Night markets are cool. Literally. Nightfall brings relief from the heat and glare of the tropical sun and the streets come alive with all kinds of commerce. I'm in Singapore just about to catch a taxi home but stray a little to find myself on the edge of Little India where the produce I saw a few weeks ago has overflowed onto the streets and drawn a large crowd. Bright fluorescent bulbs illuminate heaps of verdant produce. Walls and pillars of teal, pink, chartreuse and a myriad of colored canopies, buntings and signs paint a vivid scene. I'm surprised at how quiet it is. The vendors neither hustle nor hawk, the shoppers are focussed and deliberate, quietly examining, selecting and filling their bags and baskets.
Is that spinach? I ask a lady. It's Indian spinach she says, that's spinach pointing to another green next to it. The other green, although known here as Spinach or Bayam is in fact Amaranth, and has a slightly hairier texture than Spinach. I mull over its Indian cousin that I don't recognize, undecided. It's a huge bundle and I don't really want to be carrying too much through customs. Same reasoning occludes taking home the long thin drumstick vegetables. They look amazing and every shopper has some in their bag. I've had them before and can only a conjure up a fleeting mental sketch of what their taste and texture is like. I settle for some eggplants, those super cute little ones and get a free bunch of cilantro with my purchase.