World’s Best Food Markets

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When on holiday, there’s nothing better than visiting the local food market, wandering amongst the stalls seeing all the interesting foods. Here are just some of the best places to visit the Best Food Markets in the world.

Central Market Hall – Budapest

Central Market Hall, Budapest, Hungary Image Credit: Nagy Vásárcsarnok

Budapest is one of our favourite city breaks. So much so we’ve visited twice. There is plenty to see and the city has stunning and interesting architecture. No more so than the Central Market Hall whose wrought ironwork provides an atmospheric backdrop to this melting pot of food, drink and local souvenirs.

Central Market Hall spans over three floors and is not purely a food market, but it does dominate. Food is on the ground floor and basement and as soon as you walk through the door, the sights and smells hit you. There are the freshest of products: fresh fish, meat, vegetables, fruits and spices. Don’t be surprised to see the odd pigs head and trotters readily for sale and being snapped up by the locals. You’ll find lots of salamis, pickles, wines and Hungarian Paprika. As well as this, there’s an abundance of delicious local pastries:

  • Bejgli is especially popular at Christmas. These are sweet rolls filled with finely ground poppy seeds and walnuts.
  • Chimney Cake has a caramelised crust and chewy, soft interior. The dough is prepared wrapped around a baking spit and cooked over charcoal. Sometimes served with nutella or dusted with icing sugar.
  • Pogascsa are savoury bakes that date back to Medieval times. There are different sizes and varieties: melted cheese, pork crackling or cottage cheese.

Head upstairs for traditional souvenirs and local crafts (but beware – they are pricey).

How to get there: Address: Vámház krt. 1-3

Tram: Take line 47 or 49 and get off at Fővám tér M. You are in front off the Great Market Hall.

Metro: Take line 3 (the blue line) to Kalvin Tér. Or take line M4 and get out at Fővám tér.

Opening Times: Open daily (except Sunday) from 6am – 6pm (early closing on Saturday)

Torvehallerne – Copenhagen

The multi award-winning Noma restaurant in Copenhagen has definitely helped put Scandinavian food on the map. We’ve now grown to love the simplicity, freshness and ‘hygge’ comfort of this style of cuisine. So where better to find a smart, high quality and interesting food market than in central Copenhagen? Torvehallerne is the glass market located smack-bang in the middle of Copenhagen and here you’ll find about 60 stalls selling an array of delicious smelling and tasting foods.

For locals, it’s a great place to pick fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, meat and cheese. For tourists, it’s a lovely place to wander around for a while. There are plenty of places to have a pitstop. The smell of freshly ground coffee is so alluring as are the pastries, sandwiches and pizza. We also took time out to have a very delicious ice cream. Did we mention the chocolate stalls? Buy as much as your hand luggage will allow.

When the weather is kind there is outdoor seating for you to sip on a drink and perhaps share on some take-out from the restaurants dotted around the market – but be warned the seats fill up quickly as it’s a great place to people watch in the heart of Copenhagen.

Address: Frederiksborggade 21, 1360 København K

How to get there: Situated right by Nørreport Station

Opening Times: 10am – 7pm

Or Tor Kor Market – Bangkok

Or Tor Kor market, Bangkok

There are lots of local markets in Thailand – we visited one as part of our Thai Cooking Class. But, if you’re in Bangkok, the best is probably Or Tor Kor Market. This indoor market was established as a state enterprise to help farmers, growers and villagers in the sales, marketing and storage of their agricultural products. This large upscale food market has over 600 stalls selling a huge array of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, seafood, snacks and cooking ingredients. Ranked as one of the world’s best food markets (by CNN), this market is as popular with locals as it is with tourists.

Despite being hundreds of stalls to peruse, navigation is made easy as the market is divided into separate zones: meat, seafood, dried food, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits (some stalls are dedicated to the opinion dividing Durian fruit), rice, cooking ingredients etc. An organic market is located separately.

As well as an array of local foods, you’ll find a scattering of imported fruits like African apples, bananas, kiwi fruit etc.

After you’ve spent time wandering amongst the stalls and stocking up on pastes and spices, Or Tor Kor Market has a food centre where you can sit and eat freshly cooked food.

How to get there: Take exit 3 of the MRT subway at Kamphaeng Phet Station

Opening Times: 06.30 – 18.00

Borough Market, London

Borough Market is in a great location – just down from the Thames and within the shadows of the imposing Shard building. For me, it’s one of the best places to celebrate and taste the very best of British food and drink as well as seeing emerging food trends. Whether that’s buying from a local baker, stocking up on artisan cheese or seeing what the latest flavour combinations are, you just can’t beat it. It’s a great place to go to and find some rather tasty Christmas presents for food fans too.

As the market is all at ground level, it’s easy to get around but it does get busy, so if you want to have a leisurely mooch about, try and avoid busy times like lunchtimes and weekends.

Top Tip: This is a great place to dine around the world. The Kitchen zone at Borough Market is home to an array of street food vendors where you can enjoy the likes of Bao Buns, Pastrami & Pickles, Korean cuisines as well as the more traditional options like sourdough pizzas.

How to get there: Nearest underground station is London Bridge (Northern and Jubilee lines).

Opening Times: Monday – Thursday 10am – 5pm, Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday 8am – 5pm. Closed Sundays.

Nelson Street Market, Mong Kok, Hong Kong

I’ve been lucky enough to visit Hong Kong twice (I’m so old that the first time I went it was still under British rule). Even after all these years, it remains my favourite city. It’s hard to say exactly why I love this place so much. It just has something and yet has it all – bustling streets, bright lights, tradition and the sweet smell of street food.

Hong Kong has lots of markets – from the Fish Markets, Bird Market and even a Goldfish Market. One of the best places to get a one-stop experience of a Hong Kong market has to be the famous Nelson Street market.

Nelson Street is lined with shops selling fresh and frozen meat (mainly pork, chicken, duck and beef) as well as roasted meats like Szechuan ducks, seafood, noodles, tofu and fish cakes. Beyond these store fronts there are others selling fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, nuts and dried fish. Expect to see live turtles and frogs alongside other delicacies such as chicken feet whilst people are happily making wontons next door.

How to get there: Take Hong Kong’s MTR subway to Mong Kok station and head on foot to nearby Nelson Street. You’ll soon find yourself amongst the market stalls and food shops.

Opening Times: Nelson Street is pedestrianised 4pm – 10pm (Monday – Saturday) and from 12 noon – 10pm (Sundays & Public Holidays).

There are still plenty of food markets that we’ve heard are exceptional but still yet to visit. So on our bucket list is:

  • Castries Market, St Lucia
  • Queen Victoria Market, Australia
  • Union Square Greenmarket, New York
  • St Lawrence Market, Toronto, Canada
  • Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market, San Francisco
  • Mercado Central, Santiago, Chile

Visit one of the world’s best food markets when you’re on holiday – it won’t disappoint!

Visit one of the world’s best food markets when you’re on holiday – it won’t disappoint!

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