Sep 20, 2022
If you’re one who lives to eat, why not weave a visit to a local food market into your itinerary the next time you travel? While it’s always easier to grab a comfy seat in a restaurant, there’s no better way to uncover a city’s best-kept secrets and experience its culture than to jostle with the locals at some of the best markets around the world.
With everything from seasonal produce that you can take home to prepare using your fully-equipped kitchenette to ready-to-go meals that you can eat while on the move, these are our picks for the best food markets in the world to go on a gourmet adventure.
Thailand is no stranger to popular markets - it’s where you’ll find bargain fashion finds, knick-knacks and everything under the sun. And if it’s a food market that you’re looking for, then the Or Tor Kor food market in Bangkok is a must-visit.
It’s only a hop, skip and jump away from the popular Chatuchak Weekend Market, and is one of the best fresh markets in the world. The artfully displayed array of colourful vegetables and tropical fruits are enough to get your taste buds working overtime, while the selection of fresh seafood, homemade curry pastes and spice powders are second to none.
The food court is the best part of the market, with rows of incredible street food stalls. Try the mackerel curry with steamed rice or crunchy green papaya salad with crab. On a cooler day, a steaming bowl of noodles in soup with slices of roasted duck along with freshly made kanom krok (grilled coconut pancakes) will hit the spot. Before you go home, pick up some sweet, golden mangoes; homemade shrimp paste and khao lam, a sticky rice dessert mixed with red beans and coconut, and cooked in bamboo.
Opening hours: 6am – 8pm daily
Getting here: Kamphaeng Phet MRT is the nearest station, 11 stops away from Modena by Fraser Bangkok.
Jalan Alor lies at the heart of Kuala Lumpur, and this food market in Malaysia is always buzzing with locals and tourists. There isn't much movement during the day, but after the sun sets, the food market – which takes up almost the entire street – comes alive with activity.
The entire street is lined with stalls, cafes, and eateries that provide a variety of primarily Chinese hawker fare, ranging from spicy marinated grilled stingray and a range of noodles and rice dishes, to crispy fried intestines and several sorts of satay. Large cold beers or exotic fresh fruit juices (try the sugarcane juice!) can be used to wash down main dishes. Although the majority of menus are written in Chinese characters, some offer an English translation.
Opening hours: 4pm – 3am daily
Getting here: Bukit Bintang Station is only a 5-min walk from Jalan Alor and a 13-min drive from Capri by Fraser, Bukit Bintang. Other nearby train stations include the Raja Chulan and Imbi stations.
Prepare to be bowled over by the wide variety of mouth-watering cuisines at this ancient edifice. From traditional Singaporean fare to beloved worldwide favourites, you will be spoiled for choice. Located in the centre of the financial sector, this food market in Singapore is a genuine landmark in the local landscape, and was declared a national monument in 1973.
Beyond its robust iron, soaring arches, fretted eaves, and thin Victorian columns with beautiful filigree work, you can sip a cold beer and savour must-eat street foods like Hainanese Chicken Rice, Satay, Nasi Lemak and more.
Opening hours: 7am – 2am daily
Getting there: Hop on the North-South MRT line, disembark at Raffles Place MRT station and take Exit I. Lau Pa Sat is also a 13-minute drive from Fraser Suites Singapore and a 10-minute walk from Capri by Fraser, China Square / Singapore.
If you’re partial to a hint of spice, then the Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı) will be heaven for you. Every spice (and spice blend) imaginable can be found at this food market in Turkey, alongside an impressive array of sweets, nuts, dried fruits and cooking oils. This is also the place to stock up on authentic Turkish delights and Turkish coffee.
Sometimes also known as the Egyptian Bazaar, this historical 17th-century food market was built as part of the New Mosque (Yeni Camii) complex. A pro tip to remember would be to bargain hard as the markups before haggling can be anywhere between 15 and 50%. If the Spice Bazaar is not enough, continue your shopping at the Grand Bazaar, another one of the most historical places in Istanbul. Just a 10-minute walk away, it has 61 maze-like streets where you can get lost in its shops for hours.
Opening hours: 8am – 7pm (Mon-Sat), 9.30am – 7pm (Sun)
Getting there: The Line 1 tram takes you to Eminonu, which is a 5-minute walk away from the bazaar. A car will take you from Fraser Place Anthill to the market in 20 minutes.
