If the only ingredients you like having in your kitchen are gourmet, local, fresh and sometimes rare, then you’ll salivate for these amazing food markets.
St. Lawrence, Toronto, Canada
This market is more like a mega mall of food retailers. It opened in 1803, when it shared the space with Toronto’s city hall. After extensive renovations between the 1970s and 1990s, the area is now a mix of homes and businesses, 120 of which are food retailers selling everything from seafood to gourmet candy.
Union Square Greenmarket, New York City
Union Square has had many lives, starting as a New York focal point, before becoming a hangout for the homeless, and eventually being revamped as a stunning farmers market in 1976. The market gave a big business boost to Hudson Valley farmers and made seasonal food popular in the Big Apple. The variety is incredible from fresh, local produce to family-owned pie booths and hand-crafted, bottled cocktails.
Castries Market, St. Lucia,Caribbean
Shoppers at Castries Market get much more than a taste of the local cuisine—the market is the island’s largest, busiest and loudest, constantly buzzing with people. It opened in 1894 and still sits in the original orange-roofed building. Here you’ll find island spices like star anise, mace and cinnamon; local produce like breadfruit and bananas; condiments like hot-pepper sauce; hot dishes like rotis and local, cooked-up seafood.
Ver-o-Peso, Belém, Brazil
You’ll go for the shopping but you’ll stay for the atmosphere in this popular market, lined with rows of fishmongers selling alien-looking catches from the Amazon. The market sits right near the docks in a neo-Gothic building imported from England in 1899. Next to the main market, produce vendors sell local fruits and hot dishes in a marquee.
Mercado Central, Santiago, Chile
This busy fish market sits under a wrought-iron art nouveau canopy from the 1870s, and the specimens inside are just as extraordinary to look at. You can pick up everything from barnacles to giant squid, many of which have names you can hardly pronounce. If cooking the fish is overwhelming, enjoy one of the onsite restaurants offering local dishes.
Kreta Ayer Wet Market, Singapore
The market gets its name from its tedious cleaning routine—it’s hosed down regularly for hygiene. But the foods give the spotless place tons of color from the turtles, frogs, eels and snakes for sale (usually still alive), to the upstairs food center offering local dishes like spicy noodle soup.
Kauppatori, Helsinki, Finland
Shop like a real Arctic local and visit this market, boasting traditional Finnish items. Some highlights include moose, reindeer and bear salami, as well as chocolate infused with salted licorice and salmon and herring.
La Vucciria, Palermo, Italy
Sicily’s multi-ethnic population comes together here to share cuisine. The market has more of a Middle Eastern flare (and fare) than European, with musicians banging on drums and singers performing Arabian music. As for the food, you’ll smell barbecued sausages and kebabs wafting through the air, and marvel at the French butchers’ market with everything from fish to produce.
Cours Saleya, Nice, France
This Southern French market houses a variety of vendors, from those selling delicate Niçois ingredients, to those with animal parts like lambs’ testicles and pigs’ heads. There are plenty of charming French cafes and seafood restaurants onsite.
Borough Market, London, England
Borough Market has been around for more than 250 years, making it London’s oldest food market. The fare is predominantly wholesale, but on the weekends you can find more independent vendors with items ranging from choice olive oils and cheese to ostrich burgers and wild boar sausages.