The Best Food Markets Around The World
One thing I love to do when I travel is visiting food markets. I always make a point to visit them. I love to watch the locals and tourists as well as peruse what’s is being sold and eaten all over the world. While I haven’t traveled all over the world (yet) nor have I been able to go to every food market, I have compiled this list of some my favorites that I have visited.
*Republished and updated May 2017*
I’ll start with Granville Island Market in my hometown of Vancouver. Granville Island is peninsula located on False Creek across downtown Vancouver. It was once an industrial area but now is home to a public food market, theater, restaurants, an art school, a brewery, a distillery, artisans making everything from BC made sake or handmade brooms, retail shops, and more. The public market houses row after row of vendors selling produce, seafood, meat, baked goods, and gourmet food. It’s a popular place for locals and visitors to come. Locals are usually coming to shop from their favorite vendor or look for a specific gourmet ingredient and visitors are snacking on everything from salmon candy to freshly made donuts. Wander on your own or sign up and take a 2 hour guided tour.
I come here every time I come home without fail. It’s a favorite of not just tourists but locals as well.
The loved by local and tourists, Granville Island Market in Vancouver
Rows of prepared food vendors and indoor seating
Fruit stacks in the public market
Railspur Alley is home to artisans who make specialty products like sake
St Lawrence Market – Toronto, Canada
Inside what was once City Hall, the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto is made up of three different buildings. Each one is filled with vendors. The south market contains more than 120 vendors selling fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, dairy, and grains. The north market is most known for its farmers market on Saturday and antique market. Try out a “peameal bacon sandwich” and if you’re a mustard fan, pick up a bottle from Kozlik’s. When I visited the market a few years ago, I took a cooking class upstairs in the St. Lawrence Market Kitchen.
Did you know that Nat Geo named St. Lawrence Market the #1 of all food markets in the world!
St Lawrence Market south building
Nat Geo named St. Lawrence Market the best market in the world!
Pike Place Market – Seattle, Washington
Pike Place Market in Seattle started out as a farmers’ market in the early 1900s and has since grown to be one of the city’s main attractions. You can find everything from produce, fish, meat, crafts, flowers, candy, and food products at this super busy market. Don’t forget to watch the popular Pike Place Fish Market guys toss around fish. If you’re there in the summer do grab some of homegrown Washington peaches, nectarines, and cherries. I took a Savor Seattle Food Tour of Pike Place Market and I do suggest taking it. Not only do you get some history of the market, you get to sample tasty food and you get discounts at many of the vendors as well. It’s really helpful to navigate Pike Place with a tour because it does get crazy busy in there.
Tip: Ellenos Yogurt is the best yogurt I have ever had in my life. Go try it and let me know what you think!
The iconic sign
The famous Pike Place Fish Market, these guys are even in commercials and magazines
Queen Victoria Market – Melbourne, Australia
Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne is the biggest market in the southern hemisphere and spread out over two city blocks. There are different halls offering everything from gourmet food items, organics, produce, meat, dairy, seafood, coffee, wine, and prepared food. There’s also a food court and an area selling clothing and souvenirs. My favorite stall is the borek stall which is a Turkish pastry filled with savory fillings and is probably the cheapest and the tastiest thing you’ll buy in Melbourne.
Queen Victoria Market
A produce hall
You need some koala souvenirs
The Borek stall, there’s always a line because it’s that good
A tasty borek!
Ferry Building Marketplace – San Francisco
Inside San Francisco’s historic Ferry Building are vendors selling all kinds of food items from fresh produce to prepared food, candy, gourmet items, and designer ceramics. Several times a week, a farmers market sets up while the regular market is open 7 days a week.
The famed Ferry Market Building
Borough Market – London, England
London’s oldest market, the Borough Market has been around since the 11th century and attracts locals and visitors alike with over 100 stalls and showcases London’s diversity. The full market is open Wednesday through Saturday. Shop and snack your way through the food market on everything from Thai to Indian food.
Excuse my blurry night shot
La Boqueria – Barcelona, Spain
I love La Boqueria. It’s one of the most popular places to visit in Barcelona and one of the most loved food markets in not only Europe but the world. It’s located along La Rambla not far from Plaça de Catalunya. I loved coming here daily to pick up some fresh juice and food to snack on while wandering around the city. I recommend two of the tapas bars inside called El Quim and Bar Pinotxo.
Mercado de San Miguel – Madrid, Spain
Not far from Plaza Mayor in Madrid is the Mercado de San Miguel. It’s not a very big market but I enjoyed it thoroughly. I came here on one of my first nights in Madrid with a local friend as well as a date several years later with a Madrileño. There are over 3o stalls selling meat, produce prepared meals, tapas and of course sangria. The market is open late (till 2 am) from Thursday through Saturday.
Outside Mercado de San Miguel
Jamon jamon jamon!
Drink and shop! Yes, thanks!
Eating some snacks on a Devour Madrid food tour
Ben Thanh Market – Ho Chi Min City Vietnam
Ben Thanh Market is a must for travelers visiting Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. This market sells pretty much everything from clothing, souvenirs, crafts, produce, and food. Stop here for food like pho or bun cha and some iced coffee. I didn’t spend too much time in HCMC but I did come here to check it out and grab some eats of course!
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What are your favorite food markets around the world? Share in the comments!
**Disclaimer: Many thanks to Savor Seattle Food Tours for the complimentary tour around Pike Place. As always all opinions are my own.**