He was calling out the crowd in Sidon’s ancient souk: ” Albak abyad ya aswad!” “Albak abyad ya aswad!”
Eggplant is called betenjane in Arabic but in Lebanese it goes by aswad, which is black in Arabic. The rhyme can be translated into the following:
Your heart is white O black!
Meaning: Your pulp is white and has no seeds and you are delicious to eat.
It is also a play on a common expression in Arabic; when someone says “my heart is white”, it means I have no sin, I have good intentions, I am pure. The merchant was saying of his eggplant “you have a pure heart”, you are a great one!
Eggplant’s price is listed on the white sheet of paper: 1000L.L per kilo or 30 cents a pound.