Spurred by some cabin fever and need of a little adventure, I made a solo trip to Saigon Market so I could buy some cooking ingredients. I recalled a tip that on Saturday mornings prepared food was brought in. I was a little early but around 10am there were warm pork rolls for $2.50. The slightly sweet, soft dough (like a giant dumpling) contained ground pork, a little sauge, egg and ? I thought this made a great, quick lunch but at the cash register I was told more food would arrive at 11:15am. I did an errand and return to a now very busy market. A lot of people were shopping for the week. There were tubs of fresh fish and I saw a whole roasted and decorated piglet that must have been a special order. Now, the problem was I had no idea what anything was except for the obvious slices of roasted pork. Some was already boxed up with a container of sauce. The lady behind me was just as unfamiliar with the items as I was and I didn't think the couple in front of me would appreciate questions. They had a full cart and despite three cash registers, the front of the store was packed. (The bad thing is there is only one counter so it was hard for the clerks to ring up big orders.) I had already purchased a package of fresh mung bean cakes so I decided to skip the things that looked like pastries and go for a needle salad as my second course lunch. It had a small amount of thinly sliced sausage, slivers of grilled beef, fresh carrots sliced that tasted as if they might have been soaked in salted water, some shredded napa cabbage with a bit of minced fresh mint. The "dressing" looked like thinned down sweet chili sauce. Perhaps just mixed with rice vinegar. A little sweet but also tangy. It was another good buy at $2.79 (if I remember correctly).
Has anyone else frequented the Saturday morning market who could tell me what they have bought and enjoyed? I stocked up on sauces and lemon grass. The lemon grass was $1.49 a bunch which I think was much less expensive that my regular supermarket. I have also found that cans of Massaman curry paste are reasonably priced like the small market in Portsmouth. Also scooped up three packages of sesame and peanut candy for my husband's Valentine present.
There seems like a good selection of Mexican products as well as Asian. There's a lot of fresh vegetables and frozen products. The market is located on S. Maple Street off South Willow Street. It's on the Elm Street end of South Willow in a small plaza containing a fitness center, tanning salon, etc.