A fruitful trip

INA market is where an exotic variety of fruits is available — cherries from Australia, litchis from Thailand, blueberries from Latin America. Expats love this market

Ask a chef in the making where to buy fresh provisions in the Capital city and they are quick to name INA market as the go-to place for anyone who is looking for a wide variety for one’s kitchen experiments. “The top chefs and restaurants source their daily product from there”, says a designer chef who recently got herself the most elaborate cookery appliances to get her practice rolling.

Following this advice, we headed to INA market which is known for its fresh variety of fruits, vegetables, seafood and everything else you will need in your kitchen to cook up a gastronomical experience in the holiday season.

Easily accessible via Metro, the market is a cluster of small shops selling all kinds of edibles from kale to crabs. Customers stop by in their fancy cars to shop for the most exotic veggies and fruits available in the city. Across the road is Dilli Haat, and a short ride away is Sarojini Nagar market, making this area of south Delhi quite a hub of commerce.

As one steps into the market, fruit stalls catch the attention before anything else does, with its vibrant colours reflecting the natural light. Apples in three different varieties — Rs 150, 180 and 250. The darker the apple, the more expensive it is. While there is regular stuff like bananas and oranges, a selection of exotic fruits and berries is what makes this place a must-visit for anyone who is looking for a diverse fruit palette. Lush strawberries retail at Rs 120 per 200 gram encased in transparent plastic boxes have arrived from Nainital, Dehradun, the Kashmir Valley, Bangalore, Kalimpong and Mahabaleshwar, a major belt.

Blueberries priced at Rs 250 per 100 gram are imported from Chile, Peru and Netherlands, as marked on the different packaging at different shops. The variety of berry that requires a specific climate has North America as its biggest harvester. Whereas in Canada it accounts for about half of the total fruit production in the country, making it the second-largest harvester after the US.

As it’s Christmas time, the entire market is adorned with Christmas decoration, which is also sold at many shops around the market. The place is indeed a gala sight, with festive lights and trinkets that Christmas is all about.

As we stop by Golden fresh fruit shop, Subhash Chand is keen on introducing us all the exotic product available with him. Litchis from Thailand imported by Namdhari Thai Fresh. Anjeer from Karnataka. Thai melons at Rs 500 per kilo. Crimson Australian cherries at Rs 1,600 per kg. Plums in all their rich purple glory, full of antioxidants, your nutritionist has promised you.

Chand, who has been working at the shop over the last 30 years, started off at the nominal salary of Rs 600. The owner is busy gift-wrapping sets of fruits for their clients. Chand accosts every prospective customer that passes his stall, rattling off rates and the different varieties available in the shop. According to him, the market is particularly popular with expats living in the city as this is where they find the basic ingredients to prepare their cuisines.

On asked when the raspberries or gooseberries would arrive, he says that this is the right season for them but they rarely get picked up customers. “For those who like all fruits, it is difficult to decide which ones to purchase”, adds Chand, who begins helping a new customer who arrives at the shop.

Health benefits of fruits are unparalleled and a good variety of it on a daily basis makes for a balanced diet. These gifts of Nature provide our bodies with key vitamins, antioxidants and dietary fibre and can have significant benefits for heart health, digestion, weight management and skin health. And now you know where to get them.        

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