Tuesday, November 16, 2010

'Utukalongalu Market in Neiafu

PHOTO: The main market at Neiafu, Vava'u

Where to get delicious vegetables in Vava'u? The 'Utukalongalu Market is the place. It is located right next to the wharf by the Golden Dragon Falekoloa and the new Digicel office. Fresh vegetables are available Monday to Saturday. Like everywhere else in Tonga, Saturday is the main shopping day to prepare for the Sunday 'umu. I too for some reason wait until Saturday to get all my shopping done (when it is the busiest of course).

Vava'u is blessed with a full supply of vegetables for most time of the year(sorry Ha'apai PCVs). Green peppers, cabbage, mangoes, tomatoes, green beans, various root crops, watermelons, basil, egg plant, lettuce, and more are very common throughout various times of the year. Prices generally start at $3.00 TOP for a "stack" or "bundle" of vegetables. Not a bad deal honestly. Futhermore, you can buy eggs at the market all year round. Amazing! (I'm currently in Pangai, Ha'apai as I write this and food shopping/availability is so much different than Vava'u). The vendors try to offer a wide array of vegetables that caters to both Tongans and palangis (foreigners).

PHOTO: One of the vegetable vendors in the market selling fresh goods.

Lastly, the market has an arts and crafts sections. Tourists and locals can buy traditional Tongan handicrafts and souvenirs. Such items includes: baskets, tapas (special cloth made from wood), shells, wood carvings, bowls, necklaces, and more. Bartering isn't generally practiced in Tonga, but vendors are more than willing to "negotiate" for the best deal. You just have to walk around a bit and someone hopefully will offer an awesome deal. In addition, the Quarantine office is very close to the market for all those people taking their new souvenirs to New Zealand/Australia.

PHOTOS: Various shots of the market.

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