Markets are very dense with culture. Often, the local market is where locals come to buy and sell, so the products are not made for tourists. This is the space to experience local foods by seeing, smelling, and tasting it. You get an opportunity to interact with locals and see what their grocery list looks like versus yours at home. It also shows you what is popular to that culture. For example, in Turkey they sell lots of intricately painted dishes and plates which is part of the country’s history. Markets tend to be very crowded and loud, but don’t let this intimidate you!
Fun Fact: Depending on where you are in the world, a market could be called a “Bazaar” or a “Shuk.”
Local markets almost always have the lowest prices for the freshest items. This is because it’s just one big trade center of people making deals, rather than a big corporation. Most of the time, the sellers will write high starting prices, knowing that people will haggle, regardless of what the start price is.
Just like the diversity in countries, markets around the world will be very different. You get to see what a country is all about. For example, in the Middle East, there are many spices that are very popular in their cuisine that you can smell and taste- if you want. In Nordic countries there is a lot of fish because it’s close to the water. Markets are great for people watching, as there is often music playing, people dancing and singing, or shoving and pushing, it just depends on where you are. Markets are also an easy place to talk to locals and ask questions, especially if you’re asking about their products, they’ll be happy to help if it means making a sale.
Fun Fact: There are “floating markets” where the market is held on water and you buy items on boats. These are mostly found in Asia.
Markets usually don’t have just food, but all kinds of things. There are a lot of handmade, one of a kind items you can find. From art to jewelry to clothing. You can find some of the most unique things and most of the time, if you ask the seller, they will have some kind of story behind it. Finding exotic treasures is a great way to learn more about the country’s history and culture. It’s also the place to get your souvenirs in bulk!