We were in the middle of the most ginormous wholesale mall on the planet in Yiwu, China. Or at least that’s what it felt like. Having walked a good 12 kilometers so far that day, with a bum foot, I was relaxing on a bench while our managers were scouring stores for more stuff we needed to buy for the restaurants. And along comes this vendor, pushing a cart down the hallway on the fourth floor of the building!
He stopped a few feet away from me and started peeling something as several customers came up and bought little bags filled with small little fruit or vegetables. On closer inspection, it turned out to be freshly harvested water chestnuts.
He would peel the water chestnuts so that customers wouldn’t have to bother with that task once they got home and prepared their dinner. Some folks popped a few chestnuts into their mouth like you might do with peanuts, though these were significantly bigger! And hadn’t been rinsed after they were peeled. :(
The peeler was a bit intimidating, much bigger than a standard western kitchen peeler, but it seemed to do the job well. I was worried that he would shave off part of his finger as he made quick work of the peeling, while smoking a cigarette, no less.
He didn’t speak a word of English so I couldn’t ask how much the water chestnuts were, nor what people tended to cook with them, but it was a nice diversion to watch him for a few minutes while I tried to give my feet a rest. :)