There’s no better way to indulge your senses in a new destination than to step into the orderly chaos of a local market and smell, touch, see, and eat your way through it entirely. A walk through some of the best global food markets is instant insight into a culture: neighborly camaraderie, social habits, traditional foods, and customary cooking practices paint a picture of heritage and customs. Market destinations also feature an array of painters, potters, designers, tailors, and other artisans adding more local flavor and appeal to the backdrop.
Toronto’s St. Lawrence market has been a source of fresh food and other goods since 1803 when it teamed up with Toronto City Hall. Redesigned and updated between the mid-1970s and the 1900s, the market has been a staple in Toronto’s shopping market, continues to provide fresh food boost the local economy. Shoppers will find everything from fresh, fairly traded coffee to a variety of seafood within 120 different vendors each Tuesday through Saturday–Saturday being the busiest day of the market week. Three large buildings comprise the market: North, South, and St. Lawrence Hall within Toronto’s Old Town area. Generations of families continue to operate stalls in the market and sell everything from world-famous Canadian bacon (peameal) to freshly baked pies, crisp produce, and freshly made jams and pickled goods.
China’s Kashgar Market has been operating as a Silk Road market for centuries, offering up a host of delicious goods sourced from the region and up for sale each day of the week with the bustling livestock market open for business on Sundays only. Split into two distinct sections, the bazaar is lively, welcoming thousands of shoppers each week, and offers a huge array of foods and goods. If you arrive in the morning you’ll be witness to merchants arriving to their coveted spots by carts pulled by oxen and donkeys, and a backdrop of mostly men appearing more Middle Eastern or European than Chinese. Fruits, spices, nut, exotic produce, and hundreds of other items can be snapped up any day of the week. Most notable and raved about from all walks of life are the lamb kebabs cooked up by several different merchants every day.
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