Market visits are always fun and exciting, so after the Police Bazaar food tour, we were keen to check out the food scenario at Lewduh market in Shillong. Pronounced as “yoh doh”, it is one of the oldest and largest wholesale markets in the city where one can find fresh stocks of vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, spices and other food items. Majority of the fresh stocks are supplied by the local farmers. The place also has a section for handicrafts made by the local artisans. This sprawling marketplace is full of narrow alleys leading up and down, that look the same to the unfamiliar eyes.
We reached here early in the morning with our host Lynti, just when the market was opened for business. Soon the shops and stalls appeared to be spilling over and the congested alleys were full of vendors, porters and customers. We were thrilled to discover what the locals ate on a daily basis.
We started our food tour by purchasing various kinds of rice cakes from a roadside vendor. Home made rice cakes are the most popular khasi breakfast snacks that are mostly consumed with tea. They are a wholesome and convenient source of energy for the industrious populace out here. The ones that we bought included the Pusaw, Pumaloi and the Pukhlein. Pusaw or plain steamed sticky rice cake was bland in taste and is supposed to be eaten with tea or milk. The Pumaloi or steamed red rice cake was bland as well. But both tasted good with sweet tea. The Pukhlein which was a deep fried rice flour and jaggery based snacks, was quite delicious. It had a sharp flavour of the mustard oil in which it was fried.
Another popular stuff that local people preferred for breakfast was flattened rice soaked in tea. We have eaten it with many things like milk or curd but never with tea. It satiates the craving for tea and fills up your tummy.
We also visited one of the oldest Jadoh shops in the market. It was bustling with people enjoying Jadoh and other traditional Khasi dishes. After ambling up and down the narrow lanes lined with shops and stalls in the different sections of the market we finally arrived at the center of Lewduh that houses the largest vegetable market of the region. The sight was no less than a marvel. Wherever your eyes went, you can see different kinds of vegetables that came from local farms. They were all fresh and colourful.
One of the most notable things about this market was that most of the traders here were women. Attired in their simple traditional outfits, they can be seen chatting, laughing, chewing kwai and selling their fares.