinner platter. Bitterness born of tears. She was a fine chicken. A credit to her family. Sadly missed. The other downside to the local markets and indeed their super relatives is the odour of durian. It’s much, much safer for us chaps not to get involved in the black art of market shopping. Unless its to take photos. Then I don’t care if its RAW.

    Lovely tones to your images, your Lottieness.


  4. Visiting local markets in S.E Asia is certainly not everyones tasse de the, I can appreciate that, and Mrs.Ha is plainly made of sterner stuff than I, because I’m not sure I could have stomached one of those chickens. They looked so unwell and had no meat on them. I couldn’t even bare to post the picture of the ducks, too grim.

    From the point of taking photos it’s a gift. There’s so much that enchants and delights. The colours are fantastic and there’s a wealth of subjects to chose from. One of the things I love about Indonesians is they are very happy to pose in front of a camera unlike Lottieness!


  5. Those photos could have been taken in Los Pozos market in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, right down to the while tiled walls. I used to shop there often when I lived there. Sadly, it was torn down and replaced and many who earned their livelihood where displaced. Although it was dirty and unhygienic by western standards, I loved it. The bigger market, Abastos, on the other side of town wasn’t the same, just dirtier. These markets are a health inspector’s nightmare, but they are wonderful.



    1. You’ve hit the nail on the head! ‘They are a health inspector’s nightmare but they are wonderful’ and I love hearing about the markets that you’ve been to in Bolivia – Abastos – I read that as Asbestos, either way they are all a bit lethal as seen through western eyes but isn’t that why we love them?!


      1. Asbestos market would be politically incorrect. I guess the big attraction for me, apart from the hustle and bustle, is that they show what wimps the western world have become, a point that I was blind to before travelling all over South America. I found that in the 3rd World I could live with half the baggage and double the fun.



      2. I hope I haven’t been un-pc, that wasn’t the intention – I blame failing eyesight and tiredness.

        We live in a cotton-wool world in the west, a molly coddled, sanitised, and rather sterile type of living. It has it’s good points of course but then there are it’s many down points. I feel blessed that I have this opportunity to be living somewhere very different and to experience this diverse and incredible culture. The only baggage I travel with is in my head and like you, I’m sure that I could have fun anywhere. Thanks for your illuminating comments as always, Lottie


      3. This convo has giben me a post title, all I have to do now is write the post, “Half the Baggage, Double the Fun” a productive morning, sometimes it is so hard to come up with a good post title.



      4. Fantastic! Can’t wait to read it BRING IT ON! I love your comments and it’s always so good to hear about other peoples experiences so Thank You, I appreciate your in-put and your wisdom. Now get writing….!


  6. Very overwhelming on all the senses those big Asian markets, though I have but a couple of brief experiences from Vietnam. Loved the explosion of colour in the fresh produce areas, CRINGED around the live produce. (Poor fluffy little chickens.) Your photos as usual tell a great story. I’m a bit fascinated by the pic of the guy sleeping on the butcher’s counter! Argh.


    1. Yes, I’m not sure I could sleep on a butchers counter either.

      Firstly the smell would make me heave. Secondly, I’m like the Princess and the Pea – I need a pillow and a mattress. Thirdly, with my fine, plumptious rump I might very well end up being made into a ton of steaks.

      Thanks for your comment Hayley 🙂


  7. What a fantastic post– I always visit markets when I visit other countries. I think it’s the best way to get to the soul of a place. I’m so glad you found my blog today, since now I’ve found yours. I’ve visited Indonesia a few times and find it a fascinating place and am eager to follow your adventures. I’ll see you on Twitter, too (I’m @spiceboxtravels).


    1. Spicebox I’ve been following your blog for a while but I’ve not been good on leaving comments – apologies for that. Your picture of the welsh rarebit made me drool – it was definitely a food porn moment.

      Thanks for ‘coming over to my place’ as they say (well actually i’m not sure peeps do say that on blogs but you’ll get what I mean) and I’m glad you enjoyed the post. If I didn’t have markets to visit in Jakarta, I think I’d go potty. Fortunately there are plenty to chose from!


  8. Amazing, Lottie. I think I’d be walking around with my mouth open the entire time. I love the way you’ve described everything and your photos (as always) are incredible.

    You are very brave to venture into those sad areas of the market and I can only imagine how difficult it would be do walk past the chickens and butchered animals. Thank you for sharing it all. xoxo


    1. No way!! I realise the man must have been very tired but the thought of having ones nose just inches away from dried blood and entrails made me feel a little uncle dick – i’m not sure the meat section of the market is the best place for an afternoon siesta!


      1. Yes a brave man indeed! I have spent a bit of time in abattoirs and it is amazing what you get used too, but lying down in the vicinity isn’t quite on the list.


    1. I know exactly what you mean but I’m not sure that you’d love the messiness of Jakarta! Don’t fret, you’ll be back soon, enjoy your time with your familyxxx


      1. No…the Bali markets are messy enough…well, not quite messy enough. The new one in Ubud is almost sterile! But good advice, I am enjoying my time, my family, and the chance to live in California!


  9. These are such good photos of soooo much produce. I read your intro and then scrolled pretty fast so that I did not have to look at chicken/s or pig/s, etc. Hard not to look when I had to try to bypass the meat part.

    This is a good one and I just could not stop thinking that If I suddenly found myself having to shop for grub in a market, then I’d be — out of luck. 🙂

    A very informative post here, Lottie. I do like this one that shows such a variety of produce.

    I’m glad that you are posting again.


    1. Thank you dear Yvonne. I’m sorry about the meat section 😦 I wrote this post a while back and I think that I did send you an email warning you that you might like the content. There are parts of the market that are rather grim. The fresh vegetables and fruit are fantastic and it’s a treasure trove of all sorts of unexpected things. Downstairs is like a rabbit warren of stalls selling cosmetics, cakes, cd’s, dvd’s and there are even opticians. I had my eyes tested there the other day and am now the proud owner of a pair of bi-focals! I’ve not yet quite got the hang of them though as I keep tripping up when i wear them! I think i need a bit more practice 🙂


      1. Not to worry about the post. Gee I am a little/big girl. 🙂 Bifocals do take getting used to. I’ve had them for years. My glasses make me dizzy if I try to walk at night about the yard. If you are trippind just briefly put your glasses on your head until you can get your bearings. Good luck and do be careful.


      2. I shall! For the moment I am giving them a wide berth though. I suspect that they may need readjusting as I think the join is not quite in the right place!


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