Saturday, August 24, 2013

This Takes Fresh Chicken To A Whole New Level

Our plan was to go to Hoboken.  New Jersey.

I love saying Hoboken.  Hoboken.  Hoboken.  HObOken.  Hobokenhobokenhoboken.  It's fun.

Anyway, on our way to Hoboken, we rode down Bergenline Avenue in Union City.  And that's where I saw something I'd never in my life seen - a live poultry market.

Live poultry.
As in, birds in cages. 

Birds that are alive.

In all of my travels, to every state in the nation and all but two territories in Canada, I have never seen a live poultry market.  It was kinda cool.

The neighborhood is primarily Spanish speaking.  We spoke to a shop owner who was Puerto Rican and she said in the neighborhood was very culturally diverse - there are Puerto Ricans, Guatemalans, Columbians, Hondurans, Cubans, Venezuelans and even a few Filipinos.  Wikipedia provides some good information on the immigration to the city.

We talked a little about the live poultry market and a few other things.  I bought a few sodas for Ed and I and a small bottle of Malta India for later.  I asked the shopkeeper if it was beer because of the word malt on the label.  She said no.  I asked her what it tasted like.  She said it was hard to describe.  I asked her if it was gross.  She said no, that she liked it.  She was very nice, but not very helpful.  I found out more about it from
this guy.

I'm pretty sure since it's got a flavor
similar to beer I'll probably hate it.  But I'll try it.

Back to the birds...
In the shop, I used my best Spanish to ask if I can take "una foto".  The guy at the counter directed me to the guy sitting by the front door, because he was el jefe (the boss).  Again I asked my question.  Sadly, "no" is the same in both English and Spanish. 

I didn't want to ignore him and snap away, but I was really disappointed I couldn't get more pictures while inside the shop.  Before I left I turned and snapped a shot of the caged chickens.  I was on a public sidewalk, what could he say?

As we biked away, I couldn't stop talking about the fact that I had just seen a shop that sold live chickens.  And about how the shop smelled like well, a chicken coop.  And about the sound of them, as if they were talking to each other cage to cage, like prisoners do cell to cell.  It was kind of weird.

I know people all over the world get their food this way but it just seemed odd to walk past a shop in urban New Jersey and see live chickens.  I don't think I'm ready to choose my chicken, watch it get yanked out of the cage and weighed in my presence - feathers and all - and then take him home wrapped in butcher paper. 

I saw fat white chickens with fluffy feathers, thinner red feathered ones, and even some beautiful Guinea hens.  I did manage to ask what the difference was between the white and red hens - apparently, the red feathered hens are older.  Perhaps that means the white, younger ones are more tender.

I had soooo many questions but Google Translate was only going to go so far, so I might have to make a second trip next time we're in the area. 

If you want to visit, you can find them at:

Western Live Poultry Market
907 Bergenline Avenue
Union City, NJ  07087

And if you need a good chicken recipe, check out one of mine.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Exemplary Exemplar Prints
2011: Hurricane? What Hurricane?
2010: The Summer Of 1947
2009: From Pablo Neruda To Mother Goose
2008: Almost Two Beautiful To Eat On
2007: Sweatin’ Eddie Friday
2006: Steel City Glow
2005: Bravo, Bravo


Gil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gil said...

The live chicken market that I remember the best was in Hartford, CT owned and operated by a little old Italian gentleman. He refused to sell his corner lot and building to Travelers Insurance Company and they built a skyscraper around his little one or two story building. They used to be popular before our time with Italians, Jewish people and others.

Anonymous said...

No thanks. I will take my chicken in a package that has Tyson or Foster Farms on the outside. Ready to be cooked.

M.T. in Missouri