In addition to traditional Pennsylvania Dutch country specialities, the Reading Terminal Market also offers an abundance of ethnic foods. Wander down one aisle in this market, and you can find yourself nibbling on Greek souvlaki or Middle Eastern falafel and baba ghanoush.
Another may reveal exotic spices, Japanese sushi, Peking duck, Portuguese chorizo, mesquite-cooked brochettes, or a recipe and all the makings for Lobster Paella.
Roger Bassett, representing the fifth generation of the Bassett family of ice cream makers, scoops out various flavors at the stand of L.D. Bassett - a fixture in the market since 1894. One of Roger's ancestors sold tomato-flavored ice cream from his back yard. Since then they've added lots of new flavors.
Fish of many kinds are plentiful here, and the fish stands along with some of the produce stalls are run by efficient Koreans who set up handsome displays.
Yong Ro and two of her sons are among the 12 family members who operate Ro's Produce. They have blackberries and raspberries, snow peas and snap peas, and many kinds of greens and beans. John Yi's Fish Market next door has shad and sturgeon, carp, tuna, black bass, and other fresh fish.
Henry Gages of Apple Valley Farm sells his own produce. It includes a vast array of ``old world'' German meats and sausages such as fresh bratwurst, knackwurst, bockwurst, liver pudding, salamis, and German frankfurters - very different from American hot dogs. There's also speckblutwurst, jagwurst, and cervalet, a French sausage.
The choice of special hams includes Westphalian, Black Forest, and Jamestown, Va., hams. And for the purists there's homemade horseradish to give the authentic touch to these special meats. In summer, Mr. Gages has white peaches, squash, green, yellow and purple string beans and other quality vegetables.
There are about 10,000 shoppers a day for the 70 or more businesses at the market. At noon there are probably 5,000 or more people who come by for lunch and snacks.
New for the lunch bunch is the Down Home Diner where you can find an eclectic mixture of dishes such as avocado and feta cheese sandwiches with homemade mayonnaise; angel hair pasta with scallops, meat loaf, cornbreaded catfish, dirty rice, and Apple Betty.