The personal touch of the Wet market is still the best option for shoppers

These days, with the countless openings of supermarkets, provision stores and other hyper marts, some people think that wet markets are filthy, dirty and smelly. Actually, this should not be a concern if you really care about eating quality, healthy food at reasonable and affordable prices.

Wet markets offer delicious, fresh ingredients straight from the farmer’s harvest while the supermarket has its packaged or processed food. For example, wet markets are the only places where you can get a live chicken. The chicken is slaughtered at the market, cut according to your preference and you can take it straight home to cook. Supermarkets have only unappetising frozen chickens inside their freezer on sale. Nothing beats the fresh poultry for your cooking.

Price is another reason why you should not visit the supermarket. It is true that some products are cheaper when they are given on special offer in supermarkets, but can you see that it is actually a trap for shoppers. The supermarkets offer a wide range of products from tissue paper to garlic all under one roof, they are giving the discounts on some items which can easily entice you into buying many other "expensive" or unnecessary things. In the end, you save very little money, or even pay more for what you have bargained for. It is the marketing strategy for the customers to buy more products.

At the wet market, you can go from stall to stall, check the freshness and touch the actual market produce. You can even haggle with the vendor and bargain for the best price. You can compare prices from different stalls and see the good quality. You are sure to get the best deal if you put in the effort to walk around the different stalls.

The customers and vendors at wet markets have a special bond between them, as they can even chat with each other like neighbours and friends. So, apart from lower prices, vendors offer you a lot of benefits that money cannot buy. They can make you feel at home in choosing what you really need because this relationship is non-existent between shoppers and supermarket staff.

Wet market stall-owners know a lot about different kinds of ingredients for cooking your next meal. If you are very friendly with them, they will even tell you which piece of meat is the juiciest and teach you what is the best way to cook it. The supermarket shop assistants are just get paid to work, so you cannot ask them about the best meal to prepare for which kind of meat and what ingredients to buy. You cannot build a personal relationship with them. They are not permanently be there to assist you as they might not even be there when you visit the supermarket the next time.

Supermarkets also sell imported stuff that wet markets don't have. If you would want to make a fancy dinner tonight like a delicious, mouth-watering steak for a family gathering. For a meal like that, you will need to find a finely-butchered porterhouse beef imported from overseas in the supermarkets. In wet markets, you can only find local beef chopped up and hung on hooks for everyone to see. One can try searching for the same imported steak in wet markets, but that would probably take so much time and efforts.

If you want to make a stir-fry, supermarkets have the same local beef you get in wet markets - minced, striped or diced, you name it. For a few bucks more, you can get the beef in a more ready-to-cook form. The good thing about wet market, the butcher will do the cut you like for the meat. He will slice and dice it in front of you, showing the skills of how to cut the fresh meat for your cooking. The fresh meats will be prepared by the skilled butcher according to your required cut. It is a delight to watch how they cut the meats and poultry.

After getting all your meat, vegetables, sea foods and other fish balls from the wet market, as you will be preparing for the hot pot for your friends and family, you still would need to buy the drinks - the big, 2.5-litre bottles of soda. Well, there is only one place that can provide you this and it is the supermarket!