Obviously I like food. My other blog is titled “the kitchen tourist” so it’s not at all surprising that food factors into my travel plans pretty importantly too. Give me a huge variety of food in one place, full of colorful things to look at and sample and photograph, and I’ll happily wander around for hours.
But then, I consider grocery stores legitimate travel destinations. I guess these markets are a little easier to recommend to most people. This works best in large cities, of course, since smaller locations wouldn’t have the customers or (usually) the diversity of offerings.
I grew up going to Maxwell Street Market with my dad and walking past sizzling grills of proper Chicago polishes or tacos and fruit vendors with juicy melons and strawberries. Most higher end street markets leave out the obvious black market goods, but that’s probably better when I’m in a distant place by myself.
My most recent trip was to Los Angeles, where I wandered through the Grand Central Market, Little Tokyo, the Farmer’s Market at the Grove, as well as the Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach. A good range of street food to higher end specialty shops well represented.
I might break these down by city more with other travel posts, but for now I’ll do a short summary. Any other markets or street food sources you’d recommend from your travels?
Hampstead Farmer’s Market, Borough Market, Saturday market by Edgware Road (possibly Church Street Market?)
Definitely not the kind of street food I can get in Chicago. Fresh fenugreek (methi) mixed in, hot naan… YUM
I’m always fascinated by seeing fresh fish for sale in random places, since it’s so rare to see nice fish in Chicago
I’ve seen baked goods at farmer’s markets in Chicago, but this just looked so much nicer. In a not entirely unrelated note, I just discovered from Wikipedia that this neighborhood of London has the highest concentration of millionaires of any area of the UK.
Another advantage to farmer’s market food: it’s definitely made to go
clearly an upscale setting – I like visiting places like this to see what’s common as well as what I take for granted.
Such beautiful vegetables, so beautifully arranged!
If I had the money to travel more often, I’d definitely be eating much better cheese.
We got more delicious unusual flavors of ice cream later in the trip when I was visiting friends in Cornwall. I’d love to try making any number of these.
YUM! I love getting seafood, good seafood, when I’m travelling.
This market seemed more natural to me, more like my memories of Maxwell street – lots of household items and clothing mixed in with food vendors and groceries. People from all ages and backgrounds. I bought cherries, samosas, and a dress. The cherries and the dress cost the same amount. Both good investments.
Reading Terminal Market, Little Italy, Taste of Philadelphia
Reading Terminal Market is a huge complex full of a wide variety of stalls
With its close proximity to trains, there were several booth selling freshly made Amish products
other stores sold household items and there was a piano out for live entertainment
With all the food stalls, they also include wide swaths of seating so people can eat on-premesis
Going on to the Italian Market, a neighborhood full of grocery stores, many with stalls extending out into the sidewalk
Lots of Italian stereotypes everywhere, though I’m not sure how “gravy” or fig trees fit into that
I don’t often see meat on display this way. Can’t say it tempted me to buy anything.
This was my favorite local specialty – ordered it all over the place, since the days were very warm. Made sense to buy it at the “Taste of Philadelphia”
Tacos may not be as traditinally Philadelphian, but this was definitely delicious – the pork was cut into thin slices and loaded on a rotisserie with the sauce, then slowly roasted that way and bits cut off the ends to serve, like a gyro.
French Market, Taste of Chicago
Beautiful desserts at several of the stalls
Meringues make sense in a French market, of course
My sister and friend and I ordered a variety of treats and shared tasting portions around.
Ah, Taste of Chicago – hot, crowded, and overpriced (usually) but still fun
Lobsters are kind of disturbing, y’know?
Los Angeles, 2014
Grand Central Market, the Farmer’s Market at the Grove
My friend Shanya recognized this – it’s more common in Sri Lanka, I guess, where they use the seeds for curry and eat the fruit (though only she and her dad like the flavor). It was a mild sweet flavor, somewhere between strawberry and lychee.
A different Lupita, I think. 🙂
I have no idea how these are usually eaten. I guess I should have asked the people working there, but they seemed kind of busy.
Yeah, this is definitely the treat that I had the most frequently on my trip. Hard to resist frozen treats outdoors in February when you live in Chicago.
I love all the colorful signs everywhere.
I had parathas – SO good
vintage ice cream? I’d definitely check it out the next time I”m there
As recommended, Crepes – but stuffed with seafood, since that’s the kind I can’t get otherwise
And now I’ve completely forgotten the name of this strange thing.
Other reason to love street food/ food festivals / markets – they’re great places to go with friends so everyone can get what they want and you can wander around and enjoy each other’s company. Also, you can take silly photos with the food.
So, friends and internet peoples: any recommendations for more of these I should plan to visit in the future?