Advertisement
Sun, 20 Apr 2014

Castries Market NatGeo No.3

Advertisement

Shocking news or deserving honour?

Every St Lucian knows when you can’t find a particular fresh food item in the supermarket; you’re bound to find it at the Castries Market! Not only is it the ideal place to find quite an assortment of fruits and veggies, you can find peculiar trinkets and other unusual goodies at the centralized location in Castries.
Vendors come from far and wide, with their fresh produce to sell every morning, and despite the rigors of the job most always have a moment to spare to engage you in pleasant conversation—if you have the time. More often than not, you’ll wind up leaving the Castries market with newfound information, and a smile of satisfaction as you very likely will be leaving with the goods you came for in the first place, at the best possible price on the island!
St Lucia’s Castries Market was recently recognized in a listing of the Top Ten Food Markets in the World. The National Geographic’s listing for “Food Journeys of a Lifetime” recognizes “scruffy and chaotic or orderly and refined, the world’s street markets that offer fresh, local—often cheap—seasonal produce, alongside a slice of local life.” St Lawrence, Toronto, Canada came first in that respect, Union Square Greenmarket, New York City second, followed by St Lucia’s very own Castries Market. Ver-o-Peso, Belém, Brazil and Mercado Central, Santiago, Chile are fourth and fifth, respectively.
Truth be told, tourist reviews on the Castries Market are mixed. There are those who really love it, and those who would for one reason or the other advise against visiting. On the upside visitors report the Castries market is a great place to “enjoy yourself, learn some new things, get recipes, discover beauty/health secrets, share a laugh, admire skills and craft work, eat something healthful and score a cocoa stick. Do it again!”
One visitor wrote in an online review: “I did manage to purchase a cocoa stick, which I use to make delicious cocoa tea! I had a delightful visit to this market. I would plan to spend more time in the future when I go again. I found the sellers very generous with their time and information (low season visit). I do caution, that if a seller comes up to you and asks you to hold something, politely refuse. Once you hold their product, they will try to get you to buy it and steal your time with unwanted commentary!”
Quite a number of visitors concurred some of the not so pleasant experiences were not uncommon in other islands they’d visited, like the typical offers to purchase marijuana and other goods “on the hustle.”
While locals may be able to see the similarities, tourists often describe the Castries Market as a world apart from popular vacation stops in St Lucia like Soufriere and Marigot Bay. On the downside, other visitors report their time there as “the scariest two hours of my life.”
“Two other couples we ran into at other attractions said they felt the same way,” another visitor wrote on trip advisor. “One of the couples said they got out of the cab, walked five feet in, and turned around to catch another cab back to their hotel. I wish we had done the same. On several occasions we were approached by seedy looking characters asking for us to buy a seashell, or hat made of grass, or a popcorn kernel (yes, a kernel that came with the “palm reading”). When we came up with the line of “I already bought one” for anyone who approached us, one guy had the audacity to ask if we could just give him money anyway. We said we didn’t have any change, and he insisted that a $5 would be okay with him. I was both scared and outraged.”
The Castries Market is quite a popular lunch and breakfast spot, and from the early hours food of all varieties is available from various food spots. The Market has become quite the after party breakfast spot, particularly as it’s the only place that’s usually open serving “hot off the grill grub” after attending an event that runs into the wee hours of the morning!
A visit to the Castries Market is one that you surely will never forget, and as one visitor put it: “Going to the Castries Market was the best decision of our cruise!”
Locals may not have the same affinity for the Castries Market and many were shocked by the recognition from National Geographic. After all the Market, surrounded by the CDC buildings has been largely known for all the wrong things.
Or is it that we are taking the culture (charm?) of the Castries Market for granted?

Advertisement

7 Responses to Castries Market NatGeo No.3

  1. Botox says:

    Chicken drumstick in a bun, bones and all. I think the wonderful aroma is what won the 3rd place position.

  2. King junior Stewart says:

    The National Geographic huh ! Well if they say so, THEY SAY SO. Cuture charm; how yeah they will charm you out of your money if you are not slick about it that’s for dam sure. Lets not even talk about what goes on in the BACK OF THE MARKET. So you know many Stiff Upper Lippers are going to clap for the accolades given by National Geographic when they themselves would not be caught dead near the place, JQ FOR THEM. So the question now is when is central market #2 will be build in Vieux Fort ? IT’S BEYOND OVERDUE,merchants on Clark Street need a break and the higglers need a proper place to peddle their wears. Nobody don’t see the need for this ?? Goverment come and goverment goes.

  3. SLU # 1 says:

    A deserving honour i would say. Things St. Lucian are world class and sometimes it takes an internationaly-recognised body to validate. I remember a particular DBS news item which showed the former PM of Barbados and his St. Lucian wife enjoying lunch at the Market, though many locals would scoff at the thought of doing so. Just another ranking that i hope we can maintain for a long time.

  4. Patriot says:

    My friends and I always eat at the market place when we are on vacation on the island because of the vibrant cultural link and feeling it brings to our enjoyment of our holiday. The professinal standard displayed by the many food outlets is a drawing card as well as the ability to witness the preparation,cooking and serving of the delightful meals we have ordered. I do not know when last Botox have been to the market,but it is a far cry from the chicken and bread mentality you are referring to or just maybe this is what you refer to as a meal. I have been to a many market restaurants and I can surely be proud of StLucia’s Market Place, for it’s contribution to the tourism product of…

    • Botox says:

      The Castries market is a dump, eat here with the risk of contracting some belly sweating lagigit. I am not going to be a hypocrite and lie to you about the smell of a 100 dead animals emanating from some unknown vault. Is it a colourful throwback to the charming early 19th century? Yes, and this is what the people from modern countries want to see, they want to time travel to the real smells, sounds and people. I think it should have gotten first place for the authenticity, but 3rd is quite generous all things considered. I love the Castries market, it is like hearing a fart and waiting for the vapours to arrive with some protest of odorous quality.

      • Patriot says:

        Grow up Botox, you do seem to be the authentic one, not realising that time is a healer and those days of contracting illness from eating a meal anywhere in StLucia has long gone, with the ardent work of the bureau of standards and other agencies which monitor the level of hygiene in the industry. Anyway the accolade has been given to the market by an organisation of sound international repute and not some local organisation trying to boost StLucia’s tourism product. I and my friends will return to the market place with or without your unfavourable comments about it and as the saying goes, who feels it knows it and we do feel the cultural link to the island’s past historic influences…

  5. simone says:

    My favourite place when travelling is a market.and St Lucia deserves it

Home Local Back to Top ↑

Weather

Find more about Weather in Castries, LC Advertisements
Titles by RICK WAYNE
Advertisement