Fabulous Cape Town-Area Food Markets That Locals Love

Fabulous Cape Town-Area Food Markets That Locals Love

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Locals and visitors in the Mother City sometimes spend their Saturday mornings (and the occasional weekday evenings) indulging in fantastic local fare cooked in home kitchens and grown in backyard gardens and plots.

In a country plagued by high unemployment, food shopping at local markets means supporting area entrepreneurs who are making their own jobs, and sometimes doing well enough to employ others.

Seeking out dried figs, organic wine and delicious homemade desserts, foodies flock to give their taste buds a treat. Here are a few fabulous Cape Town-area food markets that locals love.

Source: CapeMarkets.co.za

City Bowl Market on Hope Photo: Laura Cooke, Veggie Buntch
City Bowl Market on Hope
Photo: Laura Cooke, Veggie Buntch

City Bowl Market on Hope

The usually quiet Hope Street on the east side of Cape Town’s business district turned into a hub of culinary delights with the introduction of the City Bowl Market on Hope. This market keeps things simple with food vendors who scatter themselves along triangle-shaped tables that line the walls of an old school hall. Market-goers eat their purchases at communal tables that fill the center of the hall. As live music and aromas from hot Cape Malay curries fill the air, so does the hall.

Market-goers move from stall to stall trying traditional Turkish food from Lutfiye’s Cypriot Food to heavenly hamburgers (from a vendor called Heavenly Hamburgers). Food and beverage vendors cater to dad’s beer belly at the Keg King, mom’s sweet tooth at La Petite Moo Brownies and for the kids, there’s a play area. This market has something for everyone.

Thursday evenings bring city workers to the market to enjoy an early dinner, drinks with colleagues or a quick takeaway. The Saturday crowd comes from all over the city, treating themselves to a delicious breakfast or lunch.

Location: 14 Hope Street, Cape Town. Open every Thursday from 4:30-8 30 p.m. and every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Earth-Fair-St-Georges-Mall-7 earthfairmarket.co.za
Earth Fair Market, St. Georges Mall, Cape Town Photo: earthfairmarket.co.za

Earth Fair Food Market, St. Georges Mall

Every Thursday from 11am to 3pm in the CBD there is a ‘no meetings’ policy so everyone can come to this market. Before even reaching the open-aired venue in the centre of Cape Town, you can smell the mouthwatering aromas of paella, spring rolls (try the jalepeno popper ones for $1.20 each) and curries filling the air. With masses of hungry offices workers all heading to this popular weekly lunchtime strip, this market is always packed, especially on hot summer days when folks try to get their hands on Dr Juice’s freshly squeezed juices, or a scoopful of The Creamery’s unusually flavoured ice creams. On rainy days, the market moves indoors to Mandela Rhodes Place, also along St Georges Mall.

Location: St Georges Mall, Cape Town (between Wale Street and Church Street). Open every Thursday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Earth Fair Food Market, Tokai Photo: drivesouthafrica.co
Earth Fair Food Market, Tokai
Photo: drivesouthafrica.co

Earth Fair Food Market, Tokai

Earth Fair offers two markets in two different locations — Tokai and St. Georges Mall — but both cater to hungry lunchtime city workers and dinner-seeking suburban folk. With almost the same vendors at both, the market treats each crowd with delicious fare such as spicy curries, fresh juices, and decadent desserts.

Located in Southern suburbs of Cape Town between Retreat and Tokai, this Earth Fair Market is usually packed with families looking for a tasty dinner on a Wednesday evening or breakfast on a Saturday morning. This indoor market offers loads of parking, communal tables to eat at and a small tented outdoor area for hot summer days. A few of the vendors sell plates stacked with vegetarian dishes for around$6 per plate. And for dessert, chocolate and banana crepes from Lemon Moon Cafe is a must! While the kids enjoy playing in the play zone, the over-18 crowd can enjoy craft beer or organic wine from the Laughing Crocodile Bar.

Location: Tokaia, Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesday 3 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.

Photo: marketonthewharf.co.za
Photo: marketonthewharf.co.za

 V&A Market On The Wharf

The V&A Market On The Wharf is located on the busy Victoria and Albert Waterfront, one of Africa’s top attractions. This two-story market was once a restaurant and music warehouse before being converted into a food market. One of the largest food markets in Cape Town, it is open five days a week for breakfast, lunch and early dinner or takeaway. There is a bar and big screen TV upstairs with tables where you can enjoy your food.

Brazilian food at Casa Brazil, samosas at Gourmet Samoosa, yummy Mexican food at Mex It Up, and Thai food from Thai Hut are just some of the tasty delights. Burgers from Woodie’s Burgers and and pizza from the Daisy Pizza Factory are also available for those who are not feeling exotic. This market is also one of the few places in Cape Town that sells bubble tea, so make sure to stop at Bubble Tea Company and get yourself a cup.

Location: Dock Road, V&A Waterfront. Open daily June to October from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Open daily November to April from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Bay Harbour Market, Hout Bay Photo: Traveler24Newa
Bay Harbour Market, Hout Bay
Photo: Traveler24News

Bay Harbour Market

This market has a permanent home in an authentic old fish factory in the working harbor of Hout Bay, about 20 minutes outside Cape Town. More than 100 stalls offer great food and an amazing vibe along with arts, crafts, fashion, decor and music. The market is often packed. Be sure to get there early as parking and seating is very limited.

The market caters for all palates, offering foods from around the world, including German food from Heike’s German Food, Chinese food from Tao’s Chinese Kitchen and Tunisian cuisine from Tunisian Foods.

Market-goers can also try some traditional South African food including koeksisters and and bunny chows, as well as fresh seafood. There are also loads of veggie, vegan and raw food options to choose from. A large bar offers some of South Africa’s best wine, beers and cocktails.

Location: 31 Harbour Road. Open every Friday between 5-9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Photo: neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za/cape-town
Photo: neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za/cape-town

Neighbourgoods Market

Housed in the trendy Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock (about 10 minutes outside Cape Town central business district), the Neighbourgoods Market is among the most popular in Cape Town. Its setting in a beautiful old brick building is contrasted with modern food trucks massed in the parking lot, and brightly coloured fruit and vegetables. This market is definitely a social one, and market-goers often find themselves asking strangers “Where did you buy that?”

With over more than 100 specialty traders including local farmers, bakers, butchers, artisan producers and chefs, the market is a great place to do your weekly shopping, or just grab a bite to eat. You’ll find burgers, Indian food, paella, steaks and even pizza with an artisanal twist. Freshly brewed coffee, squeezed juices and craft beers are also available throughout the day, and homemade cakes, ice cream and crepes will satisfy those with  a sweet tooth. With only street parking available, a spot can take 15 minutes to find — so get there early or take public transit.

Location: The Old Biscuit Mill, 373 Albert Road, Woodstock. Open every Saturday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.