Should you ever be in the fortunate position of planning a trip to another country, always make time in your itinerary to visit a street market.
So why would you?
OK, Picture this: you are walking down a street packed with vendors wanting to sell their fresh produce to you. You are staying at a self-catering venue… So, why not take advantage of this amazing offer. Especially as it is all about experiencing the culture of that country as well as great shopping opportunities. Fresh produce. Lower prices. Happy environment. It is a win-win situation, but there are more reasons.
With the above in mind, let us add a bit of fun and exciting stuff, that you do not usually find in your “standard supermarket”, like exotic spices or “strange”/unknown fruit and vegetables… Many markets (especially farmers’ markets) offer local produce that is true to the country you are visiting. (Lemons in Amalfi, rambutan -native to Southeast Asia, San Juan canary melon, and many more.) Stop and try them. It is all part of the cultural food experience. Market vendors are usually very eager to tell you more about their products, so feel free to ask them questions and support them if possible.
When visiting a country where you are unsure of the food, you can be safe by buying from the markets and sticking to fruit and vegetables and/or artisan bread.
But there is still more…
You will also find gifts and gems, in places like 2nd hand street markets and art markets. Ceramic markets, street bookshops, or even the more impressive undercover markets like the one in Budapest Hungary, are real gems to explore.
Oh, and don’t get me started on Christmas time markets. LOL – We’ll keep that one for later in the year. 🙂
In addition combine all of the above with friendly, heartfelt customer service.
Although we all need supermarkets, a town square market or cobblestone street market is just more of a special experience when on holiday. (…and the bonus: No plastic-wrapped food.)
Food straight from the farm or someone’s small garden. Experiencing the country’s cuisine in a different way. Undoubtedly many of the vendors will be more than eager to share a recipe or some advice on how to prepare their products if you ask, and it might be the perfect opportunity to try something new. Buy gifts for your family at home. Fish as fresh as it gets straight from the sea. Spices you can smell in the air. All under one beautiful blue sky-roof and in the fresh air. What an awesome experience.
In summary, visit a street market and take your time to browse through all the special stalls and discover something new around each corner. It is part of the adventure.
Keep in mind that wandering around a town square market, or street market, is free. You get all the beautiful sights, tastes, experiences and you only spend when you buy something… As a bonus: This is often also the place where you’ll get awesome photo opportunities – for the keen traveling photographer.