Top 10 Local Markets in Rome

In Rome, people still shop at their local market. Every “rione” (“REE-own-eh”) has a local market (Some rione can be as small as 20 streets by 20 streets). A local market is the kind of place where you will see older ladies in their house dresses pulling their shopping carts. You will never see a lady in a housedress in a grocery store. For some reason, for a certain generation, shopping at a grocery store requires putting on more formal clothing (Another great thing about Italy is that there are so many people in their 70s, 80s, 90s, and beyond). A local market will be mostly fresh produce and products with some of the other amenities available out of convenience. Clothing stalls seem to be a big thing that crops up at these markets. Most markets will also have bakeries and places for a quick bite.

In Trionfale. Bring your own bottle and pay for the wine.

Here is my list of top ten markets and why. At the bottom is the market where I like to shop.

The main entrance of Trionfale is the light at the end of the photo.

Mercato Trionfale (“Tree-ohn-FALL-eh”), Via Andrea Doria 3 (you can read about here): This is the biggest and oldest of the neighborhood markets, completely covered, with parking underneath. There are rows upon rows of metal box stands. It’s not the most attractive place inside. Some of the nice things about this market are that there is a stall where you can bring your own bottle to fill with wine, there are zero kilometer produce vendors at the back of the market (useful to know in August when the farmers markets shut for August vacation), and there are international produce vendors at the front of the market (one or two). Trionfale is open every morning, except Sundays. The market hours are 7 am – 2 pm, but if you arrive after 1 pm, many of the stalls will be closing for lunch (But, a warning, the vendors will be hangry). Also, many of the vendors will give you samples and some even speak English (not the samples). At the entrance to the market, there is a stall that usually has porchetta (“pork-et-ah”), the famous pork roast, out for you to buy.

At Trionfale, one can buy dried cod.
Esquilino is a whole different vibe.
Esquilino is very international.

Nuovo Mercato Esquilino, Via Principe Amedeo 184: This market is located near Termini train station. This area of town is the “Chinatown” or Banglatown or whatever one calls the international part of town. The market is much bigger than it appears with what appears to be markets within markets. There are stalls selling produce and groceries from Bangladesh, India, Senegal, China, Kenya, Philippines, Italy, and other parts of the world. They also sell halal food. I have even seen rambutan for sale here. There are also fresh fish stalls and the local coffee bar truly feels like another part of the world where this is a refuge for men (there are women in this one, by the way). The market, as well as the whole area, does not feel as clean as one might like but I guess that adds to the charm. It reminds me a bit of the markets of Bangladesh, which could all have been improved with a change of lightbulbs to something less neon and stark.

Esquilino has markets wihin markets.
Esquilino has a seafood area. Actually, I think it has two or three.
Mr. Main Uddin’s Food Stall.

Nuovo Mercato Testaccio, Via Benjamino Franklin: This market is quite different than all the others, also perhaps the cleanest of the markets, or at least feels so because of the good lighting. The roof allows in light and the stalls are painted white giving the market a new feel. It is also fairly new as it was relocated here in 2012. The old version of this market was the largest butchery in Europe. The unusual thing about this market is that it has many eateries making it like a food hall, a trend that has not really taken off in Rome. Due to the food stalls and the eating area in the middle, this place is popular with food tours and lunchers. Testaccio market also is the location of a recycle food program where the unsold food is given to the needy. This is the most “way trendy” of the places. Lots of food tours and publicity from international magazines and TV shows.

Testaccio market.

Mercato Rionale Coperto Nomentano, Piazza Alessandria: This market is inside an attractive building from the 1920s, with a high dome. This market has both produce, pizzerias, and some stalls with clothes outside. It is not huge but a good size for a local market. You can find almost anything you want in here. I think I bought a paring knife and a bowl. There are several bakery stalls in this market as well.

The clothing stalls outside Nomentano.

