Foodies, this one’s for you! Travel isn’t complete without at least one authentic local food experience, which is why food markets play such an important role when it comes to planning your itinerary. Here are our picks for the world’s best food markets.
Spice Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey
The Grand Bazaar might win out when it comes to scale – it’s not called grand for nothing – but when it comes to food, Istanbul’s Spice Bazaar punches well above its weight. You’ll find it in the Eminönü district, where locals refer to it as the Egyptian Bazaar. Whatever you call it, heaps of spices, herbs and of course Turkish Delight make this market a feast for all the senses.
San Camilo, Arequipa, Peru
This small market in Peru’s second city flies under the radar, but there’s a section of the market that’s a must for any foodie. Every kind of produce is represented but those in the know head to its fruit stalls at breakfast time for a fruit smoothie or milkshake (ask for a licuada or a batido). Also worth trying is lucuma; native to this part of the world and rarely found elsewhere, it tastes like butterscotch but is much better for you.
Tsukiji, Tokyo, Japan
Though this market trades all kinds of fish, it’s particularly famous for its early morning tuna auctions. From time to time, the vendors at Tokyo’s largest fish market have become so fed up of tourists watching the proceedings that they ban them, before having a change of heart and welcoming them once again. Soon, travelers will need to update their address books as 83 years of history comes to an end when the market relocates to the new Toyosu site in the capital's Koto Ward in October.
Kejetia, Kumasi, Ghana
Strictly speaking, Kejetia isn’t a food market. It’s a sprawling mass of stalls, tin-roofed shacks and people seeking respite from the hot tropical sun under colorful umbrellas. Dominating a whole district of Kumasi, Ghana’s second-largest city, Kejetia’s the largest market in West Africa. It sells everything you can imagine, food included, so consider hiring a guide to show you around.
Temple Street Night Market, Hong Kong, China
This night bazaar comes into its own once the sun has set, buzzing with traders. The market and the streets that surround it are also a mecca for street food enthusiasts, who delight in the many stalls serving stir-fried seafood, roast pork, noodles and all manner of other local favorites. Snack while you shop, and enjoy a uniquely Hong Kong vibe with fortune telling and Cantonese opera thrown in for good measure.
Pike Place, Seattle, USA
Seattle’s most famous market has been open for business since 1907. It’s the city’s most popular tourist attraction, thanks in part to its “catch a flying fish” party trick which once featured in the hit sitcom Frasier. Look out for a bronze pig named Rachel, the market’s unofficial mascot, and the Starbucks at 1912 Pike Place, whose signature green logo has been replaced by the original, once displayed on the first branch around the corner at 2000 Western Avenue.
Borough Market, London, England
London’s trendiest – and oldest – food market has long been a draw for tourists, but its stall-lined passages has attracted as many locals as it has visitors during its thousand-year history. Begin in Three Crown Square, where you’ll find a wide range of produce including meat, cheese, fruit and vegetables and fish. Work your way out to the edge and learn why London’s a world-class city with foodstuffs from around the globe. When you’re done, dine in at one of the market’s many eateries with reputations to rival the city’s top restaurants.
Wellington Harbourside Market, New Zealand
Farmers’ markets are a big deal in New Zealand and Wellington’s offering, on its beautifully renovated waterfront, won’t disappoint. Local artisan suppliers bring a diverse selection of goodies including coffee, cheese, deli produce, fish, fruit and specialty breads to tempt all palates. Make sure you come on a Sunday as the market’s a weekly event.