A right pig’s ear of a photo

We went to the fruit and vegetable market at Piata Obor on Saturday as part of a renewed family drive to ensure we buy as much local (as in Romanian) produce as possible. Besides buying some fabulous potatoes (one leu a kilo), apples, parsnips, parsley, tomatoes, pears and some asparagus from, ahem, Peru, we also bought some pork from one of the many butchers in the main hala. Like the fruit and veg at Obor, the pork is almost half the price of what you pay in the supermarkets, and tastes infinitely better.

Anyway, while walking around we couldn’t help noticing a few more unusual treats for sale, from intestines and stomachs to pigs’ ears, a delicacy we just couldn’t help immortalising with a photo:

Piata Obor Bucharest Pigs Ears

And that was when the trouble started.

We are well aware that a certain American photographer who regularly comments on these pages often gets himself into all sorts of scrapes when trying to take photos in Bucharest in crowded places like markets. Yet until yesterday we had never had any problems (the Bucharest metro excepted). We try to be as discrete as possible, and avoid taking photos where we know such things are frowned upon (supermarkets, malls). Yet a market is a public space, and taking photos should not be an issue. At Obor on Saturday, it was.

No sooner had we taken the photo of the pigs’ ears than we were set upon by almost all the staff working at the butcher’s in question, and the one next to it. ‘He’s taking photos! He’s taking photos!’ they shouted, summoning the security guards. We played the dumb tourist and quickly walked away.

We can only assume that the traders in question are on the dodge and their staff illegally employed. Why else would they object to a photo being taken of their produce?

Answers on the usual postcard please.

  • Mr Rearguard

    @Craig. Oh look…the invincibles lost again!!! I though you said it would be all over by Christmas??? Mind Controlled much?

  • Paco

    The answer to your final question is quite simple: de prosti 🙂

  • Ethan

    A few years ago I was with a camera crew in Piata Amzei and the vendors intervened because they thought our camera was taking x- ray images of the produce to see what was inside. We gave them a demo of the gear to reassure them and they let us film.

  • I don’t know why they do this, the first time I came to Bucharest I tried to take a picture to show my friends just how fresh and colorful this market was in summer, and I ended up being escorted outside by a security guard! Good way to promote tourism: (

  • Roger

    Some people just don’t like having their photo taken or a camera shoved in their face ‘Davin esc’ style. This could be a reason amongst others, can’t see a problem myself as long as you weren’t taking photo’s of people, and only produce. I take it the pigs ears are as in the UK and a treat for dogs?

    • Far too good for dogs. You chop them into thin strips and fry them in duck fat. A healthy snack for the kids.

      • Roger

        Culture differences as like the bird seed which seems very popular too! Anyway sounds like a nice snack and probably one of many reasons why on the whole, the younger generation in Romania are far more pleasant than the majority of the British!

        • Totally agree with you ,Roger .How could I not after reading all comments here ?

          • Roger

            @simona thank you and Merry Christmas 🙂

    • Dermitius

      What makes it acceptable to feed a more intelligent animal like a pig to a more stupid animal like a dog? Indeed, since we don’t acknowledge a general right to take one life even in order to save another, why do we make exceptions entailing widespread torture and slaughter of other sentient beings merely to allow us to grow ‘big and strong’, as my parents used to say? Do we have anything better to offer than the ditty that Gandhi learned when young?

      Behold the mighty Englishman
      he rules the Indian small
      because, being a meat-eater
      he is six cubits tall!

      • Roger

        Dermitius how do you come to the conclusion that pigs are more intelligent than dogs? Not that it has anything to do with dogs eating pigs ears as a treat. There is a natural food chain, so I can’t see a problem in what creature eats food once it is dead and prepared to eat.

        • Dermitius

          Ever read Animal Farm? George Orwell was onto something when he put the pigs in charge, or at least so various scientists in Cambridge and Bristol think! As for there being a natural food chain, what is the significance of that? Just because something occurs in nature doesn’t make it good or something to emulate. The most disgusting human parasites are only acting according to their nature but we try to exterminate them nonetheless. People think they have moved beyond religion but they have just replaced it with an unthinking worship of nature or the way things are. The natural world or ‘The Environment’ is a modern surrogate for the Garden of Eden, something which would be just marvellous if only people didn’t mess it up! People ought to read more Schopenhauer. What people celebrate today as the circle of life or the natural food chain is the very thing which made him say that life is something which ‘should not have been’. He certainly didn’t confuse the way things are with the way they ought to be. Anyway, I wasn’t complaining about animals eating something once it was dead, nor was I complaining about killing as such since some killing is justified such as killing in self-defence. What I was asking for was a principle which allows us to kill some sentient beings to benefit others when no issues of self-defence or necessity are involved which could not also be invoked by a headhunter or cannibal to justify his dietary preferences as well.

      • anon

        They are not feeding the entire animal to the dog, only pieces of it which people don’t usually like to eat.
        Now if you’re talking about feeding a pig to a less intelligent animal like Roger, then maybe you have a point…

        • Roger

          @anon is there really any need for your immature abuse on a previously unblemished thread.

          • Crae

            Oh yes there is 😉

          • Roger

            Oh no there isn’t 😉

          • C.B.

            Anon, a chewable but not meant for consumption creature. Let him be, that is punishment enough.