Mercato Italia, Via Catania 70: This is a large market in a part of town that is not touristy and not international. Also, it has a bakery run by two young guys who play rock music and make excellent lasagne. It was like visiting Rome as one might imagine it was. Zero tourists. I’ll be back.

One of the central areas of Mercato Italia. I saw the most house coats at this market.
One of the bakeries at Italia market.

Mercato di San Cosimato (Trastevere), Piazza San Cosimato: This market is slightly different from the others because it is outside in a square in Trastevere. There are some permanent box stalls but the majority of the stalls are fruit and vegetable stands that set up some tables and umbrellas every day.

Mercato di Campo de’ Fiore, Piazza Campo de’ Fiore: Surely the most romantic sounding of all the markets, located in a former field of flowers. This is the uber touristy local market. In the morning, the hold-out vegetable sellers are still there, slowly losing out to the ever dominant tourist tat and limoncello vendors, toasted nuts, and fresh-juice-at-five-euro-a-glass touters. This is an outdoor market in a square that was used for executions (people seem to ignore the statue of the hooded figure) because it was the only square without a church (which to me is the opposite reason as far as I can see). The location can’t be beat. Also, some of the vendors sell exotic items like lychee and round cucumbers from Apulia. In the evening, this square becomes a boozy open air bar, sticky with spilt drinks and hair product from the 80s.

Campo de’ Fiore.

Mercato Rionale Monti, Via Baccini 36: This is the smallest and oldest of the local markets, but it is also quite special. In the center, it has a reading area with shelves with books, a children’s area, and a few tables. The book selection is both in English and Italian. This market also has a pasta stall with a window where there is active pasta making in action. Although this market is basically a square, it even has a gift shop, a speciality Apulian stand, a fish vendor, a butcher, baker, two vegetable stands, a basic grocery stall, and a coffee machine that stands in for a coffee bar. This market is also open until the evening on Thursdays and Fridays, making it even more convenient for the locals.

Mercato Rionale Prati, Piazza dell’Unità 53/Via Cola di Rienzo: This is another 1920s building high to the ceiling and attractive. Another market that is not huge but big enough. It is a bit overgrown by the abutting buildings but you can find it if you try.

I think this is the inside of Italia but many of these markets look alike.

Città dell’Altra Economia, Via di Monte Testaccio (not far south from Testaccio Market): This market is part of a much larger event space. The market is in the large open space and comprises ten to 20 market stalls. If you live near here, then one could shop here. Especially if you like the outdoors farmers market atmosphere.

Outside at the City of the Alternate Economy.
All the food stalls are outside at the City of the Alternate Economy.

To read more about the markets of Rome, this site is a good place to start. There are many other local markets but you get the idea.

Every market sells cheese, vegetables, meat, flowers, oil, and anything else you can think of.

Now to the most famous farmers’ market, a zero kilometer market, where I like to shop.

Campagna Amica market. This market is way swish upmarket. The prices are normal but the clientele are quite fancy pants.

Campagna Amica (Coldiretti is the cooperative that runs these markets all over Italy) in Via San Teodoro 76, Sat & Sun, 8-3, sometimes called the Farmers Market at Circus Maximus because it is located nearby: This zero kilometer market is as local as you can get for Rome. Everything produced here, from milk, meat, artichokes, and oil, and all are from within 100 kilometers of Rome.

In the back courtyard, there are a couple of eateries, including a fried seafood food truck. If you follow me on Instagram, then you will have seen that I like to check out this market every few weeks to see what is in season. It is not my local market, but it is all about local food. This market attracts a lot of TV crews and special events.

The entrance to the market at San Teodoro. It’s on a one way street so it’s better to arrive at the corner and walk back.
San Teodoro market is housed in a former Jewish fish market.

As I go to more markets, I may update this article but this gives you a start if you wish to go to a local market. In general, it is better to go to the market at 9 am if you want to avoid the crowds. 11 am if you like the crowds. After 1 pm, forget it.

