6 of the world’s most exciting food markets

By Shona Owen

As our interest in world food has grown, we have started to delve deeper into “foodie” destinations. It’s no longer just about finding an authentic local restaurant. Now we want to discover the markets, where the very finest and freshest food can be found. Here’s our pick of six great food markets including well-known classics and some hidden gems.


Central Market Hall (Photo: GoneWithTheWind / Shutterstock)

1. Central Market Hall, Budapest, Hungary

A huge array of stalls piled with local and exotic treasures, Budapest’s Central Market Hall is housed in a beautiful 150-metre long neo-Gothic building near the Danube River. Start in the basement, where you’ll find delicacies including pickled cucumbers and seasonal game. Next, join the throng on the ground and first floor for paprika ristras, Tokay wines and arguably, the best langos (deep fried flatbread) in town.

* Open Monday to Friday, 6am – 6pm, and Saturday 6am – 3pm. Closed Sunday.

2- Courtsey of Sandra Vallaure

Charcuteria Selecta, Mercado Lonja del Barranco (Photo: Sandra Vallaure)

2. Mercado Lonja del Barranco, Seville, Spain

In the city that invented tapas, Mercado Lonja del Barranco is a welcome addition to the fine food markets dotted around Seville. Set in a magnificent wrought iron and glass building designed by Gustave Eiffel, the stalls are stacked with regional goodies including gourmet croquettes, jamon iberico, mini burgers and colourful cakes. Partly owned by Francisco Rivera Ordonez, bullfighter and ex-son-in-law of the Duchess of Alba, the market is particularly popular on Friday, so try to grab a seat and wash down your meal with a draft beer.

* Open Sunday to Thursday, 10am – midnight, Friday to Saturday, 10pm – 2 am.


Pickled Vegetables, Nishiki Market (Photo: cowardlion / Shutterstock)

3. Nishiki Market, Kyoto, Japan

Tsukiji Fish Market may be Japan’s most famous food market, but quaint and quirky Nishiki Market is our favourite. Offering everything from the weird to the wonderful, you can spot eels arranged like precious necklaces, bright red octopus with quail egg heads, and live crabs trying to escape their containers. Nestled in Kyoto’s modest downtown area, you can either have a full meal at a sit-down establishment, snack on some of the free samples or just watch the chaotic market tick by along its five narrow streets.

* Open daily – most stalls run from 9am to around 6pm.


Comptoir Gourmand, Maltby Street (Photo: Bex Walton/ Flickr)

4. Maltby Street, Bermondsey, London

Maltby Street in south-east London is a lively gathering for local foodies with friendly stallholders and international delicacies. Located under the railway arches in Bermondsey, you’ll find semi-sweet honey mead, Greek oils and cured meats, fresh Dorset oysters and homemade French macaroons. As well as food stalls, there are small independent shops and quirky pop-up eateries, a great spot for lunch after picking up your groceries.

* Open Saturday, 9am to around 3pm.


Traditional sampan (Photo: mkmakingphotos / Shutterstock)

5. Cai Rang Floating Market, Vietnam

The largest floating market in the Mekong Delta, Cai Rang Floating Market is a sight to behold. Balancing heavy loads of fruit, vegetables and fish on their traditional sampan boats, the vendors try to grab your attention by crying out across the waters or by tying their goods to poles and stretching it across for you to view. It’s best seen by boat, and you should try to arrive before 9am. If you missed breakfast, look out for Do Minh Tu who serves delicious soups.

* Open daily from 5am until midday.


Deli Hall, QVM (Photo: Queen Victoria Market)

6. Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne, Australia

Known locally as the Vic Market, the Queen Victoria Market was opened in 1878, and at 17 acres, this is the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere. With Wednesday Night Market, Stir Frydays and a French vintage market held every month, the Queen Victoria Market is a true celebration of Australia’s gastronomic trends with delights and delicacies such as organic dips, game meats of crocodile, rabbit and kangaroo, and hot-out-of-the-oven jelly doughnuts. If you are planning on taking some of the goodies home, don’t forget your recyclable bags as no plastic carriers are allowed.

* Open Tuesday 8am – 2pm, Wednesdays (night market) 5pm – 10pm, Thursday 8am – 2pm, Friday 8am – 3pm, Saturday 8am – 3pm and Sunday 9am – 4pm.

Exsus Travel can arrange a tailor-made holiday to any of these cities.


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