Andrew’s Top 15 Food Markets Around the World
Our world traveler and host of Bizarre Foods America, Andrew Zimmern, has traveled around the world and back again many times over. During his travels, whether in China or San Diego, he’s visited some large, small and very good food markets. We asked Andrew for his top list of markets around the world and he provided 15 -- happy shopping!
In Montreal, Canada, this Art Deco-style market building from the 1930s houses two floors of artisanal delicatessens, cheese shops, chocolatiers and florists alongside dozens of fresh produce stands. My favorite is La Fromagerie Atwater, the cheese shop of your dreams with more than 750 varieties.
Noryangjin Fish Market
This giant indoor fish market is the largest and oldest market in Seoul, South Korea. It has more than 700 stalls and a mind-boggling array of exotic species -- stingrays, ribbonfish, sea squirts, they have it all. The best part is you can buy a fish, have it fileted in front of you and cooked at a nearby restaurant.
Mercado de Abastos
The central market in Oaxaca, Mexico is a food lover’s dream, where the air smells of fresh cilantro, chiles and the best tamales you’ll ever eat. For only a couple pesos, you must try the handmade tamales and tlayudas served street-side by Zapotec grandmas.
Djemaa el Fna
Located in the main square of Marrakech, Morocco, Djemaa el Fna is a lively cultural spectacle. I love the cumin-spiked, pit-roasted whole lamb, and with a glass of mint tea, it’s definitely in my top 5 favorite market meals. Plus, the people watching can’t be beat -- acrobats, Dutch hippies, Berber musicians, German tour groups, herbalists, Japanese sightseers, snake charmers, American trustafarians, hawkers, hustlers, grifters and conmen are all resident entertainers.
This is a working market for wholesalers in Bangkok, Thailand, and although it has a gritty reputation, a trip here is an adventure worth having. Make a pit stop at one of the stalls hawking Cantonese egg noodle soup, served with wontons, greens and roast pork.
This is a locavore’s heaven in Portland, Oregon, with hundreds of farmers, vintners, foragers and grab-and-go food stands. Some of the city’s most iconic restaurants started as small stands at this market, including Pine State Biscuits, known for their fried chicken, gravy, egg and biscuit sandwich.
On the Capitol building steps in Madison, Wisconsin, this farmers’ market is the largest producer-only farmers’ market in the country -- that means everything for sale is grown or raised by the person behind the table. In addition to great fruits and vegetables, this market has an abundance of one-of-a-kind Wisconsin-style cheese.
The shining stars of this great New Orleans farmers’ market are the plethora of fresh Gulf Coast seafood, crayfish, bayou rice, alongside award-winning pies, hot tamales and artisan cheese.
Hmong Market in St. Paul, Minnesota, is the country’s best little-known ethnic market, with countless fruit and vegetable stalls and rustic, insanely delicious Southeast Asian dishes in the food court. It’s my top lunch spot in the Twin Cities, serving everything from Hmong sausage to made-to-order papaya salads and hearty pho.
Located in the historic Ferry Building (circa 1898) at the end of Market Street in San Francisco, this marketplace is home to a Tuesday and Saturday farmers’ market, as well as a host of great spots to grab a bite. I love Charles Phan’s acclaimed Slanted Door for the nouvelle Vietnamese cuisine.
Qing Yang District Wet Markets
In Sichuan, China, you will find some of the best food on the planet, so naturally the city has fantastic markets. The Qingyang district is filled with wet markets, where vendors sell everything from frogs and pig brains to bean pasta and tofu. After a stroll through these streets, head to a local restaurant to try the region’s signature hot pot.