12 Seasons of Roman Vegetables and Fruit

Romans truly eat by season. They get excited by what is only available at certain times of the year. Of course, all year, there are imported vegetables and fruit in Rome, but the Romans still find joy in the seasonality of fresh vegetables. And, it seems like chicory is always in season…

Three types of asparagus with the expensive wild version in the front.

Cicoria (chi-CORE-E-ah) or chicory is “Italian dandelion” and is a bitter green leafy vegetable that looks a bit like spinach. If you live in the U.S. and want to plant some for your self, this farm sells the seeds.

January: puntarelle (puhn-tah-R-ALE-eh), or cicoria di catalogna or cicoria asparago (although no one in Rome uses these names) is in the chicory family but looks more like a thick stemmed dandelion. The Romans eat the white stems, cut to curl up, in a salad with an anchovy garlic dressing — like a zero-carb caesar salad. No cheese. In other parts of Italy, puntarelle are cooked. In Rome, only the trimmings are cooked as part of a general vegetable stew. But, the white inner stems are the treasure.

The first stage of the preparation of puntarelle.
Puntarelle ready for dressing.

March: agretti, asparagi selvatici (wild asparagus), fava beans, and artichokes. Wild asparagus are slimmer and have a stronger taste. Agretti (Salsola Soda, opposite-leaved saltwort, opposite leaf Russian thistle, Roscano, or barilla plant) is almost unknown in the English speaking world, although recently becoming a bit of a thing with chefs.

Agretti
Peas and fava beans are both eaten fresh and raw when young. Fava beans are eaten with pecorino cheese.

April: Strawberries, agretti (monk’s beard), peas, beans, and small artichokes.

May: Peas, beans, spring onions, garlic chives, etc.

June: Apricots, peaches, green beans, potatoes, etc.

July: Melons, peaches, plums, nectarines, pears, lettuce, etc.

August: This was hard to figure out as most of the markets close in August… but at the back of the Trionfale market, there are still some zero kilometer farmers who sell their produce. So it’s all about peaches, cucumbers, pears, walnuts, water melons, cantaloup melons (called so because they were grown in Cantalupo just outside Rome), lettuce, grapes, nectarines, plums, and apples.

Apples

September: Pears, apples, figs, melons, lettuce, broccoli tops, pumpkins, pumpkin greens, plums, peppers, chiles, peaches, and grapes.

Pumpkin greens

October: pumpkin, potatoes, gourds, squash, nuts, cabbage, lettuce, and peppers.

November: potatoes, clementines, and nespole/medlars.

Medlars which one eats when they are brown and toffee like.

December: puntarelle, artichokes, and clementines.

clementines

Every restaurant will have “seasonal vegetable” on the menu and it will always be cicoria/chicory greens. Very healthy. One of the nice things about living in Rome is that it is possible to eat pesticide free food and in a perpetual “farmer’s market” all year round. I have to admit that I’m excited for artichoke season after not having artichokes for six months.

Ferragosto

Empty streets in Rome, lots of parking spaces, and shuttered businesses. Ferragosto, started by Emperor Augustus in 31 BCE (2050 years ago!), is a holiday now celebrated on August 15. The name, Ferragosto, is a combination of the Latin for “feasts + Augustus” so not only did the emperor name the month after himself, he also named the celebrations after himself. Supposedly, it was started as a way to celebrate the end of all the hard labor done during the summer harvest. Things ripen earlier than I’m used to in Italy so harvesting can be done in the summer. For example, I always think of pears as a fall/autumn fruit. Not here. They are optimal in July and August.

The pears are firm, juicy, and small.

I know this because I was thoroughly enjoying my fresh zero kilometer peaches and pears a few weeks ago. Then August started. My zero kilometer farmers’ market and many other businesses close for the whole month of August! I wonder what happens to all that ripe fruit?

