We have narrowed down some of our favourite market bites for you to try and where to find them... there are some real treats for your taste buds and also some rather unusual options for the more daring eater.
1. Market Hall, Helsinki, Finland
Must eat: Cinnamon buns, smoked-reindeer sandwiches
Stalls bursting with Nordic goodness – from pickled herrings to lingonberries – pack this early-20th-century-built market hall; in summer, vendors spill out into the harbourside square too.
2. Chang Puak North Gate Market, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Must eat: Khao soi
Chiang Mai, in Thailand’s jungly north, has a range of markets. Fragrant, sizzling Chang Puak is less touristy than some and has a great hall brimful of fruit and veg. Seek out khao soi, the city’s trademark dish of noodles in a curry broth with pickled greens.
3. Central Market Hall, Budapest, Hungary
Must eat: Dobos torte
This graceful galleria is popular with tourists but too pretty to ignore – it’s a three-storey, glass-sided enclave of deliciousness, vibrant with crimson paprika. The sweet-toothed will love dobos torte, a seven-layered sponge oozing buttercream and caramel.
4. La Merced, Mexico City, Mexico
Must eat: Tamales
The largest market in Mexico City sells everything, from head-blowing chillies to garish sweets. Grab a tamal, a corn-dough pocket filled with pork, chicken or other goodies, steamed in a corn-husk. The brave might try chapulines (roasted grasshoppers).
5. Cours Saleya, Nice, France
Must eat: Socca
The market awnings of Cours Saleya are virtually within sight of the Med – just the place to sit in the sunshine with a chickpea-flour crêpe. Socca is a city speciality, cooked in a wood-fired oven on a large tinned-copper plate, chopped up into pieces and eaten with your fingers. Délicieux!
6. Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne, Australia
Must eat: Flat white, bratwurst
The Queen Vic in multicultural Melbourne is the biggest market in the southern hemisphere. Consequently, you can buy anything here, from German sausages to West African jollof rice. To be more Aussie, pick up peppered kangaroo fillets to throw on the barbie, accompanied by a flat white coffee – Melbournians claim it was invented here.
7. Donghuamen, Beijing, China
Must eat: Spring rolls, scorpions
Donghuamen is more a challenge than a shopping experience. The vendors at this lively night market will try to tempt you with many ‘treats’: smelly tofu, quail eggs, cicadas, chicken hearts, scorpions on sticks. Don’t fear: the safer spring rolls are also pretty good.
8. La Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain
Must eat: Jamón Ibérico de Bellota
This Modernista-influenced markethall off Las Ramblas is a riot of super Spanish produce: juicy fruit, tangy cheese, pungent hams (look for Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, made from pure-breed, acorn-fed Iberico pigs). There are tapas bars too – if it’s breakfast time, grab a coffee and an xuxos (custard-filled flaky pastry).
9. St Lawrence Market, Toronto, Canada
Must eat: Peameal bacon sandwich
Toronto’s signature bacon butty is not haute cuisine, but this fat slab of cornmeal-crusted pork in a Kaiser roll is extremely satisfying. If you don’t fancy that, St Lawrence has many other options, from cheese and fish to local fruit and veg; it hosts cooking classes and demos too.
10. Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo, Japan
Must eat: Sushi
Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji sees a frenzy of fish-buyers gather to bid for the finest filets. A handful of visitors are permitted to watch this auction (which starts at 5am). If you miss this, head instead to the maze-like outer market where small shops sell the freshest sushi and sashimi you’ll ever taste.
Discover a whole host of gastranomical holidays at Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show where there is a huge range of exhibitors offering exciting travel experiences to these markets and many more. We have our Experience The World Stage in London and The Food & Travel Stage in Manchester.