6 am my alarm rings. The thrill of a massive fruit and veggie shopping extravaganza is about to begin. A chance to rub elbows and barter head to head with all the wholesalers and chefs from Bahrain, is my kind of morning. Fresh scents of the days produce welcome you as you enter the warehouse building. Men with their trolley carts eagerly await you picking them for your market journey day. Meet my helper this trip. He was wonderful and happily even let me take his photo prior to our food adventure and then away we went…
Meet my favorite produce vendor. He smiles when we make eye contact and he knows I’ll be quick to compliment his crisp, white thobe and how it compliments his days fruits and veggies oh so well. Everytime, and then we talk food. After all presentation is everything. He lets me know whats new and cuts things open for me to try on the spot. The majority of my days purchases come from this gentleman as the taste, quality, and service is perfect, but I always like to peruse and see what else is happening around the market. A huge perk to living in this region is the variety of fresh produce you get from surrounding countries. It’s crazy amazing that when we make salsa, we use ingredients from about 7 different countries just to give you an idea. I LOVE this. So we continue on…
No trip to the market is complete without your dates. Don’t let his serious face fool you either, as he is as sweet as the packaged dates in the front row. Before moving to Bahrain I had only dabbled in dates trying a date shake on my drive from San Diego to Palm Springs and was left unimpressed. Now I eat dates on the daily. It took finding the right kind and thanks to this man letting me sample a lunch sized portion worth, I now know how good these sun cooked gems are.
Trips to farmers markets always ignite a happy spark. People being surrounded by good food is always a recipe for something fantastic. As I wander the aisles here at Central Market, I think back to the countless hours I spent at Pike’s Place market in Seattle growing up half a world away and it makes me feel at home.
Quick tips for shopping at Central Market in Bahrain
- Go early as you will get the best selection and beat the heat
- This is a wholesale warehouse, so bring friends to share huge portions/boxes
- Cash only and smaller bills are better for bartering
- Get the trolley service and tip him. It’s worth it
- There is no AC so if you need it, go to Lulu’s!
- Go with recipes in mind to make the most out of choices
- If time permits, go across the street to the fish and meat markets too