Markets might be the new fine dining restaurants. Hear me out. Markets combine all the things that modern patrons enjoy:

affordability, fresh ingredients, ethical sourcing, artisanal preparations and casual social experiences. You don’t have to dress up, make a reservation or leave the kids at home. You still get to enjoy unique and diverse dishes, and you can sometimes buy the ingredients that were used for those dishes at the market.

Fine dining restaurants aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Few people plan to propose marriage or have their graduation dinner in the middle of a bustling food market. But patrons also want something that combines mind-blowing culinary experiences with the leisure of a Sunday morning. Which is why South Africans find themselves in the middle of a food market boom. I love going to food markets whenever I get the chance. They’re a hub of innovation where I can always find something inspiring (and delicious) to try.

Here are six of my favourite South African food markets:

1. Neighbourgoods (Cape Town)

Neighbourgoods is one of Cape Town’s most popular markets. It takes place every Saturday at The Old Biscuit Mill in the hip and revitalised neighbourhood of Woodstock and is celebrating its 12th year. Do a quick lap around the venue and you’ll be seduced by a mix of sweet, spicy, fresh and savoury aromas from all directions. It’s a nucleus of creativity and an excellent source of exotic ingredients and daring dishes.

2. The Bluebird Garage Foods and Goods Market (Muizenberg)

Tucked away in the quiet coastal town of Muizenberg, The Bluebird Garage Market’s provincial aesthetic (it’s held in a small, abandoned hangar with old surfboards suspended from the ceiling) belies the treasures it holds. Every Friday evening, Muizenberg locals gather in this relaxed setting to share food, wine, craft beer and an eclectic mix of other treats from Muizenberg and other parts of the country. The Bluebird Garage Market is where you’re most likely to find a renowned gourmand and an ordinary culinary hobbyist exchanging opinions on the versatility of bulgur wheat.

3. Fourways Farmers Market (Johannesburg)

The Fourways Farmers Market was started with the idea of providing a cosy meeting place for local artisans and the residents of Johannesburg’s northern suburbs. It’s a family-friendly farmers market with live music, beautiful lavender and rose gardens, quaint outdoor furniture made from tree trunks and a selection of delicious food and drinks that are destined for Instagram fame. The Fourways Farmers Market is open every Friday evening and Sunday mornings and afternoons.

4. Little Addis (Johannesburg)

Also known as Little Ethiopia, Little Addis is the Ethiopian district located in the heart of Johannesburg’s inner city on Jeppe Street. It’s a vibrant bazaar filled with Ethiopian music, fabrics, art and authentic cuisine. Little Addis is a growing attraction with Joburgers coming from various parts of the city to sample a criminally under-represented culture. Ethiopian cuisine specialises in vegetarian fare, making this food market a must-visit for any vegetarians looking to try something new.

5. Pretoria Boeremark

The 21-year-old Pretoria Boeremark is perhaps one of the longest-running food markets in the country. It also evokes the strongest sense of the traditional definition of a farmers market. You can be sure that you will find giant-sized, organically grown produce, more flavours of boerewors than you can taste in one day, homemade rusks and gooey, treacly koeksisters – all for a fraction of supermarket prices.  

6. The Morning Trade (Durban)

The Morning Trade is Durban’s go-to market for fresh ingredients and an easy Sunday. It’s situated in Morningside and was started to encourage people to buy more locally and ethically. There’s a vast array of farm-fresh produce, free-range meat cuts, fair trade coffee and cruelty-free speciality goods. It’s a valuable find for any foodie who cares about the origin and supply chain of their food.

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Author : Rudi Badenhorst