12 Top Markets for Food and Drinks, According to the Experts

From Marrakech to Kyoto, Rome to Paris, here are the local markets worth planning a trip around.

<p>Julia Knop/laif/Redux</p>

Julia Knop/laif/Redux

There's no better way to get acquainted with a city than by exploring its famed markets. Whether it's one that's been around for centuries or one that's relatively new, serving up the best bites the city has to offer.

Food markets have long been the center of communities, showcasing bite by bite a true sense of place. And, at a market, everyone is welcome. There are no reservations to be had or hosts to schmooze for the best seat in the house, because all you need to do is pull up a stool or wait in queue for your turn to order. And though food markets are a centuries old idea, more and more are attracting chefs who are willing to take risks in smaller kitchens and show off local flavors.

Food & Wine's second annual Global Tastemaker awards celebrates these dynamic culinary locations, showcasing both the history of the city as well as the bites that make it a destination worth seeking out. We tapped our panel of travel and food experts to share their insights on why these markets stand out among the rest.

Here are 12 standout markets around the world that are a dream destination for anyone who loves a good meal, and our plus one pick.

La Boqueria (Barcelona, Spain)

<p>Valérie Teppe/Hans Lucas/Redux</p>

Valérie Teppe/Hans Lucas/Redux

Step into a cathedral of Catalan cuisine at La Boqueria, which has been around since 1840, serving up local favorites. Here, travelers will find vibrant food stalls offering fresh produce, seafood, meats, and an array of area delicacies. From jamón ibérico at stalls like Joan La llar del Pernil to mouth-watering tapas bars like El Quim de la Boqueria, it's a true food paradise.

Tsukiji Outer Market (Tokyo, Japan)

<p>Claude Beaudemoulin/Hans Lucas/Redux</p>

Claude Beaudemoulin/Hans Lucas/Redux

Tsukiji's Outer Market is a bustling hub of culinary activity, but is especially perfect for those looking to dive deep into Japan's seafood culture. Inside the narrow lanes, guests can peruse the various sushi stalls and watch master chefs as they work, including at Tsukiji Koromo Sushi, a nine-seat restaurant worth waiting in line for, and Tsukiji Kagura Honten, well known for having the best sushi rice in town.

Borough Market (London, England)

<p>Li Ying Xinhua / eyevine/Redux</p>

Li Ying Xinhua / eyevine/Redux

Explore London's diverse culinary scene all in one place with a visit to Borough Market. The historic market, which dates back to the 1850s, offers a taste of everything from British cheeses at Bath Soft Cheese Co. and craft beers at The Rake to international street food like Arabica Bar & Kitchen, Borough undoubtedly has the flavor you're looking for.

La Merced Market (Mexico City, Mexico)

<p>Julia Knop/laif/Redux</p>

Julia Knop/laif/Redux

La Merced is a place where the soul of Mexican cuisine is both preserved and celebrated. The sprawling market offers a array of flavors, including at places like Cinco Hermanos, a famed taqueria, which uses meats from its adjoining butcher shop, and El Pollo, which offers hungry guests quesadillas that will fill their belly and their soul.

Nishiki Market (Kyoto, Japan)

<p>Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Image</p>

Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Image

Travelers in Japan can find one more culinary delight inside the 400-year-old Nishiki Market, a narrow, five-block-long spot that's home to more than 100 shops and restaurants. Be prepared to meander slowly in the midst of hundreds of other guests, but really, this speed ends up working in your favor, so you can stop, look, and taste everything along the way. While the stalls inside feature mostly to-go items, travelers can get a sit-down experience along the perimeter at places like Nishiki Warai, which serves warm okonomiyaki, a pan-fried dish made of batter and cabbage.

English Market (Cork, Ireland)

<p>Makasana Photo / Alamy</p>

Makasana Photo / Alamy

The English Market in Cork, established in the 18th century, offers a window into Ireland's rich agricultural and artisanal food scene. The covered market is renowned for its high-quality meats, seafood, dairy products, and is particularly well liked for its breads and pastries, which you can pick up at The Alternative Bread Company. You can also find passionate vendors who are happy to talk about their products for days at spots like Toonsbridge Dairy, made just down the block at a nearby creamery building.

