Shopping Fresh: The Top Food Markets in the World

If you’re lucky enough to live in any of the cities where these markets are, it may be nothing at all for you to pop in on your way home from work to pick up a basket of spring-fresh veggies or warm baked bread.

For the rest of us, who have to content ourselves with cellophane-packaged goods from the fluorescent-lit local grocery store, a market like this in our neighborhood would be a dream come true. Luckily, all of these markets are located in easily accessible places, so make sure that you put them on your next travel itinerary!

Borough Market – London, UK

Borough Market in London is the city’s oldest food market – it has been occurring with little interruption for the last 1,000 years! The current building was designed in 1851, and it’s a rare beauty of Art Deco style. Open Monday to Saturday, the market carries both fresh and prepared food, and it’s the ideal place to go if you’ve got some shopping to do, but you’re feeling a bit peckish. If you don’t want to eat underneath the market hall arches, you can find a perfect picnic spot on the grounds of neighboring Southwark Cathedral.

England is generally more permissive than the United States in terms of alcohol legislation, so there are plenty of stalls on hand that sell and offer samples of local alcohol – both beer and liquor. Around Christmas the market expands their hours to seven days a week!

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Union Square Greenmarket – New York City, USA

Although it isn’t as old as some of the other markets on this list, Union Square Greenmarket has amassed a huge following in the 40 years since its inception. It started in 1976, and in peak summer season, over 150 vendors come from all over New York State to sell their bounty of fresh produce and farm products. Even if you don’t manage to hit up the market in peak season, there are vendors in Union Square year-round on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

If you’re new to the market, ask around to find out what’s in season, then build your shopping list around the freshest produce you can find. Don’t forget to add in some decadent pantry staples like jam, honey, bread, and cheese.

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Kauppatori – Helsinki, Finland

Located right in the heart of Helsinki, Kauppatori Market is the most famous market in Finland, a favorite of both locals and tourists. It carries plenty of goods spread out over two large buildings – the Market Square shops sell primarily ready-made food and souvenirs, while the Old Market Hall is where fresh food is sold.

While you can see lots of Kauppatori in a short time, a true Finn would probably linger over coffee and pastries in one of the heated café tents. There are also many different musicians who come to entertain shoppers. Look for some playing more unusual instruments like the hydrophone. Both the Market Square and the Old Market Hall are open every day of the week, except Sunday.

Harvey Barrison