Top Ten Street Markets

Scruffy and chaotic or orderly and refined, the world's street markets offer fresh, local, and often cheap seasonal produce, alongside a slice of local life.
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Top Ten Street Markets: London Borough Market
London's Borough Market at dusk  (Justin Lightley/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty)

10) Borough Market, London, England
London's oldest food market—here for more than 250years—is wholesale most of the week, but Thursdays throughSaturdays it delights foodies with its cornucopia of fine foodsfrom independent suppliers throughout the U.K. and beyond,from the choicest olive oils and cheeses to ostrich burgers and wild-boar sausages.

Planning: In good weather, take a picnic into the gardens of Southwark Cathedral, next to the market.

9) Cours Saleya, Nice, France
This pretty flower-and-food market is so crowded that fellow shoppersjostle you as you shop. Among the essentials of Niçoiscooking are indelicate animal parts like lambs' testicles, andpigs' ears and heads, alongside more internationally acceptableingredients. Lined with cafés and seafood restaurants, the markethas a different atmosphere on summer nights, when it becomes acovered eating area.

Planning: Cours Saleya lies between the sea and the old town and runs Tuesday to Sunday, mornings only.

8) La Vucciria, Palermo, Italy
In a gritty part of Palermo, and reflecting Sicily's heady ethnic brew,the boisterous atmosphere of La Vucciria is more Middle Easternthan European. Musicians bang drums and sing Arabian-infusedballads, the smell of barbecued sausages and kebabs permeates theair. The name comes from the French boucherie (butchers' market)but expect everything from fish to fruits.

Planning: La Vucciria is off Piazza San Domenico. Take a local guide.

7) Kauppatori, Helsinki, Finland
For a taste of the Arctic, hit this fiesta of traditional Finnish fare. Star buys include moose, reindeer, and bear salami; chocolateinfused with salted licorice; and salmon and herring delicacies.

Planning: The open-air market is situated on Helsinki's South Harbor.

6) Kreta Ayer Wet Market, Singapore
Like most things Singaporean, this Chinatown market isspotlessly clean, its floor hosed down regularly for hygiene,hence the term "wet market." But in variety the food is anythingbut sterile: offerings range from turtles, frogs, eels, and snakes(often still alive) to medicinal, dried animal parts. The upstairsfood center offers local breakfast fare, like spicy noodle soup.

Planning: Visit around 6 a.m. to beat the crowds. The market closesaround 1 p.m.

This Top 10 List is just one item on the menu in FOOD JOURNEYS OF A LIFETIME: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe. This beautiful new book from National Geographic presents hundreds of delicious destinations—spotlighting specialties and ingredients, markets, seasonal delights, great food towns, kitchen secrets, ultimate luxuries, and the best in desserts, wine, beer, and more.

Published: 20 Oct 2009 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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