The Vietnamese market said to have survived the recent anti-migrant campaign

Just got two reports. First, about a prostitution and drugs bust there yesterday in one of Moscow’s advertising papers:—Ny2vsVztUYwaM/, which sort of implies the market is still there. Second, an eyewitness report it is business as usual. See Vietnamese market >> I’M ASKED ABUT IT REGULARLY AND WILL APPRECIATE AN UPDATE.

Speaking of toys

Moscow’s main toy market is Savelosvky (Metro Savelovskaya). Haunted by the question of where are Russian made toys I’ve inspected numerous toy kiosks today while waiting for my computer’s screen to be replaced. None. All China. The Koptevo Toy Factory in Moscow remains the only source I know of but they make board games and puzzles, not old-fashioned metal things. None of Soviet era mechanical sets, airplane models with rubber band or even tiny internal combustion engines, make-yourself electric motors, true-to-life copies of construction equipment and other toys that teach skills and core principles of mechanics and physics. I’m disappointed with what Savelovsky, probably the biggest toy market in Moscow, has to offer.

Food market in the Vietnamese ghetto

Looking for tofu, sprouts, Thai peppers, lemon grass, that huge delightfully stinky fruit the name of which escapes me at the moment (duradot?), soy milk, or rice vodka? For this and much more along the same lines, plus an experience in authenticity I recommend the Vietnamese market at No. 11 Семнадцатый проезд Марьиной рощи (Semnadtsaty proyezd Mar’yinoy roshi).

Here is an example of my first (February 3, 2010) catch there, when I found, on the third attempt, where the Vietnamese got exiled after the Cherkizovsky market pogrom.

A big bag of smelly bamboo for 90 roubles ($3US), bean sprouts for 40 roubles ($1.35) for a huge bag of the freshest stuff I’ve seen in this city, soybean paste for 70 roubles/pack, which is half of what it costs in a supermarket if at all available, parsley-like grass the name of which I don’t know, sea weed for sushi for 40 roubles/pack (usually sells for at least 100 elsewhere), a piece of exotic two foot long green pumpkin, small peppers that I haven’t seen from my Canada days and, of course, tofu. In the center of this bliss is a bottle of  rice vodka for 200 roubles. At this price it has to be smuggled.

The fact that I’m supporting  illegal activity is one extra source of joy for me.

The above prices are from 2010. Now, in the middle of 2012, they are a touch higher sometimes. Tofu is the same, 30 roubles for a large brick. Rice vodka is still 200 roubles although it does not seem to be as ultimately delicious as it was only a couple of years ago.

Not much has changed since then. Even the rise of prices has been minimal from that first visit till now, three years later, in January 2013.

Fellow vegetarians please be warned that tofu is kept in somewhat unappetizing environment. Animals seem to be killed right there too although I think it is done early in the morning.

Avocadoes are 30 roubles each ($1) at the Vietnamese market while elsewhere they generally sell for 60-70.

These went up to 50-60 roubles. – Jan. 2013

Finding the place may be a challenge. The nearest subway stop is Dmitrovskaya. My guess is that walking time is about 30 min. and that the appropriate Gypsy cab offering is 100 roubles (about $3.40 as of February 2010).

Soy milk at 30 roubles ($1) per bottle.

If in Moscow I can give you a tour of the place. Come to Metro Alexeyevskaya, where I’m normally based. From there it is a few minutes by car or, weather permitting, bike.

Jewish History Museum

Since a sizable % of travellers to Russia – at least those who entrust themselves to my care – are of Jewish descent I’m sharing the news with you about the recently opened “Museum of Jewish Culture and Tolerance”.

Ulitsa Obraztsova 11, building 1A
+ 7 495 645 0550

Open Sunday to Thur. 12 to 10pm, and Fridays 12 to 3pm. The closest metro station are Prospekt Mira, Rizhskaya, and Savelovskaya.  Still a longish walk.

Some of the museum’s sections: Jewish history in general, East European Shtetl, Jews in the Russian revolution, Jewish culture during the Soviet period, Holocaust, 1980s emigration wave.

Next door to the cultural center, synagogue, and two ultra-expensive Kosher restaurants at Vtoroy Vysheslavtsev Pereulok 5a and to the Kosher store at Trifonovskaya that may now be closing..

PS. Inspected Jan. 7 2013.  Fully trilingual: Russian, English, and Hebrew. Good balance between information density and usability.  Even I, a card-carrying techno-peasant, was not overwhelmed but the multimedia nature of the museum. The entry fee is 400 roubles but I was for some reason charged the “invalid” rate of 200, possibly thanks to a slight hangover, or my new froggy hat that, in solemn Russian culture, servers as a certificate of mild-to-medium insanity.  Since I was presented this thing on my 4Xth birthday the security people at airports stopped checking the content of my pockets, and bureaucrats became more patient than ever before. Traffic cops too have stopped stopping me.  Silliness as a a refuge may deserve a special short essay, possibly under the Survival category.


PPS. I would also remark on Museum’s suitability for children. The format is child-friendly except perhaps the abundance of images of dead bodies. Lots of space. Chairs. Cafe. Numerous workshops for children.  The exposition is also easy for someone with failing eyesight. A proper Jewish place in the good sense of the word.

Chinese food in Moscow

  • KITAYSKY KVARTAL, Prospekt Mira 12, Metro Sukarevskaya, east side of Prospekt Mira. Expensive and at the time of my visit, which was shortly after opening, it lacked many things that I though inseparable from the very idea of “Chinese”, eg. tofu. It did have proper iron woks however – a rarity in Moscow.
  • A long time ago (in about 2008) there was an outlet hidden in the depths of the wallpaper factory at Verkhnaya Krasnoselskaya 2/1 by Metro Krasnoselskaya. 

If you are looking for to-fu you best bet would be the Vietnamese market at Maryina Rosha. Fresh and real cheap, plus a lot more goodies. If in Moscow I can always give you a tour.