10 Must-Visit Markets for Authentic Street Food Around the World - Gwangjang Market in Seoul, South Korea - Frayed Passport

10 Must-Visit Markets for Authentic Street Food Around the World

10 Must-Visit Markets for Authentic Street Food Around the World

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10 Must-Visit Markets for Authentic Street Food Around the World - Gwangjang Market in Seoul, South Korea - Frayed Passport

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For some, the thrill of travel is about tasting something entirely new and savoring flavors that we can’t get anywhere else.

If you’re a foodie traveler, we’d love to introduce you to some fantastic markets around the world—from the trendy Neighbourgoods Market in Cape Town to the enormous Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, there’s something special for everyone at all of these wonderful destinations.

Let’s go!


Photo by (っ◔◡◔)っ Clement 🇰🇷 on Unsplash

Bangkok, Thailand: Chatuchak Weekend Market

The largest market in Thailand, Chatuchak Weekend Market, has over 15,000 stalls divided into 27 different sections selling food and drink, clothing and accessories, furniture and home decor, plants and gardening supplies, antiques and collectibles, and much more. If you’re looking for an eclectic and delicious foodie adventure, you’ll find all kinds of fantastic eats at this market—such as Pad Thai (usually served with shrimp or chicken), grilled squid, papaya salad, and mango sticky rice.

Tokyo, Japan: Memory Lane (Omoide Yokocho)

Memory Lane, or Shinjuku Omoide Yochoko, features narrow alleys with small eateries and bars under neon lights. It’s a great place to go, especially at night—there are about 60 bars and restaurants, plus stores and other vendors in this tiny area. While you’re here, try out the takoyaki, which are ball-shaped snacks filled with minced octopus and cooked in a special molded pan, giving them a crispy exterior and soft interior. If you’re looking for ramen, you can easily find stalls catering to your tastes here as well.

Seoul, South Korea: Gwangjang Market

Gwangjang Market, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in Seoul—and the first permanent market in Korea—has over 5,000 shops and is visited by about 65,000 people daily. You can find traditional medicines, crafts and souvenirs, furniture and antiques, and lots more at this market, but by far the most popular section is its food! Don’t miss dishes like bindaetteok and tteokbokki while you’re here: bindaetteok is a pancake made from ground mung beans fried until crisp, typically including pork, kimchi, and bean sprouts. Tteokbokki is a spicy rice cake cooked in a red chili sauce, often with added fish cakes and boiled eggs.

Related: 5 Must-See Asian Night Markets: Shilin Night Market & More


10 Must-Visit Markets for Authentic Street Food Around the World - La Boqueria in Barcelona, Spain - Frayed Passport

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Istanbul, Turkey: Kadıköy Market

Located on the Asian side of Istanbul, Kadıköy Market has more of a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere than many other markets on this list and is a wonderful place for foodie travelers looking for a mix of European and Asian flavors. Kadıköy offers an array of regional specialties, including simit—a circular bread covered with sesame seeds (kind of a Turkish bagel), best enjoyed with tea or as a snack throughout the day. Stuffed mussels, filled with a mixture of rice, pine nuts, and currants, are a common sight. And baklava, a layered dessert made of filo pastry, filled with chopped nuts, and sweetened with syrup, is also widely available.

Rome, Italy: Testaccio Market

Testaccio Market in Rome is a lively little recently refreshed market full of fresh produce, pasta, snacks, and other bites for travelers wanting to explore Italian cuisine. Here, you’ll find freshly made pasta dishes, an assortment of pizzas, and scoops of gelato in traditional and innovative flavors. Pasta offerings often include classic Roman recipes like carbonara and amatriciana.

Barcelona, Spain: La Boqueria

La Boqueria Market, located off the bustling Las Ramblas in Barcelona, is known for its extensive selection of food items, specializing in tapas ranging from olives and cheeses to small seafood plates and much more. Fresh seafood stalls display a variety of fish and shellfish, which you can get cooked to order. And if you’re looking for something sweet, then be sure to pick up some churros—a favorite deep-fried and sugared pastry—with warm chocolate for dipping!

Related: Pick Some Fruits and We’ll Recommend a Destination with Amazing Outdoor Markets (Quiz)

Latin America

10 Must-Visit Markets for Authentic Street Food Around the World - La Merced Market in Mexico City - Frayed Passport

Photo by Sebastian Martinez Dominguez on Unsplash

Mexico City, Mexico: La Merced

La Merced, the largest traditional market in Mexico City (and in operation for hundreds of years!), is a must-visit for foodie travelers. Among the culinary highlights are tacos al pastor, which have marinated pork cooked on a vertical spit and served on small tortillas with pineapple, onions, and cilantro. Tamales, another staple you can find at the market, consist of masa (corn dough) filled with meats, cheeses, or chilies, wrapped in corn husks, and steamed. And you can’t miss elote—grilled corn typically coated with mayonnaise, cotija cheese, and chili powder.

Lima, Peru: Surquillo Market

Surquillo Market in Lima is a superb showcase of Peru’s culinary highlights—the market is known for its fresh produce and a wide variety of Peruvian dishes. Ceviche, one of Peru’s signature dishes, contains fresh fish marinated in citrus juices with onions, cilantro, and chili peppers. Lomo saltado, a popular fusion dish you can’t miss, is made of stir-fried beef mixed with onions, tomatoes, and fries, usually served over rice. You can also find delicious fruit juices made from Peru’s abundant fruit varieties around the market for a refresh.

Related: Peruvian Food 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Traditional Dishes


10 Must-Visit Markets for Authentic Street Food Around the World - Jemaa el-Fnaa Market in Marrakech, Morocco - Frayed Passport

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Marrakech, Morocco: Jemaa el-Fnaa

Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakech serves as a historical square and a dynamic food market. During the day, the square hosts various stalls, but as evening approaches, it transforms into a busy night market with food vendors and live entertainment. Traditional Moroccan street foods dominate the offerings, including tagine, a slow-cooked stew usually made with meat, vegetables, and spices served in an earthenware pot. You can also find kebabs of skewered and grilled meat, as well as harira, a rich soup made with tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, and meat.

Cape Town, South Africa: Neighbourgoods Market

Located in the trendy Woodstock, Cape Town area, Neighbourgoods Market reflects a modern approach to traditional markets with an emphasis on organic and locally sourced products. South African culinary specialties are prominent here, including biltong, a type of dried, cured meat, and bunny chow, a dish consisting of a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with curry. This market caters to food lovers and attracts those interested in clothing, accessories, gifts, and lots more. The setting in a revamped industrial building adds a contemporary flair to the traditional market experience.

Over to you! What are some other must-visit markets you can recommend from your travels? Share your stories and thoughts with the Frayed Passport community!

About the Author

Heather is a freelance writer who loves exploring the intersection of travel and history. Read her other articles on Frayed Passport here.

Featured image by Chait Goli on Pexels.

The post 10 Must-Visit Markets for Authentic Street Food Around the World appeared first on Frayed Passport.


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Hi, I’m Steven, a Florida native, who left my career in corporate wealth management six years ago to embark on a summer of soul searching that would change the course of my life forever.