By Samay Bansal, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017
I’m not a very religious man but I'm fairly convinced that if heaven looked like the V&A Food Market, going to temple with my mum every Wednesday would seem a lot less inconvenient. In my travels I had experienced food squares and farmers’ markets before, however, nothing had prepared me for the Chelsea Market of the Southern hemisphere. I was happier than a young boy in a candy store.. although, given the amount of chocolate there was, I could have easily been that over-excited child.
All around me were desserts, fruits, pastries, meats, and delicacies of all shapes and sizes. There was a plethora of colour, varying flavours on every surface imaginable, and a very very happy Indian-Singaporean-American boy in the middle of it all. Sensory overload has never felt better.
The first stall I approached was a Hungarian Flatbread store which supplied the keys to my heart: free samples. I tried their pesto flatbread and fell in love for the second time in South Africa. The menu had 4 versions of the flatbread, but with a little convincing I was able to ask them for a ‘half- half’; Slow-cooked Lamb and Smoked Salmon. The flavours paired delectably, there was the right amount of richness from the meat and fish, light flavour from the aioli, and freshness from the rocket garnished over the flatbread.
Onto the next stall; A snack food that brought me back home, samosas! This stall sold samosas with chicken, beef, pork, ostrich, warthog, and the traditional, potatoes. They came in sets of 5, and needless to say, I ordered 10 (at least one of each version). Whilst some were better than others, I had a bite of each and settled on my favourite, the spiced lamb. As the flavour of lamb lingered in my mouth, I walked around the market a little more and spotted the ‘Lamb Rollover’ stall.
This stall sold a cross between a Kathi Roll (an Indian roll consisting of vegetables/meat in a roti) and the Mexican burrito. I had a lamb roll with avocado, fresh tomatoes, tzatziki, cheese, poppy seeds, rocket, and roasted almonds. The roll was definitely over-stuffed and unfortunately, because of how full we were, under-appreciated. We left half of it un-eaten but the chocolate truffle brownie, apple cider, and donuts we had afterwards were the ends that justified the wastage.
I had eaten so much by the end of the afternoon that I feared my friends would need to roll me out of the food market. Again, I’m not very religious but I think I may have found where god spends his weekends.