The Best Food Markets Around The World
One thing I always make a point to do when I travel is to visit food markets. I love people watching in the markets as well as perusing what is being sold and eaten in that city. While I haven’t travelled all over the world (yet) nor have I been able to go to every food market, I have compiled this list of some of my favourites that I have visited
*Updated May 2019*
Granville Island Market – Vancouver, Canada
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, theatre, restaurants, an art school, a brewery, a distillery, artisans making everything from BC made sake or handmade brooms, retail shops, and more.
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The public market is row after row of vendors selling produce, seafood, meat, baked goods, and gourmet food. It’s popular not only for tourists but is a local favourite as well. Vancouverites come to shop from their favourite vendors or look for a specific gourmet ingredient. Tourists 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.
Without fail, I come every time I go home for a visit.
The loved by locals 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 Toronto’s city hall, the St. Lawrence Market 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!
Read more: A 72-hour Destination Guide to Toronto
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. It is definitely considered one of the best food markets in the United States. 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, but you also 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
Read more: A Seattle Day Trip Itinerary
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 favourite stall is the borek stall which is a Turkish pastry filled with savoury 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
Photo credit: Flickr
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.
Read more: A Barcelona Guide
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 and many more times since my brother and sister-in-law moved to Madrid. One time with a local Madrileño on a date. There are over 3o stalls selling meat, produce prepared meals, tapas and of course sangria.
Outside Mercado de San Miguel
Jamon jamon jamon!
Drink and shop! Yes, thanks!
Eating some snacks on a Devour Madrid food tour
Read more: Read more about the best markets in Madrid
Ben Thanh Market – Ho Chi Min City Vietnam
Ben Thanh Market is a must for travellers visiting Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. This market sells 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!
Photo courtesy of Flickr
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What are your favourite food markets? Share in the comments!
**Disclaimer: Many thanks to Savor Seattle Food Tours for the complimentary tour around Pike Place and Devour Madrid for the food tour in Madrid. As always all opinions are my own.**