One of the best ways to experience a country’s culture is to share in the way its people connect with food. Across the world, fresh food markets play a vital role in building community engagement, social awareness and economic growth.
Here are five of the best markets in the world that everyone should experience.
1. La Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona’s La Boqueria is one of Europe’s largest and most famous food markets. Boasting a world of food, it’s a shopping hot spot for tourists and locals alike. Here you can feast on tasty morsels and down glasses of white wine, all while you browse to your heart’s content. Discover stalls filled to the brim with juicy fruit, fresh vegetables, crusty bread and assorted animal bits, from cows’ eyeballs and sheeps’ hearts to fully-skinned sheep. Open 8am to 8.30pm.
2. Borough Market, London, UK
London’s Borough Market is housed in a stunning green building with open sides. Inside you will find the who’s who of the city’s best organic local suppliers and traders, selling seasonal fruit, vegetables, sweet pastries, hot pies, fresh punch and strong coffee. Go early to avoid the crush of tourists. Open 10am to 5pm weekdays, 8am to 5pm Saturdays and closed Sundays.
Nearby: The George Inn, one of London’s oldest pubs
3. Cai Rang Floating Market, Vietnam
Cai Rang’s floating wholesale market in the Mekong Delta is a top item on the Vietnam must-see list. Here, hundreds of brightly coloured boats are laden with a huge array of produce, from fruit and vegetables to flowers. Sellers advertise their wares from the top of a long pole attached to their boat. The market starts at 5am and finishes by midday, so get there early.
Nearby: A little bridge from which to take stunning snapshots of the floating market
4. Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo, Japan
You’ll want to be a big fan of fish to visit this pungent market in Tokyo. The Tsukiji Fish Market is the largest and busiest of its kind in the world. It works on a first come, first served basis, admitting 120 people at a time. Public access is restricted or banned altogether on some days, so you’ll need check before you go. If you do get in, don’t miss a sushi breakfast. The live tuna auctions are also something to behold. Open 4.30am to 9am.
Nearby: Hamarikyu Gardens
5. Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne, Australia
After 130 years, our very own Queen Vic Market still attracts a plethora of visitors – both local and international. Have your pick of all the fresh produce you can imagine, from juicy prawns and grapes to organic chicken and well-ripened avocados. Visit with the family on Sundays to access both the food market and the ever-popular Sunday market under the historic shed. After filling your reusable green bags with shopping, treat yourself with a hot jam doughnut or some Spanish churros from the food trucks outside. Open 6am to 2pm Tuesday and Wednesday, 5pm Friday, 3pm Saturday and 9am to 4pm Sunday. Closed Monday.
Nearby: Elizabeth Street’s many bustling restaurants and shops