I've visited markets in a few countries I've traveled to. Seeing local farmers come to a centralized place to sell their crafts (food and non-food) was something I've grown to love doing. And Urubamba Market is now added to my list of "Must Visits" when staying in the area.
The market is only open on certain days. And part of it is outside, with (mostly) women sitting under tarps selling their vegetables...
But there is also a whole section inside.
And the smells from the inside area certainly aren't the easiest to adapt to. It was a mixture of vegetables, cheeses, raw poultry, raw fish, and raw meat.
Our guide through the market was a local restaurant owner and chef. He first walked us through the produce section on one side of the market, pointing out local fruits and vegetables.
He was enthusiastic about showing us new things. And he was quite familiar with all of the women working at the various stalls.
There were plenty of familiar fruits. The avocados were gigantic, largely containing water. But there were a few fruits we didn't recognize. Like this one...
A few days later I would get to actually try this one. It's called a "chirimoya." It's a "custard fruit." When it's cut open, it has a fleshy inside with almond-sized seeds. But the inside is sweet and has a custard texture.
We eventually wandered over to the raw meats section. The smell of it hit us first.
I noticed this woman going to town with a saw into a cow...
But I only watched her hack away for a few seconds, as something else on the counter quickly caught my eye...
Fresh. Killed. Pig.
I got up closer to it. I could see the eye...
It had brown eyes. (Just like me!)
Our guide saw a few of us gawking at it. He and the woman pulled it over to the side of the counter and pulled the tongue out.
Also charming? These ladies...
We got to the table where the organ meat form the cows were for sale...
Brain and tripe. Out there in the open. Waiting to be bought. I found myself pulled in to the texture of the offal.
Not enough to buy any, though.
Which this woman knew I wasn't going to...
Not pleased with me and the pictures I was taking, perhaps? Or just bored with tourists coming through all the time?
Just a few tables down from all of this "rawness" was the cheese.
Our guide mentioned that we shouldn't try any of it, as it would likely make us sick.
I don't know about everyone else... But I hadn't planned on trying it anyway.
Another building of the market had more produce, as well as some grains.
And my favorite thing of all...
It smelled divine! Aromatic. Lovely. And the color was gorgeous.
We wandered over to the peppers section...
Where a woman was cutting each one open and seeding it.
We were told this was so they could easily be used to make a national dish of stuffed peppers. They smelled very good.
"This is definitely the better-smelling side of the market" I noted internally.
We wrapped up our time at the market, and our guide took us to his restaurant nearby for lunch.
Since the food at the retreat was vegetarian, I was craving beef. Badly. So I ordered the beef with coffee sauce...
It was perfect, and only cost me $20 USD. Even more incredible!
We wrapped up our long lunch and headed back on the road to our next destination.