Not your average farmers’ market

The Green Market or Зеленый базар (Zeloyni Bazaar), is the main food market in Almaty. It’s a gourmet’s dream! There seems to be an endless supply of fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables, nuts, spices, dried fruits, caviar from the Caspian, honey, herbal remedies and teas, homemade cheeses, prepared salads, pickles and meats.

As you enter the market, Uzbek and Tajik traders (who are easily distinguishable in their traditional headgear) yell and gesture to you to come and sample their offerings (see picture above). The almonds and apricots are personal favorites, but all of the produce is really delicious and some of the best I’ve ever tasted! It’s largely due to the fact that everything is all natural with no preservatives, pesticides or additives (e.g., sugars, coloring).

Let’s be honest, the butchery section takes some courage. Everything and anything is on display with some body parts easily recognizable such as grinning sheep heads and tongues, while other parts unidentifiable. Despite the gruesome appearance, the meats have the reputation of being some of the freshest available. And it’s true! It took me some time to cross the aisle, but I am now proud to say that I can navigate this part of the market almost as good as a local.

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