Jemaa El Fna (Marrakech, Morocco)

<p>Universal Images Group / Getty</p>

Universal Images Group / Getty

Jemaa El Fna is a feast for all the senses. Your eyes will be delighted by the spectacular street performers (just don't try to take any photos, unless you're willing to pay for it), your nose will be entranced by the mix of fragrant spices, and your tastebuds will be equally pleased by all there is to try in this market square. At night, this historic square comes alive with hundreds of street food stalls sizzling up kebabs and tajines, alongside others making freshly squeezed orange juice and others making that ever-famous Moroccan mint tea. Go for a meal, just don't forget to buy some spices to take home with you too.

Marché des Enfants Rouges (Paris, France)

<p>Cathrine Stukhard/laif/Redux</p>

Cathrine Stukhard/laif/Redux

Marché des Enfants Rouges may be Paris' oldest covered market, but that doesn't mean it's tired. Inside the intimate space guests can expect a curated selection of French and delicacies, including plenty of local produce. But those looking for the meal of a lifetime shouldn't overlook Les Enfants Du Marché, a food stall by Michael Grosman with Shunta Susuki as the chef de cuisine. Here you can dig into a rotating list of dishes that focus on seafood, including mussels in a gorgonzola cream sauce that will change your life.

Lau Pa Sat (Singapore)

<p>Lauryn Ishak/Bloomberg via Getty Images</p>

Lauryn Ishak/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Lau Pa Sat, or "Old Market," is as distinctive a destination as it gets. Its octagonal shape gives it a unique footprint, and its diverse stalls only add to its allure. Get a local bite at Satay Street, which isn't just one stall, but rather an entire row of them selling — what else — satay. Or, head right to Golden Shoe Hokkien Mee for hokkien mee, a noodle dish made with soy sauce and often topped with pork, squid, fish, and cabbage.

Campo de' Fiori (Rome, Italy)

<p>Mats Silvan / Getty Images</p>

Mats Silvan / Getty Images

Campo de' Fiori is Rome's quintessential outdoor market that's bustling from sun up to sun down. It's a particularly fun place to be early in the day as it's filled with fresh flowers, giving the air a distinctly sweet scent. Stick around to buy some local produce to bring back to your hotel or vacation rental and feel like a real local, and then head to nearby restaurants like Settimio al Pellegrino, and get a scoop of gelato at Gelateria La Romana. You know what? Go ahead and make that two scoops.

Kowloon City Wet Market (Hong Kong, China)

<p>Hanohikirf / Alamy</p>

Hanohikirf / Alamy

Kowloon City Wet Market is the place to be if you're looking for a wide selection of Asian ingredients. The market spans multiple floors making it a place you can get lost in for an entire day as you pick through the gorgeous fruits and vegetables and come eyeball to eyeball with live seafood. There are more than 580 stalls inside so do take your time, and perhaps take up the local tourism board's offer to try the durian — if you dare.

San Telmo Market (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

<p>Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images</p>

Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

San Telmo Market has stood as a central point of life in Buenos Aires since its opening in 1897. In fact, it's so important it was declared a national monument in 2000. Get a taste of local empanadas and choripán in the market, alongside sweet treats like to dulce de leche and even sips of local Malbec wine. Don't miss the Coffee Town stall either for a lesson on picking great beans right from a barista.

Plus One: Mercato di Testaccio (Rome, Italy)

<p>Stefano Dal Pozzolo/contrasto/Redux</p>

Stefano Dal Pozzolo/contrasto/Redux

We know Rome has the Campo de' Fiori, but don't miss its smaller cousin, Mercato di Testaccio, while in town. Here you can indulge in all the great produce and shop a few quaint boutiques. However, if you're short on time, beeline it right to Casa Manca, a pizza shop delivering slices so good you'll be screaming for seconds.

Global Tastemakers is a celebration of the best culinary destinations in the U.S. and abroad. We asked more than 180 food and travel journalists to vote on their favorites, including restaurants and bars, cities, hotels, airports, airlines, and cruises. We then entrusted those results to an expert panel of judges to determine each category’s winners. In many categories, we’ve included a judge’s pick, hand-selected by our expert panel, to shout out more culinary destinations we don’t want our readers to miss. See all the winners at

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