From herbs and spices to fresh seafood, rum cocktails and more, these fantastic food markets around the world are a treat for the senses. Wherever you’re headed next, take a look at our list and see if there’s a gourmet experience waiting for you at your destination.

1. Kashgar Market, Kashgar, China

Once an important stop along the Silk Road, Kashgar’s Sunday market has been taking place for centuries. It’s still famous for its size and the variety of goods on offer. To this day, merchants arrive by donkey, ox and cart, giving this bazaar a special, timeless quality. Pick up exquisite spices, nuts and fruits and be sure to stay for lunch – the lamb kebabs are incredible.

Kashgar Market, ChinaSpices on display at the Sunday Market in Kashgar, China © Karen Su/Getty images

2. Viktualienmarkt, Munich, Germany

A great stop on a walking tour around picturesque Munich, the Viktualienmarkt or ‘victuals market’ takes place near Marienplatz. Bavarian specialities are the order of the day here. Don’t miss out on a warm pretzel, or a weißwurst sausage with sweet mustard, all washed down with a large glass of beer in the adjoining beer garden – just like the locals.

Viktualienmarkt - market, MunichViktualienmarkt in Munich © Travel Faery/Shutterstock

3. Castries Market, St Lucia

You’re in St Lucia, so expect incredible tropical fruits – like mangoes, bananas, avocados, breadfruit and yellow apples – along with pungent spices and potent rum cocktails. Castries market is a vibrant and busy place with stall owners haggling hard with locals and tourists alike.

Fantastic food markets: Castries market, St. Lucia.Castries Market, St Lucia © CKP1001/Shutterstock 

4. Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne, Australia

In operation for 130 years, Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne is a beloved spot for locals, who come to pick up anything from juicy prawns and grapes to organic chicken and huge avocados. Sunday is the most relaxed, family-friendly day. If you’re planning on shopping, don’t forget your reusable bags – no plastic carriers allowed.

Queen Victoria Market, AustraliaWares on display at Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne, Australia © David Keith Jones/Alamy Stock Photo

5. Mercato Coperto, Modena, Italy

A celebration of Italian cuisine takes place daily in Modena’s lovely market hall. The city is particularly famous for its balsamic vinegar, and you’re sure to find an array of flavours on display here. That’s not all – shop for sweet figs and peaches, olive oils, wines and wonderful puddings and cheeses.

Mercato Coperto, ItalyMercato Coperto, Italy © Julio Etchart/Alamy Stock Photo

6. Union Square Greenmarket, New York, USA

Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, Union Square Greenmarket is a collection of cute stalls that bring a taste of the countryside to New York. Farmers, bakers, grocers and fisherman sell their respective wares to chatty locals and tourists, who take serious pleasure in discussing the origin of their dinners.

New York City, United States of America, Usa: cardboard trays with red and green peppers, vegetables and sweet corn on a stand of the Union Square greenmarketVegetables on sale at Union Square Greenmarket © Naeblys/Shutterstock

7. St Lawrence Market, Toronto, Canada

All-Canadian treats like peach pies, blueberry jams and peameal bacon sarnies bring the crowds to this wonderful farmers’ market. It’s open every Saturday from 5am until late afternoon. Many merchants have sold their goods here for generations, so you’re investing in heritage as well as quality when you take home that slice of strawberry tart or bag of freshly shucked oysters.

St Lawrence Market in Toronto, CanadaSt Lawrence Market in Toronto, Canada © Ritu Manoj Jethani/Shutterstock

8. Kowloon City Wet Market, Hong Kong

The best way to start the day in Hong Kong is with brunch in Kowloon City Wet Market. Red bean coffee and satay beef slices with toast are local staples. The more adventurous traveller might try steamed hairy crabs on perilla leaves. Fancy a lie-in? Late afternoon is also a good time to hit up this bustling market. Late in the day market traders slash the prices of meats and fish – that’s dinner sorted, then.

Kowloon City Wet Market, Hong KongKowloon City Wet Market, Hong Kong © Travelview/Shutterstock

9. Cai Rang Floating Market, Vietnam

Visiting the floating market in Cai Rang, southern Vietnam, is a must-do activity when in the Mekong Delta. A huge spread of produce is on sale from a fleet of brightly coloured boats. Most traders advertise their wares from the top of a long pole attached to their vessel. The market starts early – 5am – and finishes by midday, so go in good time to get the best choice.

Cai Rang floating market, Can Tho, VietnamCai Rang floating market, Can Tho, Vietnam © filmlandscape/Shutterstock

10. La Boqueria, Barcelona, Spain

Just off Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s La Boqueria market is surrounded by little tapas bars, where you can feast on tasty bites and throw back glasses of vermù. You’ll have a lively backdrop, too, as shoppers pick over piles of juicy fruit and crusty bread. Occasionally you might see a tourist drawing back, horrified, at the sight of skinned sheep and cows’ eyeballs in the meat section.

La Boqueria - Barcelona SpainJamon Iberico on display at La Boqueria market, Barcelona Spain © Tal Terry/Shutterstock

11. Cours Saleya, Nice, France

Cheerful striped awnings line the length of chic Cours Saleya, Nice’s main shopping street, a quick walk from the sea. Along with flowers and lavender-scented soap, you’ll find a gorgeous spread of the very best produce from southern France. Think croissants, spicy saucisson, fresh fruit and earthy mushrooms.

