While I was studying abroad in London in 2011, I went to an event organized for alumni from my university that were currently living in the city. It was an odd outing, to say the least. Let’s just say we were told there would be free food…

Besides the misleading information (I can’t even tell you what free food meant to me as a broke student abroad), I did meet the kind wife of an expat who basically described heaven on earth to me. I remember she said, “Listen. I get bored. A lot. You know what I like to do? Walk around Borough Market. It’s a great place to get lunch, grocery shop, or even just go for samples.” My eyes widened.

When I realized she was describing a food market, my vision went a little hazy and I blacked out for a moment while imagining myself running from stall to stall – the happiest I’ve ever been. There was probably a rainbow. I already loved London at that point, and discovering Borough Market solidified everything I felt about the city. It also sent me on a frenzy to visit food markets everywhere I travel. They’re fun alone or with a couple friends, and best attended when hungry. An absolute foodie dream. I’ve been thinking about my very first trip to Borough Market this past week, reminiscing about my solo venture to the Promised Land. I decided to compile a list of the food markets I’ve visited, as well as those I’d like to experience!

Food Markets I Love:

Mercado La Merced Riobamba, Ecuador  – My very first memorable food market experience, which is special because my Dad was born in Ecuador and I still have family living there. There were super outgoing vendors and delicious, fresh food. You haven’t lived until you’ve had the hornado. I’m drooling.

Borough Market London (SE1), England  – Big and Bad! (In the best way ever). Highlights include the barrage of sweets when you arrive, the tea towels and canvas bags, borough wines, and the pork belly sandwich I had once. Be still my heart. Top notch market that’s been around for 800+ years? Sold.

Heart of the City Farmers Market San Francisco, California, USA – Local, friendly vendors right in front of City Hall. I had the most delicious kalamata olives here, and I think I also had some pie. The olives overtook whatever else I tried – they were that good.

The Nosh Chicago, Illinois, USA – This Logan Square gem has been a new favorite of mine since I moved to Chicago a few months ago. It features local vendors including the world famous (to me) Bang Bang Pie. Highlights include the gourmet grilled cheese stand, organic apple cider, and the people walking cute dogs to the market each week.

Smorgasburg New York City, New York, USA – The New York Times called it “The Woodstock of eating.” Biases aside, this market really did have ‘cool’ written all over it. It was exactly what I expected of a Brooklyn food market, and so much more. Super hip, delicious food, crazy views of Manhattan. Loved it. A+

La Boqueria Barcelona, Spain – There’s a lot happening at this huge, covered market. Fresh juices, live lobsters, sweets for days. Lots of pig parts available to purchase. (Dare I say ALL pig parts?)

Milwaukee Public Market Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA – Does this count? It holds a special place in my heart, having lived in Milwaukee for 4 years during undergrad. Great bakery and wine bar!

Food Markets On My Bucket List:

English Market Cork, Ireland – My sister recently visited this market on a weekend trip to Cork and loved it! And on that note, I also absolutely have to mention the Galway Farmers Market, and you better believe I’ll be stopping by in just over 3 weeks. (hooray!)

Pike Place Market Seattle, Washington – I’d love to visit Seattle, and Pike Place definitely has something to do with that.

Mercato Albinelli Modena, Italy – If we’re being completely honest, the entire country of Italy is like a food market to me. But this one popped up on a list of 25 of the World’s Best Food Markets and definitely caught my eye. Plus the website is super nice. Plus… Italy. Duh.

Jemaa El-Fnaa Marrakesh, Morocco – Morocco would be an amazing place to visit, a different culture than I have experienced traveling thus far. The description of this market includes things like snake charmers, belly dancers, and monkey handlers putting on shows next to exotic tea stands. Yes.

Well, now that I’m sufficiently hungry I think this is a good place to end this post. Which amazing food markets should I add to my bucket list?

Chairs at Borough Market

 source: my own photo

3 thoughts on “Nosh!

  1. Free food is exciting for any student! I love markets, too – but for the crafts more than the food. I can spend forever looking at rings. I thought to myself, “I hope Pike Place is on that list!” And it is :] It’s amazing – the floors keep going deeper into the ground – so many artisans, so many things. Of course, there’s the flying fish, which is always a site for tourists.

    I was just in Chicago! Very nice city, but so cold! My post about it will come weeks later, since I’m behind in logging my journey across the states. I’m still in Illinois, actually, until tomorrow.

    Nice post!

    • It’s VERY cold here! The coldest it’s been in a while – sorry you had to experience that! Hope you were still able to sight-see and enjoy the city. I’m biased, but it is one of my favorites 🙂

      Thanks for reaffirming my desire to visit Pike Place! Sounds so fun, might try to get there this summer. Appreciate your kind comments, looking forward to your Chicago post and others!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s