There are, of course, so many sights to behold when traveling to a new place—museums, restaurants, people. Yet amongst all these attractions, there is one that consistently grabs my attention no matter where I am: food markets.
There’s something transcendent about the flurry of colors and smells, the cacophony of vendors and customers exchanging barbs, goods, and money. Dining in a restaurant can be a wonderful tool for understanding the way certain people eat, but visiting a local food market reveals something entirely different about a people, and a place, altogether.
So, in honor of these palaces of taste, we've compiled some of the best around the world. Obviously, there are soooo many more than the nine listed below, but we thought this would be a good place to start. Read on and try not to drool on your keyboard (I dare you!).
Don't just stop at the jaw droppingly fresh seafood and produce. This central Kyoto spot also has all the specialty kitchen goods you could ever dream of. Keep your eye out for samples and smaller bites to munch while you shop, like Kyoto's signature sweets and pickles.
It'd be hard to miss this world-renowned market. Not only is it huge, but it's also stuffed to the gills with all types of Spanish munchies. Go straight for the jamón and queso, but allow yourself to get distracted by everything else along the way.
Tucked into the heart of Little Italy, this charming thoroughfare is brimming with a vibrant fruit and vegetable selection. If you stop by in the summer, revel in the foot traffic—from June to October, no vehicles are allowed into the market.
This Copenhagen market is super duper. Pop in for some groceries but leave with a belly (and a bag!) full of specialty chocolates and top-notch coffee. Don't forget to stop by Hija de Sanches for some of the best tacos around.
The produce displays dotting this marketplace are definitely worth a look, but the real magic happens on the second floor. The upstairs is surrounded by fish restaurants churning out local delicacies with only the freshest seafood.
Pop a squat and watch a Roman afternoon slide right by in this Italian marketplace. An espresso and panino will definitely do the trick...
If the name itself doesn't sell you, the food at this Malaysian night market will. The hawker food center is populated by locals and tourists alike who gather for live music and an even livelier atmosphere.
It's hard to know where to look in this extravagantly beautiful Turkish marketplace—colors and smells and spices abound. Indulge in the wide variety of dried fruits and herbs while you're at it.
This old timey market is tucked into the city's oldest quarter. Meander amongst the fruit stalls before stopping to enjoy a choripán, which is a South American sausage sandwich, right around the corner.
Do you have a favorite food market? Tell us about it in the comments below.