Exquisite food markets in Europe

Time Out market in Lisbon, Portugal | Photo by Olena Kachmar via 123RF
Time Out market in Lisbon, Portugal | Photo by Olena Kachmar via 123RF

Exquisite food markets in Europe

by Kalli Jihee Yoon
Stripes Europe

Having a meal or two at a nice restaurant in tourist destinations are nice. But as global tourism is becoming more accessible, many restaurants serve more modernized dishes to appeal to the mass public rather than representing their true traditional flavors. I guarantee you won’t find more fresh and true local flavors than you’ll find in these markets below. So next time you travel to these destinations listed below, take a detour to experience it yourself and see what they’re all about.

Munich, Germany — Viktualienmarkt/Dallmayr Premium Food Market

Viktualienmarkt is right around the corner from Marienplatz in Munich where you will likely visit to watch the elaborate St. Peter’s Church’s clock tower performances. The market is consisted of various vendors including fresh produce, souvenirs, cured meat, spices, bakeries and small cafes. While the market itself offers several choices of sandwiches and baked goods to choose from, at Café Frischhut located across the street from the market, you’ll find local “schmalznudel,” fried dough. There are many kinds for you to choose from. If you’re looking for fancier offerings, head to Dallmayr Food Market. It offers top quality food ingredients and ready-made food items from all over the Europe. On the second floor of the shop is a bistro & cafe where you can stop for an espresso and some cake.

London, England — Borough Market

London is not well known for its cuisine but if you visit Borough Market, you may think otherwise. Yes, it has vendors for fresh produce from all over Europe, but I’d suggest that you visit the market with an empty stomach to make sure you can sample all the food vendors. These vendors offer European dishes as well as Asian flavors and some offer a modern twist to it.

Lyon, France — Les Halles Paul Bocuse

Chef Paul Bocuse was a legendary chef in France known for his quality and innovative cuisines. So, you can be assured that the market named after such a legend in a country that takes culinary arts very seriously will not disappoint. It’s heaven to any serious foodies as the vendors showcase any food ingredient you can possibly think of. Take a pick among numerous cafes & bistros located in the market to have a meal and take a break while you soak up the market scene. To name a few, Chez Antonin offers fresh seafood, Les Garcons Bouchers is a meat heavy restaurant and Boulangerie Jocteur is a well-known bakery within the local area.

Barcelona, Spain — Mercat de la Boqueria

All the robust flavors of Spain can be found in this market to include tropical fruits, fresh produce, nuts, sweets and an amazing selection of fresh seafood. One thing you don’t want to miss is a chance to stock up on supply of Spanish jamón, or ham. Be sure to pay close attention to “jamón Ibérico de Bellota,” a traditionally acorn-fed Spanish ham, which is one of the most expensive hams in the world and is wildly popular around Europe.

Budapest, Hungary — Great Market Hall (Central Market Hall)

Popular with locals and tourists, this market houses thousands of stalls. Other than the usual suspects of various sausages and pickled veggies, you’ll find “lángos,” deep-fried dough with toppings, pretty easily. If you love having this Hungarian specialty at fests, compare how it tastes in its origin country in a main menu and dessert form. You may never want to go back to the ones you try at your local fest.

Amsterdam, Netherlands — Albert Cuyp Market

Conveniently located in the streets behind the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam, Albert Cuyp Market is filled with food stalls that will satisfy your cravings after a couple of pints at the Heineken Experience. The market is outdoors filled with different stalls offering fresh food ingredients but also surrounded by numerous restaurants and cafes. Among them, these are the two stalls to visit; the spicy chicken sandwich and stoop waffle ones.

Odessa, Ukraine — Privoz Market

Due to recent popularity over a TV show depicting the Chernobyl nuclear incident in 1986, Ukraine is gaining tourism. So, why not explore the Ukrainian food market? This market in Odessa is more of a traditional open market rather than modernized facilities in other European food markets. But because of its proximity to Asia and Europe, you’ll find more wide variety of flavors here than any other European markets. While various pickled vegetables and spiced sausages have deep eastern culture roots to them, pastries and sweets similarly represent those found in western cultures.

Florence, Italy — Sant’Ambrogio Market

In the heart of Tuscany, this market brings all the Italian goodies in one place: Wine, olive oil, parmesan cheese, ham and Modena vinegar. It’s not as touristy as other markets on this list as you’ll find more locals shopping for their own, which means you can treat yourself to a real Italian food experience.

Lisbon, Portugal - Time Out Market

This popular market is crowded with tourists and locals for a reason. It’s filled with vendors offering fresh food ingredients and gourmet foods. Along with “pastel de nata,” custard tarts, fresh seafood dishes and croquettes, you’ll find port wine and wine tasting menus as well. As it’s often crowded you may have a hard time finding a table to seat but your patience will be rewarded with the next few hours of tasting great food and wine.

Milan/Rome, Italy - Eataly

Eataly is a high-quality Italian food store and restaurant chain with over 40 stores around the world. Here, you’ll find fresh food ingredients and authentic Italian cuisine as well as cooking classes. It’s obvious that you won’t have a hard time finding a highly rated Italian food market in Milan and Rome, but it’s also hard to judge the authenticity of good value for money restaurants due to heavy saturation on tourism. When it doubt, avoid the hassle and head to a Eataly location for a guaranteed, top-quality food experience.

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