Then one day, I was having a wine consultation with a wine expert and she gave me a great insiders’ tip — some of the zero kilometer farmers sell from their own farm at the back of Trionfale Market. While the stalls are not as pretty and they are back by the fishmongers, at least I was able to buy produce grown from within 68 miles of Rome. To identify these stalls, the price signs will have “prod. prop.” or something like that written on them. It translates to “our own produce” or “we grow it.”

“Prod.Propria” on a sign at Trionfale market.

Also, did I mention that it’s melon season? I’ve only seen cantaloupe, net, and watermelon. I was hoping for honeydew but have yet to see it. Previously I preferred the melon without the proscuitto but with the summer heatwave, I completely understand the salty sweet wet combination that is a very Italian way to refill your electrolytes.

This is ham from Parma with cantaloupe.

The Round Cucumber of Puglia

When researching my book about Italian food, I discovered the round melon cucumber of Puglia. It was described as a cross between a melon and a cucumber.

I was eager to try it and I thought I would have to wait till I could travel to Puglia. But, one day at the Campo de Fiori market, I saw it. The cucumber tastes like a mild cucumber (even milder) but has the shape of a melon. The rind is slightly leathery and I actually liked the way it has a pleasant chewiness.

Imagine if these were grown without seeds? They would be perfect for sandwiches. Never mind that, after my terrible encounter with a normal Italian cucumber back in November, I was just happy that this one didn’t bite my tongue off with bitterness. I had a Greek salad the other day, and the cucumber was equally bitter.

I didn’t expect the cucumbers to be bitter in Italy. But, then again, Romans like bitter greens like chicory so why not bitter cucumber (not to be confused with bitter gourd).

Note: If you prefer to watch this blog article as a video, click here for my YouTube channel.

Testaccio Market

Mercato Testaccio (“mare-cah-toe” “tess-tah-chi-oh”) seems world famous, but I may be getting too “Rome blind” and just assume that everyone has watched 500 videos about Rome. No, you haven’t? Well, if you want, you can watch MY video, on my YouTube channel, about Testaccio Market. And then see where the rabbit hole takes you.

Testaccio market is located in the neighborhood of Testaccio, just south of historic center along the river. This location is the new location which was purpose built. It’s organized and has parking! Here is a good run down from another blog who posted this article.

One thing I really like about markets is the hustle and bustle. With pandemic distancing, it’s lacking some of that. But, it was still lovely to hear Italians talking louder than a hush. Of the markets I’ve been to, Trionfale is larger so I may like that one more. Testaccio feels a little too gentrified.

The Fish Market of Lima

MV5OWt0RjLjSqNoWHe-zzqeA3ONECsqov1N2X-ZAZQ5dnGwy62_arolE8Fk3F6DMYOUnQjayEp-JI9qCPaVjw1g0Q8ybWS6EWgesjQAbQM2-djHnzc4xfQBq1pZ8D3mIb9kcPJqKdws7VqwZiZydphp2dEEKdS95RJMKtDDta2ksnsD6oMMN4i4IFVVisiting the fish market of Lima made me miss Bourdain. But, I went in his spirit. The Terminal Pescuaro or wholesale fish market is where the restaurant owners shop for the freshest fish of the day. At 4 in the morning. The market is open from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day. It’s located out in Villa Maria del Triunfo. As a foreigner, visiting any place that sounds like a drug mule name… in the middle of the night… is not a good idea.

4973k3HqTo__WIAiAUlcuMFKp1mZ2UlBjsTBrcLCqpXcsgrDMCjKwk5feLr6JIMOrsgZeoC1QMueMzRxFCgKvRvBD6NvRONLAsmamO4NKxUl4S0N-VzbrfRfHaqOexR45gSZHIPNaAHr_waqtpoVSydXA_ZI2Mf8cB5IGhU14FdbiAHie8e-MaVBDLEven though I could see from the online photos that it didn’t look like a picturesque place, I still wanted to visit. The prices are good (2 bucks for a pound of fish). Apparently, one could get some fresh ceviche in the food court above the fish terminal. That sounded fresh. Right? In order not to give my Peruvian friends extreme heart palpitations, I hired a local from Villa Maria del Triunfo to pick me up, drive me, guide me, and stay with me at all times. People said to wear rubber boots. If you have some, you could. But, then, also, wear a rain coat.

