Top 5 Food Markets
Before the days of “super” markets, people all over the world bought their food from local producers gathered together in a collection of dismountable stalls. Some operated daily in dedicated halls, others weekly, often in the town square, place or piazza. In large cities these markets grew into warrens of cobbled streets that were almost a village in their own right. Today we buy food from all over the world, in soulless shopping centres or online from our home or office … but thankfully local markets are alive and well and enjoying a resurgence. Residents flock to them, especially on weekends, and they provide a wonderful insight into local produce for the traveller. Here are five I’ve particularly enjoyed visiting.
Borough Market London, UK
London’s oldest market has been just south of London Bridge for more than 1,000 years. Over 100 stalls, shops and cafés, some run by producers, others by merchants stocking local and imported artisanal produce, sell meat, seafood, bread, cheese, fruit & veg and more. Don’t miss Neal’s Yard Dairy.
Grand Bazaar Tehran, Iran
Tehran’s largest market has grown over hundreds of years to today’s mini-city with over 10km of covered streets dedicated to all sorts of comestibles plus jewellery, metalwork, carpets and modern goods. Its shops piled high with spices, olives, nuts, dried fruits and sweets are especially mesmerising.
The Neighbourgoods Market Cape Town, South Africa
An old biscuit mill houses Cape Town’s Saturday food market, with over 100 stalls manned by local farmers, bakers, grocers, fishmongers, butchers, and cooks offering food from South Africa’s diverse cultures. Seating spills outside, where clothes, furniture and other handicrafts complete the offering.
St Lawrence Market Toronto, Canada
Toronto’s 200 year-old market, in the old cobbled distillery district, houses permanent stalls of wonderful local fruit & veg, meat, and seafood, alongside delicatessens and cafes. On Saturdays, Ontario farmers sell their seasonal produce and on Sundays there’s an antique market.
Salamanca Market Hobart, Australia
No trip to Hobart is complete without a Saturday morning browsing the stalls in Salamanca Place beside the historic waterfront. Along with delicious local fruit, vegetables, cheese and sweets, there’s a great range of handicrafts, jewellery and clothes and some very entertaining buskers.