Cours Saleya, FranceCours Saleya, Old Town, Nice, France © Fraser Hall/Shutterstock

12. Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo, Japan

Perhaps the most famous of the food markets around the world in this list, Japan‘s Tsukiji Fish Market has recently undergone renovation. The main market changed location, from Tsukiji to Toyosu just over a mile away. The world-famous tuna auction now takes place at Toyosu, but fresh fish and sushi are still on sale at the original location. To watch the auction you need to pick up a visitor’s pass at the entrance. Whichever market you visit (or if you make time for both) a strong stomach to appreciate the pungent atmosphere, loaded with all sorts of marine beasties. One thing not to miss is a sushi breakfast – you’re in the right place, after all.

Fantastic food markets: Tsukiji Fish market in Tokyo, Japan.Tsukiji Fish Market, Japan © La India Piaroa/Shutterstock

13. Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market, San Francisco, USA

The farmers’ market to end all farmers’ markets. Open three days a week in bustling San Francisco – the Ferry Plaza market is a must-visit. Saturday is the best and busiest day. All produce is locally produced and organic, with great emphasis placed on sustainable agriculture and artisan recipes. The crowds queue up for fresh peaches, incredible jams, homemade chocolates and beautiful breads. It’s one of our favourite food markets around the world.

Fantastic food markets: Port of San Francisco.Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market, San Francisco, USA © Telesniuk/Shutterstock

14. Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

A warren of 60 streets and over 5000 shops selling leather, jewellery, lamps, rugs and slippers, as well as exquisite culinary treats. Don’t miss the sweetie stalls selling sticky Turkish delight flavoured with rosewater, lemon and pistachio, spice shops piled high with yellow saffron, cinnamon sticks and fragrant mint, and you’re bound to find that archetypal Turkish snack, the kebab.

Fantastic food markets: Mosaic Ottoman lamps, Grand Bazaar, Istanbul.Grand Bazaar, Istanbul © Berke/Shutterstock 

15. Borough Market, London, UK

It may heave with tourists (go early if you want to avoid the crush), but London‘s Borough Market is popular for a reason. Housed beneath an attractive green building with open sides, the market is a who’s who of the best organic local suppliers and traders. Seasonal fruit and vegetables are sold alongside sweet pastries and strong coffee, while huge pots of steaming paella, hot pies and gallons of refreshing punch attract the lunchtime rush.

Borough Market, UKPreparing Pimms at Borough Market, South East London © Andrew Butterton/Alamy

16. Mercado Central, Santiago, Chile

This place is most definitely for seafood lovers. Chile’s long coastline yields incredible numbers of delicious fish and shellfish, and most species are on sale here in Santiago’s main indoor market. Slippery conger eels, silver sea bass, spikey sea urchins, iridescent abalone…the list of fishy treats is endless.

Mercado Central, ChileSantiago’s Mercado Central © John Warburton Lee/Getty images

17. Kreta Ayer Wet Market, Singapore

Squeamish buyers look away now. Singapore’s Kreta Ayer Wet Market in Chinatown doesn’t just do inanimate produce. Expect live eels, frogs and snakes among the melons and roasted pork. Upstairs, above the main stall area, is a hawker centre, where diners settle down over local delicacies – including those (now cooked) frogs and snakes.

Kreta Ayer Wet Market, Singapore Cage with living big frogs at Singapore’s market © Maximilian Weinzierl/Alamy Stock Photo

18. English Market, Cork, Ireland

A venerable indoor market dating from 1788, Cork‘s English Market is undoubtedly a tough cookie. It has witnessed – and survived – famines, revolution, wars, fire and more recently economic decline. On offer today are handmade chocolates, delicious tangy Irish cheeses like Crozier Blue and Ardrahan, top-quality Irish meats and the finest Irish salmon and shellfish.

Variety of chocolate pralines at the English Market, IrelandHandmade chocolates at the English Market, Cork, Ireland © Lena Wurm/Shutterstock

19. Kauppatori Market, Finland

Helsinki’s cobbled square on the waterside hosts a bustling market, with wooden stalls heaving with local fish specialities like smoked salmon and pickled herring. You’ll also find fresh fruits including sweet blueberries and cloudberries, and the obligatory Finnish meat, reindeer. Just watch out for the seagulls, who keep a beady and somewhat menacing eye on tasty snacks clasped in your hands.

Fantastic food markets: Market Square (Kauppatori), Helsinki, Finland.Kauppatori Market, Finland © Marco Rubino/Shutterstock 

To create your own foodie-themed adventure, get in touch! We can connect you with local travel experts around the world, to plan and book a fully customised trip.

Top image: Cai Rang floating market, Can Tho, Vietnam © filmlandscape/Shutterstock

Share

Book your trip with Rough Guides

Tailor-made travel planned by local experts

At Rough Guides, we understand that experienced travellers want to get truly off-the-beaten-track. That’s why we’ve partnered with local experts to help you plan and book tailor-made trips that are packed with personality and stimulating adventure - at all levels of comfort. If you love planning, but find arranging the logistics exhausting, you’re in the right place.

Learn Morechevron_right

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

chevron_leftPrevious feature
The best street food in the world

The best street food in the world

Next featurechevron_right
Extreme hiking in Iceland: the Laugavegur trail

Extreme hiking in Iceland: the Laugavegur trail

Sign up for weekly travel inspiration

Sign up to our newsletter for weekly inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs