Market spaces are one of the lifelines of civilisation and being the centre of activity, markets were shut down to control the outbreak of coronavirus. Closure of some of the iconic markers across the world was not only a loss to locals but travellers too as these food markets are on top of the list of tourists.
Food markets are and always have been the reflection of the culture of the community it belongs to. From seasonal produce to exotic ingredients, every food market tells a tale that is unique to the region. Here are some of the most popular food markets the world cannot wait to see returning to its original glory.
Did you know that the largest wholesale spice market in Asia is in Delhi? Khari Baoli is a trading centre known for its historic past of four centuries. This iconic market is situated at the Western end of Chandni Chowk, close to the historic landmark Red Fort. Its authenticity and top quality produce have sheltered it from the need to change with time. In fact, some of the shops still go by the old names like Chawalwala 13, Number 21 ki Dukaan and 15 Number ki Dukaan. The shops sell spices, rice, tea, nuts, and herbs. Since Delhi became a hotspot, Khari Baoli has been closed.
Borough Market has been a retail and wholesale market since the 12th century. This iconic city landmark still has buildings that were built in the 1850s. It sells fresh produce, including fish, meat, vegetables, ciders, cheeses, bread, coffees and pastries, from all over the country. It has over 100 stalls. The market is visually pleasing as well, and it has featured in several popular movies, including Harry Potter. The market has remained open during the lockdown but not in its full glory. And restrictions have been lifted since early June and more regular traders are coming back.
This 17th-century market is named after the ancient markets of Beijing. Vendors come here in the evening and sell their produce till dawn. Back in the day, it was a wholesale trade centre for vegetables and fruits. Today, it is a busy food street with over 150 restaurants and shops selling traditional Chinese food. It is known for delicacies like crayfish, crabs, Wanzhou roast fish, Bao Du, and Peking duck.
Hanoi night market is popular among tourists and locals alike as the best place to enjoy the nightlife of Vietnam. The three-kilometre food street extends from Hang Dao Street, North of Hoan Kiem Lake to the Dong Xuan market. It is a weekend market famous for rice dishes, local beers, Chinese Hot Pots and all sorts of Vietnamese treats. It has about 2000 shops. Vietnam has not seen any community infections in the past two months and recorded a total of only 355 cases. This small country had no deaths due to coronavirus. The economic activities will soon resume in Vietnam.
San Miguel tapas market is one of the oldest in Madrid. It is a major tourist attraction as tapas cuisine is unique to Spain. Situated in a beautiful glass structure, the market features a diverse range of tapas, drinks, hams, olives, caviar, and several baked goods. The market is also popular for fairs and festivals. It has over 30 vendors. It is known for authentic local foods like oysters and sea urchins too. Spain entered lockdown in March 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak and Madrid has only started to ease restrictions.
La Merced is situated around the main plaza of Mexico City. This hub of trade is spread across several large buildings around the plaza. Vendors come here to sell Mexican spices, such as epazote (a herbal tea known to be reminiscent of oregano), chilli peppers, and nopals (cactus pads). It is also known for Mexican street food delicacies, such as tamales and huaraches. Mexico saw a large number of COVID-19 cases but Mexico City has been lifting lockdown measures slowly since June third week. Street markets around the city may open by the end of the month.
The historic spice market of Istanbul is known for its connection to the Ottoman era and a large variety of spices. Back in the more glorious days, the Spice Bazaar was the last stop for camel caravans on the Silk Route from China, India and Persia. It is part of the New Mosque at the moment. Over 90 shops sell spices, Turkish delights, caviar, dried herbs, honey, and other edibles. Some exotic items you will find here are a variety of cheeses from Anatolia and Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi, a renowned coffee producer. Even though the city has opened many public spaces including the Grand Bazar, the Spice Bazaar is effectively abandoned at the moment. The vendors are left with a crippled supply chain and lack of customers.
Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo is known as the biggest wholesale hub for seafood and fish. It is most popular for tuna auctions that start at 3 AM every morning. Restaurateurs and other vendors are seen aiming for the best one. It has been reported that the market sells 2900 tonnes of fish on a typical day, closing an everyday business worth 12 million dollars. A number of shops serving raw fish delicacies like kaisen- don (seafood donburi) and sashimi, as well as Japanese foods like pickles, sushi, dried beans, and kitchenware, are also present at the market. The market has reopened since early June with fewer active hours.
St. Lawrence is a public market in the Toronto City of Ontario Province in Canada. It has been repeatedly hailed as one of the best food markets in the world. Even though the market sells fresh farm produce, fish, and meat, it is known for its chocolates, freshly baked bread, wine, and cheese. The iconic city landmark was opened to business in June with restrictions.