Sitting in the heart of Barcelona is the famous La Bouqueria food market, the ultimate foodie destination to truly taste Catalan culture. Start at the centre, where you’ll see some of the best fresh seafood displays in the world. Then work your way outwards through the stalls offering everything from ham and sausages to vibrant vegetables and pickled olives.
While you can nibble on samples throughout the fresh market, you should save some space for the tapas stalls forming the market perimeter, where you can tuck into everything from fried baby squid to chickpeas with morcilla (blood sausage). It’s also simple enough to cook in the comfort of your own residence with the delicious ingredients you source at the market. While on the pricey side, it’s worth taking home some Jamón Ibérico, a unique cured ham only made in Spain and Portugal. Top it off with other local produce like Manchego cheese and Padrón peppers.
Opening hours: 8am – 8:30pm daily. Closed on Sundays.
Getting there: Liceu Metro station sits at the doorstep of the market. A car will also take you from Capri by Fraser, Barcelona in 15 minutes.
This vibrant outdoor food market in Paris is the largest of its kind and the best place to go for authentic French food and culture. Marché Bastille’s commitment to offering the freshest and seasonal produce proves successful, with the market being popular with locals as with tourists all year round.
Head to the centre of the market and watch galettes, Breton buckwheat crepes, made by skilful hands before ordering your own sweet or savoury snack. Seafood lovers must pay a visit to the main oyster stall for freshly shucked oysters. Hold out the empty shell after you’re done — it will be filled with a nip of white wine from a bottle behind the counter. Don’t forget to grab some classic camembert cheese, morel mushrooms and the quintessential crusty baguette too!
Opening hours: 7am – 2.30pm (Thurs); 7am – 3pm (Sun)
Getting there: The market is a short walk from the Bastille metro station, 9 stops from Franklin D Roosevelt station near Fraser Suites Le Claridge Champs-Élysées.
Perth, the sun-drenched capital of Western Australia, is one of the world's most remote capital capitals and exudes a refreshingly laid-back atmosphere. Twilight Hawkers Market at Forrest Place is the main Perth food market, dishing out alfresco delights. With a wide variety of culinary selections, including salty, sweet, and foreign dishes from all over the world, your taste buds will love you for it – think satay sticks, baos, paella, and ice cream for a sweet treat. Pull up a small stool, take in the live entertainment for the evening, and take in the festive atmosphere permeating the market.
Opening hours: 4:30pm – 9:30pm (Fridays only)
Getting there: The market is a 15-minute bus ride from Fraser Suites Perth.
This popular food market in the heart of London has been attracting foodies for more than 1,000 years. Borough Market still the best place to go for fresh produce and a diverse, international selection of edible treats. With so many options here, you can be assured of a full meal after getting your groceries done.
Don’t miss the handmade tortelloni stuffed with a spectrum of ingredients like crayfish, beef, burrata or even wild boar at La Tua Pasta. Vegetarians and vegans can check out Gujarati Rasoi, which offers traditional homecooked Indian fare, while Soul Food has light, healthy, Caribbean-inspired options such as BBQ lamb wraps and a classic Trinidadian chicken pelau.
Come later in the week when all stalls are trading and you’ll have access to a full selection of products on offer, which includes locally made raclette cheese, ethically produced raw honey from East London, organic handmade English pork sausages or freshly shucked Cornish native oysters.
Opening hours: 10am – 5pm (Mon-Thurs); 10am – 6pm (Fri) & 8am – 5pm (Sat). Closed Sundays.
Getting there: The market is a 5-minute walk from London Bridge tube station. Alternatively, driving from Fraser Suites Kensington will take about 20 to 30 minutes.
Housing small producers, local creatives, artisans, and independent retailers along with prominent brands under one roof, Old Spitalfields Market is a must visit. It began operating in 1666 as a fruit and vegetable market, and over time, new cultures, trades, business from across the globe have found a place to flourish here.
This food market is home to a variety of food stands that sit alongside bars, and individual vendors selling handmade crafts, jewellery, clothing, and more. Public art and event programmes are also presented here.
Opening hours: 10am – 6pm (Mon, Tues, Weds, Fri); 8am – 6pm (Thurs); 10am – 6pm (Sat) & 10am – 5pm (Sun)
Getting there: Closest train stations are Liverpool Street (5 minutes), Shoreditch High St. (7 minutes) and Aldgate East (8 minutes). The market is a 20-minute walk from Fraser Residence Monument.
Adapted from Fraser Cachet Issue #34 © Frasers Hospitality and SPH Magazines. Updated in September 2022.