one of the best ways to absorb the essence of any city is to walk through its markets, where farm-fresh produce and hot food prepared a la minute complement conversations and encounters with locals. here are six food bazaars that beg to be bookmarked as must-visits.
known as the ‘20-minute city’ for its easy accessibility, adelaide’s list of landmarks is led by central market, the epicentre of the south australian capital since market gardeners first plied their harvests in a spot between gouger and grote street in 1869. except for hay, you can buy the same produce offered by those early vendors – vegetables, fruits, seafood, game meats – and of course the variety has grown tremendously over the years to include specialty providores with arrays of cheeses, nuts and gourmet cooking ingredients. on fridays, the market takes on a festive mood with cooking demonstrations and live music performances.
44-60 gouger street, adelaide, south australia opens 7am-5.30pm, tuesday; 9am-5.30pm, wednesday & thursday; 7am-9pm, friday; 7am-3pm, saturday; closed sunday & monday http://www.adelaidecentralmarket.com.au/
what started as a travelling open-air market by the gates of the old city in the 13th century is now one of barcelona’s biggest attractions: mercat st josep de la boquiera, named the best market in the world at the world markets congress 2005. walk through the steel arch marking the entrance and into the shade provided by the metal roof, built in 1914, where more than 100 stalls display a myriad fresh ingredients popularly used in spanish or catalan cuisine. there are pork of all cuts and cures; chillies and bold spices; anchovies and various fresh catches; emu, ostrich and poultry eggs; mushrooms for every dish conceivable. the market also hosts food-related events and activities at its culinary classroom.
rambla, 91, barcelona, spain opens 8am-3pm, tuesday-thursday; 8am-5pm, friday & saturday; closed monday http://www.boqueria.info/
amsterdam’s many gorgeous canals are the perfect settings for a waterside picnic on a crisp spring afternoon but before you pick your spot, fill your baskets with nibbles from the city’s biggest and busiest open-air market, on albert cuyp street. it was officially established as a market in 1905 but vendors had found their way here much earlier. today, close to 300 stalls present a smorgasbord of fresh and cooked food along with arts and crafts, clothes and fashion accessories. the perfect picnic snack to load up on is stroopwafel, a local favourite that sandwiches a layer of caramel between two pieces of thin, crispy waffles. at this market, they are baked on the spot upon order so when you bite through the lattice biscuit, the piping hot syrup practically oozes out.
albert cuypstraat, amsterdam, the netherlands opens 9am-5pm, monday-saturday www.albertcuypmarkt.nl
in its heyday, broadway in los angeles was the hub of all things glitzy and glamorous. the stars have since shifted their focus to hollywood but downtown’s grand central market has remained in the spotlight as a hub for fresh and cooked food that’s as diverse as the population. opened in 1917, it supports over 90 vendors within its 2,790 square metres arcade. many of the traditional stalls have stayed on and are now joined by a slew of up and coming chefs. you can practically eat your way around the world here, from asian noodles to mexican mole.
317 south broadway, los angeles, california, usa opens 8am-6pm, sunday-wednesday; 8am-9pm, thursday-saturday www.grandcentralmarket.com
fishing for the future
tokyo’s tsukiji is not the only market where you can witness a raucous tuna auction; at the sydney fish market, wholesale auctions take place every week day morning, and visitors need to register for their behind the scenes tour to experience the lively event. this largest seafood market in the southern hemisphere – and the third largest in the world in terms of variety, after tsukiji and mexico’s la nueva viga – sells over 14,500 tonnes of seafood each year. besides retailers, there are cafes and restaurants that will dish up your seafood picks for you to enjoy on the outdoor terrace, looking out to blackwhattle bay.
bank street pyrmont, sydney, australia opens 7am-4pm, monday-thursday; 7am-5pm, friday-sunday behind the scenes tour 6.40am every monday, wednesday, thursday & fridaywww.sydneyfishmarket.com.au
a heady cocktail of chatter, aromas and colours wafts through the gage, graham and peel streets in hong kong’s central area, where the city’s oldest wet market has been holding fort for over 170 years. flanking the narrow, uphill walkway and shaded by tarpaulin canopies are stalls peddling seafood in live tanks, slabs of meats, baskets of vegetables and flowers, tables laden with fruits and boxes of dried or pickled goods. the food stalls are mostly concentrated along graham street, whereas peel street sells a motley selection of other goods at quaint kiosks enclosed by the recognisable dark green metal sheets. it’s always crowded so you can expect to be jostled by harried shoppers – all part of hong kong’s charm, really.
gage street/graham street/peel street, central, hong kong opens most stalls open by 7am each day