In the UK we have many food markets, especially in some of the larger cities, but the vast majority of people rely heavily on supermarkets for convenience, meaning the humble food market isn't celebrated here as much as they are in other countries. Food markets abroad are busy and bustling and everyday people rush to them to get their local produce, they are much bigger than in the UK and much more part of the community.
When I was in Thailand, I experienced my first 'night market' where local people would gather to shop and listen to music and take part in traditional dance while also enjoying street food. It wasn't a one off food market, it was something that happened every other day and everyone joined in. Also when I was Frankfurt earlier this year I visited Kleinmarkthalle, a world renowned food market popular with tourists and locals alike. Food markets are great way of being immersed in culture and today I thought I would dedicate a post to why you should visit food markets while travelling.
Live like a local
Visiting food markets enables you to live like a local for the day and experience what life is like living in that country and shopping for food. You can make note of all the local ingredients and produce renowned in that area, learn more about their cuisines and most of the time there's samples available for you to trial the food.
Overhearing people haggling down prices, chatting about food and generally enjoying themselves makes for a great atmosphere. Food markets are busy and vibrant and there's nothing quite like them.
Food markets are a great place to eat authentic street food as they are often filled with street food vendors who have a long family history of running market stalls.
If you're looking to practice a few sentences from the phrase book you picked up in duty free, markets are a great place to test out your skills. Market halls often have people working there who may not be too fluent with English but most of the time they take kindly to you even attempting to speak their language.
Finally, food markets are a great place to grab a bargain as they are usually catered towards locals rather than tourists. High street stores particularly in tourist areas often inflate their prices to deal with demand and because they know tourists like convenience, whereas food markets have lower prices because they are helping the community.
Have you visited any great food markets abroad?