When I first moved to Shanghai, I heard about this woman called the Avocado Lady. She has a popular shop at 274 Wulumuqi Lu that has reached almost mythical status. What differentiates her from the countless other fruit and vegetable stands that line the sidewalks? For starters, she has produce that foreigners actually want to eat, like asparagus and avocados (hence the name). No smelly durian here! She also sells her bounty at bargain-basement prices to Chinese and foreigners alike. No haggling necessary!
But what really sets her apart from her competitors are all the imported western goods lining the shelves. If you are looking for cereal, chickpeas, lentils, tahini, vanilla extract, salad dressing, canned peaches or fruit juice, she has you covered. I nearly fainted when I first laid eyes on the dairy case!
To illustrate why it’s worth paying the Avocado Lady a visit: I recently purchased avocados, limes, fresh corn, beautiful cherry tomatoes and a thick packet of tortillas for just 54 RMB (about US$8.50). The tortillas alone would have cost that much in the big grocery store where I usually shop (if they were available at all)!
That evening for dinner, I made chicken quesadillas and a fresh summer salad to make the most of my bounty. See below for the recipe!
Here’s what you’ll need:
2 pints of grape tomatoes, quartered (use a variety of colors if available)
2 ears of sweet corn, with the kernels cut off the cob
1 avocado, sliced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
Juice of one lime
Cook the corn kernels in canola oil over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Mix in a bowl with the remaining ingredients, add 1 tbsp of canola oil and season with salt and pepper.
I remember us walking past and you commenting about it. I still can’t believe we didn’t buy some of those delicious looking strawberries. Those sidewalk grocers had some beautiful produce. Mom
I can’t believe we didn’t buy any either. Next spring we are definitely getting some!