Chemnitz, formerly known as Karl-Marx-Stadt, is one of the larger cities in Saxony / Germany with a bit more than 200k inhabitants. As quite a few cities in Eastern Germany the population has declined after the re-unification in 1990, as employment opportunities became more limited. Still the city centre does not look poor as many buildings have been renovated. A clean and neat city. And in the pedestrian zone there is a market place with maybe a couple dozen stands.
I would consider it a typical market for a provincial city, still it has some own accents as well, mainly about regional products. The typical market consists of stands for flowers, fruit, vegetable, cheese, meat, sausages, bakery and … a Bratwurst stand. We are in Germany aren’t we?. There is usually always a stand with Mediterranean specialities mainly antipasti type of products like olives, dried tomatoes etc.
So no surprise?
Some stands were managed by Vietnamese, which is not common in West Germany. But during the socialist times, there was a small Vietnamese population working in a variety of factories. Some of them remained after the fall of the Wall.
There were a couple stands with Hungarian specialties. A friend of mine had a nice hypothesis for that: after the war when West Germans could afford vacation, Italy became a popular destination, and West Germans wanted to savor their vacation memories back home as well, and therefore Italian food made its inroads there. East Germans had their mass tourism in socialist countries and Hungary was a popular destination. And of course people wanted to savor their memories as well. This sounds like a good story, maybe it is even true.
The other surprises were the local/regional products there: linseed oil which seems to be part of the Saxon cuisine, e.g. on top of cooked potatoes. Linseed oil has a slight diarrhea effect, but the vendor insisted that the effect should be called stomach hygienic.
There were lots of different pickles: cucumbers, cauliflower, peppers etc. all nicely put together.
Furthermore there was a stand with products from water buffalo as we know them from Asia. There are only a few breeders in Germany and luckily I could see the end result. I tasted the water buffalo yogurt, it had kind of a taste of game, not something for the sensitive tongue, but I enjoyed the strong taste.
A nice little highlight was a Bratwurst stand which had a charcoal barbecue! It is really hard to find charcoal grills on German markets, but this one went even a step further and had it on a bike! A mobile barbecue, cool. According to the vendor it was economically successful. And I was not the first one who took a picture of this stand …
All in all: a typical mid town market with some nice surprises like the charcoal barbecue on a bike and some nice regional products.
A little link list: