Wherever we are, our first stop is usually a local market, often outdoors (but covered) and along a neighborhood street. Markets around the world each have unique sounds, wares, smells, people and traditions. You know what I mean if you’ve ever been yelled at for touching fruit at a fruit stand or been tugged at to take a vendor’s picture. Entering any of the markets, you are immediately immersed into the hustle and bustle of the local community. You’ll find common fruits and vegetables throughout the world (oranges, apples, bananas, tubers, peppers) reflecting the global trade of food. However, you’ll also discover booths for different ethnic delicacies that reflect the diverse nationalities living in the local community. Vendors are usually very friendly and patient with my poor language capabilities. They are also very proud of the wares and anxious to try to help me understand “the best way” to prepare whatever catches my eye. Explore a few markets we’ve recently visited …
Kleinmarkthalle (Frankfurt, Germany) – An enclosed, venerated market with perfect rows of fruits and vegetables, nestled amid brand new skyscrapers and the oldest square in the city.
Boroughs Market (London, England) – A newly rejuvenated marketed in the latest trendy London area south of the Thames near the New Tate Gallery – an epicurean paradise – with traditional foods (meats, veggies, fruits, meat pies, artisan cheese) and also the more exotic (Thai spices, Russian/Balkan delicacies, Indian stews).
Quetzaltenagno (Guatemala) – The city ‘Xela,’ shorten by the locals, is the second largest in the country. We found markets full of women vendors selling peppers, tomatoes and flours for their local salsa picante or a Mayan dish of chicken stew called chicken pepian.
Market at Chichicastenengo (Guatemala) – Chichi has a market each day, but the biggest market is on Thursdays and Sundays when farmers spread out their wares for sale. In addition to fruits, meat, fish and vegetables you can find live animals and beautiful woven fabrics.
Kusadasi Market (Turkey) – The market in Kusadasi, near Ephesus, was one in which we shopped for ingredients for our own culinary efforts and we loved both the shopping experience and the results.
San Pedro (Cote d’Ivoire) — Where 40 percent of the world’s cocoa comes from — yet you won’t find a trace of cocoa in the local markets. Instead, avocados, plantains, tomatoes, unrefined palm oil for cooking and even enormous live snails are for the taking.