One of the best ways to get a sense of a place is through your taste buds, and we love going right to the source at different food markets. Savor some of our favorite markets (and street food!) around the world.
Jemaa El-Fna, Morocco | View Itineraries
Set near Marrakech’s historic Medina, Jemaa El-Fna is a feast for the senses. Spices intricately stacked into high cones, dimly lit stalls selling everything from rugs and lanterns to snail soup and sheep’s head, and the sounds of snake charmers and Berber musicians all create a wonderful and adventurous experience of the souk. For those who have a sweet tooth, you’ll find lots of delicate pastries and cookies that are as appealing to the eye as they are the taste buds.
Dong Ba Market, Vietnam | View Itineraries
With a location right at the gate of the old city, Dong Ba is the largest market in Hue. The morning is bustling with traders and locals buying produce in every color and shape. The crowds thin in the afternoon, where you can stroll past stalls selling a variety of wares, and grab a seat for some local delicacies. Seek out the banh canh vendors on the outer perimeter of the market—they often wear the recognizable conical hats—and slurp on delicious Bun bo Hue, a spicy beef soup saturated with lemongrass, a top favorite the city is known for, and other stir-fried specialties.
Palermo, Sicily | View Itinerary
Italy is the king country of food markets, so it was difficult to choose one, but one of our favorites is actually located on the small island of Sicily. Past civilizations have all left a mark on Sicily’s culinary style and the result is a mouthwatering destination full of Arab, Mediterranean, and Italian flavors. In Palermo, the markets are known for their insanely fresh fish—think mackerel the size of a plate—and other savory spices and treats. We recommend sampling panelle, a savory pancake made with fried chickpeas, and gelato at one of the many umbrella-covered stalls.
Otavalo Market, Ecuador | View Itineraries
With its epic location cradled between two dormant volcanoes, and a history dating back to pre-Inca times, the town of Otavalo is home to one of the most famous markets in all of Latin America. In Plaza de Ponchos market, you’ll find colorful textiles from indigenous communities alongside many culinary delights. One of our favorites is motes, a local dish with corn and pork, topped with crispy pork skin and fresh salsa.
Toyosu Fish Market, Japan
Located on a man-made island along the outskirts of Tokyo stands Toyosu Fish Market, one of the largest fish markets in the world. The market was formerly Tsukiji Fish Market, which closed its inner market in 2018 to move to much larger space in nearby Toyosu. Row upon row of fresh fish—from the most common to the more curious species—are displayed throughout the market’s buildings. If you’re an early riser, catch the famous tuna auction around 5:00 am from the observation deck and visit some of the many seafood restaurants. For those looking for fewer crowds, you can opt to visit the still-open Tsukiji outer market to explore an array of culinary shops (they have fantastic chef knives and kitchen gadgets), and of course, some delicious sushi and ramen spots.
Banjarmasin Floating Market, Borneo
This market is as unique as it gets. Dozens of boats line the waterways in Borneo’s Martapura River in the morning to sell and barter with fresh fruit, homemade pastries, and other delights. You also might hear the sounds of traditional musicians serenading the vendors and buyers.