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Mercado San Miguel

Mercado San Miguel is one of Madrid’s amazing public markets. Photo: Jennifer Olvera

Visiting public markets is a great way to witness daily life and get a sense of place when traveling to a new city. Sometimes the experience is awe-inspiring. Other times an over-sensory experience awaits, one filled with unfamiliar sights, sounds and scents.

In Mexico City, Mercado de la Merced, Cerrada del Rosario at Calle General Anaya, is not to be missed. Expect mounds of fresh produce, dried chiles, cactus and wild mushrooms from all over Mexico, tucked into stalls that have been strung with piñatas.

Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market is, simply, a cool spot to be. Situated within former city hall offices at Jarvis and Front Streets, its vendors proffer meat, spices and fresh, local produce of endless kinds. When it’s warm, a farmers’ market spills into the parking lot, expanding the bounty. An on-site chef series adds further allure.

When in Stockholm, make your way to Östermalms Saluhall, 114 39 Stockholm, a fantastic food hall chock-full of noteworthy cafes and restaurants, among them standout Lisa Elmqvist Fisk, a seafood spot where you can both shop for and be served incomparable catches.

Overwhelming is one word that comes to mind when visiting Chandni Chowk, the sprawling Old Delhi marketplace where vibrant colors, a crush of traffic and narrow alleyways reveal Jalebiwala, a sweet shop that’s over a century old; a jewelry-centric bazaar along Dariba Kalan Road; and Paratha Wali Gali, where options for parathas (Indian-style flat bread) abound.

Veering in another direction entirely is Madrid’s Mercado San Miguel, Plaza de San Miguel, s/n 28005, an elegant spot for prepared fare—fresh-shucked oysters, tapas with sherry—as well as fresh-caught seafood, vibrant produce and pastries.

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Jennifer Olvera

Jennifer Olvera

Jennifer Olvera is a culinary travel writer, recipe developer and author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Chicago. Find her on Twitter at @olverajennifer.
Jennifer Olvera

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