The best thing about travelling for me is experiencing new and different cultures. My favourite way to do this is through the local food culture. Restaurants and cafes give you the opportunity to try the local cuisine but visiting the food and produce markets help you discover the beating pulse of a place.
I hope you enjoy this list of my favourite produce markets around the world and my tips on how to enjoy them. I have also included my to visit market list. As is so often the case, my stomach is driving my travels!
Favourite world food markets
Borough Market, London, UK
Borough Market is often the first stop for foodies visiting London. I like to call it ‘Kangaroo Food Court’ due to the large number of Australians milling about the place. Celebrating an almost 800 years of operation the market is home to over 100 fresh produce, butcher, charcuterie and cheese stalls. You will also find cafes and restaurants and ready to eat food stalls of any cuisine you can think of .
The market is open every day except Sunday. The full market runs Wednesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm with earlier opening hours on Saturdays.
Tips for visiting Borough Market
– visit early especially if you don’t like crowds or are travelling with small children as the market is heaving with visitors by lunchtime (especially on weekends)
– I cannot get enough of the mushroom pâté from Pâté Moi
– on sunny days you can picnic in the grounds of Southwark Cathedral behind the market
More London markets
Vevey farmer’s market, Switzerland
Every Tuesday and Saturday on the shimmering banks of Lake Geneva you will find a lovely Swiss produce market in the pretty town of Vevey. A wonderful blog post by acclaimed chef and author David Lebovitz meant we made a little detour to this market. It was well worth the effort. Even in mid winter the produce was outstanding and the stall holders eager to share their knowledge of their local offerings. There was an abundance of mushrooms, charcuterie and of course the local cheeses.
Location and operating hours
The market is open Tuesday and Saturday mornings in the Grande Place, Vevey.
Tips for visiting Vevey farmers market
– get there early unless you don’t mind missing out on the best produce
– you must try the cheese varieties from the local Vaud region such as Etivaz and Maréchal
Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid, Spain
This market in central Madrid has special significance for me. Apart from being a wonderful place to discover Spanish produce and food, I watched Spain win the 2010 World Cup under its roof. That was quite a special moment made even more memorable by the amazing local delicacies. The market is found in an early 20th century building that has been beautifully restored. You can try food from across Spain including delicious jamon, pastries and of course paella.
Operating hours and location
Mercado de San Miguel is located in the Plaza de San Miguel, Madrid and is open every day from 10am until at least midnight. How civilised!
Tips for visiting the Mercado de San Miguel
– go when you are hungry!
– choose a glass of wine and sample the delicious tapas
– make sure you visit the croquetas stall – my favourite
Taling Chan floating market, Bangkok, Thailand
Floating markets are common in Thailand and have become major tourist destinations in their own right. This is for good reason as they are colourful and noisy and full of the sights and smells that remind you of South East Asia. We visited one of the smaller markets – Taling Chan – around 10 km outside of Bangkok. Here you can watch the locals choose their chillis and limes from longboats in the canals. This is more of a market for the locals and it is fascinating to watch their busy lives on the canals. Stay for lunch and feast on the local seafood.
Operating hours and location
You will need your own transport or taxi to reach Taling Chan. The address is 300 Chak Phra 17 Alley, Khlong Chak Phra, Taling Chan. The market is open from 8am to 5pm on weekeends.
Tips for visiting the Taling Chan floating market
– visit early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day
– the market is cash only
– treat yourself to foot massage!
More floating markets near Bangkok
If you want to visit a more busy and bustling market try Damnoen Saduak Floating Market or Amphawa Floating Market both just outside of Bangkok city.
Marché Raspail, Paris, France
A trip to Paris is not complete without a visit to one of its fabulous markets. Daily food shopping is way of life in France and it is a point of pride to look for the freshest most choice ingredients. At the Sunday organic or biologique market in the 6th Arrondissement known as Marché Raspail, you can find the best local organic produce alongside treats such as custard filled canelés and of course cheese.
Operating hours and location
Find Marché Raspail on Boulevard Raspail, Metro – Rennes. The organic market runs 8am – 2pm on Sundays.
Tips for visiting Marché Raspail
– you must taste the poulet roti or roast chicken – amazing!
– embrace seasonal produce – it always tastes better, even in winter
– the British bakery has wonderful scones
More markets in Paris
Check this listing to find markets close to where you are staying. I like Marché Aligre (12th) and St Quentin (10th).
Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne, Australia
When we lived in Melbourne we had a weekend ritual of going to the Queen Victoria Market early and having a coffee and croissant while we planned our menus for the week. Visiting our favourite butcher or fishmonger and of course the french cheese shop in the deli hall were an important part of our Saturday morning routine. The ‘Queen Vic’ as the market known, is one of the biggest I have visited anywhere in the world.
The market is home to ten fishmongers and double the number of fruit and vegetable and meat suppliers. You can buy food items from any corner of the globe you can imagine. Located in the central business district, the market should be top of any visitor to Melbourne‘s list of must dos.
Queen Vic Market is open each day except Mondays and Wednesdays. The market has varied opening times so it is best to check their website for further details and information on special events such as the fabulous seasonal night markets.
Tips for visiting the Queen Victoria Market
– grab a coffee at Padre or Market Lane and wander the stalls tasting samples and checking for bargains
– make sure you try a hot jam doughnut from the American Doughnut van at the top end of the organic section
– discover local butter and delicious goats cheese at Curds and Whey in the deli hall
More Melbourne markets
Melbourne boasts many fabulous produce markets. Gourmets will love the Prahran and South Melbourne Markets. For fresh seafood at bargain prices you cannot beat the bustling Springvale Market. Visit the Collingwood Children’s Farm monthly farmers market for local goats cheese, olives and caviar.
Other world markets I have enjoyed
La Boqueria – Barcelona, Spain
Hoi An market – Hoi An, Vietnam
Union Square Green Market – New York, USA
Arles market – Arles, France
Torvehallerne and Copenhagen Street Food (Paper Island) – Copenhagen, Denmark
Rialto Market – Venice, Italy
Markets I want to visit
Tsukiji Fish Market – Tokyo, Japan
Bali Pazari – Istanbul, Turkey
Campo de’ Fiori – Rome, Italy
Darajani Market – Zanzibar, Tanzania
Pike Place Market – Seattle, USA
Mercado Central – Santiago, Chile
I can’t wait to add to this list and am looking for recommendations!
Where are your favourite food markets?
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