A Cebuana globe trotter , gourmand and chef following her…
I have always been in love with the sights and sounds of the local market. From fresh farm vegetable produce to fresh meats, poultry and fish, it is a crucial reminder that trading and commerce sprung forth from the creation of the market. I remember my Civics and Societies Class teacher back in Grade 5 asked the class which area in a society propels civilization. Admittedly, most of us failed on her question as we failed to realize the basics. Then she rephrased the question and asked where in a society can we find all the buzz at once. And one of my clever classmates said, well, its in the market. And then, I realized, he was right.
So what does Tabo sa Banay mean? Well, for Cebuanos like me, Tabo translates to gathering and Banay means either a household / race / family. So basically, it is more of like a family gathering with their products to showcase. In Cebu, Tabo Sa Banay is a collective of shops and stalls that showcase anything from clothes to house ware to anything that catches your fancy in an affordable manner.
Moving to Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk back in 2019, I noticed that we have our own version of the marketplace or Tabo sa Banay. For most people, the marketplace is an area where families, friends, acquaintances and colleagues converge and make their way. Pre-Pandemic times, the normal quiet parking lot of the town center is converted into a lively, bustling and dynamic market with stalls that sell not only fresh market produce, but also, other household items that may catch your interest. It is at the market that we can find other quirky and eccentric stuff like gemstones, precious rocks and incense sticks! Also, you will find a lot of gardening and pet stuff as well. It is a good mix of essentials to non-essentials but still, it harmoniously mingled to give you an unforgettable experience as a whole.
A Glimpse in the Past
Not only is the provision market in Bury St Edmunds one of the most successful traditional street markets in the country today, it also has one of the longest and most colourful histories. It dates back to before the days of William the Conqueror, but surviving written records provide the history shown below. At various times the Market has been split into several sections, including provisions, a corn market, a livestock market and a fish market. In 1997 there remains a separate livestock market which takes place on Wednesdays between Parkway and St Andrews Street (South) and a wholesale corn market which is also held on Wednesdays in the Corn Exchange. The provision market occurs on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the Cornhill and the Buttermarket area of the town. This has grown to where it now has over 80 stalls with 1600 feet of stall frontages on a Saturday and only slightly less on Wednesdays.
Read more of its lengthy and colorful history, HERE
After a day’s stroll in the market, and buying what I need from the locals, it seemed that I have immersed myself in the culture and added my imprint in the place. It may not be as big as Cambridge or even London, but Bury St Edmunds market still holds that charm and vibe that you will definitely want to come back over and over.
Here are some of my beloved pictures captured by my Samsung Note 20 Ultra 5G and Samsung Note 10 Plus 5G mobile phones. Not filtered. Hope you enjoy! 🙂