Yesterday we were taken to Mercado Municipal by our friends Rodrigo e Ines.
This is Sao Paulo's answer to London's Borough Market. You can find the best quality foods here - fish, meat, dried fruits, amazing selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, herbs, spices, oils and alot of Heinz tomato sauce...
Firstly, MM is set in a beautiful old building in the old part of town (Centro). We were told that Centro use to be considered one of the lovely parts of town, lots of old businesses were based here and people sought after residences in the area. This has changed considerably and Rodrigo asked us to walk fast and not take photos whilst walking from the car to the market. Most of the buildings are derelict, covered in graffiti and I didn't see many people that would want to rob us. Maybe they were all hiding. It did look like a war zone - it's such a shame that there has been no effort to maintain the historic, old buildings in this area.
We didn't park at MM as the queue for the carpark was ridiculous. If there is one thing I hate, it's queueing. Rodrigo feels the same way so he dropped us off and went to find a parking space.
Upstairs are the restaurants and they are well known for pasteis de bacalhau (like a samosa with salted cod) and sanduiche de mortadella (basically 30 slices of mortadella ham in a sandwich!). We tried them all - Tim isn't a fan of bacalhau. It's historically the way the portuguese preserved their fish on their long boat journeys over to the new found land. I don't mind it; it reminds me of dried, salted seafood that we have in chinese cooking.
We bought some cheese and lots of fruits. We got to try lots of new fruits and some of them are the same as what you can get in Malaysia. We've come back with a box of starfruit, persimmons, figs and dragonfruit... makes a change from bananas, apples and oranges!
Apparently all the restaurants in SP come here for their groceries but it's not where we would come to for our daily shopping. I think our next visit here will be when we have our first visitor!