Try British fruit and veg at Borough Market

Whether you’re a foodie or just looking to try new things, food markets are a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and cuisine. From purveyors of mouth-watering tarts to silken homemade pasta, we round up the top five food markets from around the world.

Borough Market, London

Take a stroll along the dynamic south embankment of River Thames near London Bridge to let your hunger build before heading south to the open-air Borough Market, as you’ll certainly be in need of a healthy appetite. Located in a food-focused corner of Southwark, Borough Market effectively captures the city’s burgeoning love of food and offers an array of traditional British and international foods to sample. From Thursdays to Saturdays, sip on freshly pressed cider, crunch on spicy smoked almonds or give in to your sweet tooth and try moist and moreish brownies. With a friendly and warm atmosphere, you’ll feel right at home as sellers proudly encourage you to taste their products and invite you to learn about the history of their stand and the processes involved in delivering their produce from the field to the table.

Tip: If you wish to avoid the large crowds, visit on Thursday or Friday – but avoid lunchtime (12-2pm) as the market will be swelled by office workers in search of a quick bite to eat.

Opening times: Thurs 11am-5pm, Fri noon-6pm, Sat 8am-5pm.

Chatuchak MarketBrowse the 5,000 stalls at Chatuchak Market
Creative Commons / Daniel Shen

Chatuchak Market, Bangkok

It’s no wonder the world’s largest weekend market is a labyrinth of great confusion, with narrow alleyways between food stalls and stands overflowing with every knick-knack imaginable. Near Bang Sue railway station in north-central Bangkok, this bustling precinct is a foodie’s idea of heaven, with thousands of stalls selling some of the best dishes Thai cuisine has to offer. Hear the raucous haggling of thousands of locals and smell the mixed aromas of spices and meats wafting down the street long before entering the enormous 30-acre (12-hectare) market. Favourite dishes here include juicy fresh fruit, chewy roasted pork and pad thai (stir-fried noodle dish); but if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, why not try the seafood doughnut holes – crispy, golden batter mixed with seafood and topped with a dollop of spicy sauce.

Tip: Be sure to arrive early to avoid a mass of people and pack sunscreen to protect you from the searing afternoon sun, as you’ll need all day to seek out your favourite Thai dish.

Opening times: Sat-Sun 6am-6pm.

Kreta Ayer Wet MarketKreta Ayer offers an array of exotic fruits, including the durian
Creative Commons / variationblogr

Kreta Ayer Wet Market, Singapore

Cautiously following Singapore’s strict hygiene standards, Kreta Ayer Wet Market is a great place to try street food in the knowledge that it should not cause any lingering regrets. At this market in the city’s famous Chinatown area, you’ll find a mixture of exotic and imported foods to feast your eyes upon. Favourites include frogs, traditional Chinese herbal remedies and locally sourced fruit and vegetables from every colour of the rainbow. Continue your visit with a walk upstairs, where you can tuck into sweet delicacies in the café and interact with the intriguing locals who are only too willing to tell you about their recipes and daily life in and around the market.

Tip: Many sites in Chinatown, such as the temples and shophouses of the Telok Ayer district, have been declared as national heritage sites, so take time to explore the area.

Opening times: Mon-Sun 6am-1pm.

La Vurria MarketTry a sweet Sicilian blood orange at La Vucciria market
Creative Commons / Steve Silverman / Cranrob

La Vucciria, Palermo

During the early hours in the earthy city of Palermo, a crowd of people break out from their homes to set up their stands at La Vucciria Market. The smell of fish and herbs slowly spills into the air and the streets begin to fill with locals and tourists looking to purchase weekly groceries. A keen purveyor of Sicilian cuisine, you’ll be able to try a selection of silken homemade pastas, juicy fruit, locally caught fish and delicious wine at this lively market. Come nightfall, the buzz of the market does not fade; simple dishes are served alongside cold beer and the fun-loving locals contribute to the enticing atmosphere.

Tip: Visit the fruit stands to taste the sweet Sicilian blood oranges. Head there early for the best displays.

Opening times: Mon-Sat dawn-2pm. Some parts are open during the evening. 

St Lawrence MarketMunch on some local delicacies at St Lawrence Market
Creative Commons / A.M. Kuchling

St Lawrence, Toronto

Expect a delightful attack on the senses when visiting the 208-year-old market of St Lawrence in Downtown Toronto, as the smell of freshly cooked food entices you in to the market buildings - South Market, North Market and St Lawrence Hall. Munch on the varied culinary offerings, from strong cheeses, homemade jams to high-quality chocolate. Purchase foods at a fair price from the 100-or–so informative and helpful vendors, and learn about the local produce. You'll soon find yourself getting caught up in the local traditions and tasting foods you never thought you would.

Tip: Those with a sweet tooth should focus their visit in the South Market, where exquisite Portuguese tarts and mouth-watering rhubarb crumble can be found. 

Opening times: South Market: Tues-Thurs 8am-6pm Fri 8am-7pm Sat 5pm-5pm. North Market: Sat 5am-3pm. Antiques Market: dawn-5pm.


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