FgZRK41PctwyElVkQi7HgtsNwcnQgK6huDJLWrW-RKTGKbUjHIRtQ9qElumEVt7aMq723JAtJUebMs_G6Y6OrIAeVDIQTPHKDqcYPBmX61hgbv-M452lsy3LkhFBlFV74SmZorg5mPt7vhGtzwkxYY-WSbXHteUPUyDJx7Cy2LG-PauMtWy9dgvXXmWe arrived at 10 a.m. long after most of the fish was sold. The hall is more of a hangar and it’s a wet market with slush and ice on the floor. Trucks are parked inside and most of the fish is in blue plastic flats, some packed with ice. It’s not pretty and it smells of fish. At 10 a.m., there was still the bustle and hustle of any market, but the fish looked only slightly more exhausted than the fishmongers. Therefore, I did enjoy when one of the fishwives sashayed to me and asked me straight up, “what are you looking for?” (An aside: I kind of like it when sales folk also add a “love” or “my queen” at the end of the pitch). Another salesman jumped in and the sassy fishwife didn’t like it! She pushed him aside and they almost got into fisticuffs.

q3Ufbwsz1UYr66aqN69rAoYqZFii1BFq4nkpd56oHVuzcq6ot9e7bnFx_M7UXKR21dtWf2gYE2u0G5ntyVe3TbeNtTSJob2RWZ_LJ6gPJmlAC6IjJ9MAjZFGGjtyHe8iuCQzW7xisZmIEoN7NLu8rwDLnNT9XSm7_hdCWqlhpsmLQMayzcNbHKbVLiAs we walked around, the fish vendors went about their business and I got touched by a few dead fish along the way. Hence why you might want to wear a raincoat along with your rubber boots. I wore neither so I smelled like fish. Old fish.

When we got around to the end of the market, we saw that there were other items sold at the market as well, including limes and other items for ceviche. Afterwards, we went upstairs to eat fresh fish. When we went upstairs, we were surrounding by sharks. These sharks were ladies who swarmed around us trying to get our business at their food stall. Really pushy ladies. I liked it.

bYbteVRHDykPEdre5R-2rxB7LDZn41yJ8L8RsnlFLcJVMZTFMhqF3yomyPOZ8XJfPnF1LcUEjn7ms1l2t5vfkH9uiq-b1Y0qy6TbJ-J1tD_UwAaRglenYp9M3NP_mqRtTX3EKQCvfCYs5wlLWHfrN0a0KzLF90Tm4hzP8dLcnMDxTvPcYFwsu3lZRrAs the food court was right on top of the fish market, we naively hoped for fresh fish…. We ordered leche de tigre (the lime sauce resulting from making ceviche), chupe (soup), ceviche, and deep fried fish. All of them were fishy and I did not find them edible.

YG7vWJ9yHHlNzaPlmnFNYwiw3kXfV66axevIDe7oRIrz0z8Dh5C8GvnZkoY5VgeV1fm0yX8q0bQuG96352KeRsiD9pFL-MS-b9isLwcJomwHEOzYxvcH2N7Vz7S6nIsiCtNH1Sob-kbY3zqzNZQI7uMdumiELc_6P1sg1XpxYda3plp5JfwNIySnW4Overall, I enjoyed the outing, but I’ll write about where to get fresh fish another time. For now, go fish.

Farmers’ Markets in Lima

WldYBsXkmLDo6aK7AJg-ag6InWysNwcCd7wAOmATEr52E6ezU3xn1e88X3GexjxhYLTGi4yP5DNaNqLSl7QXpsbPqG8GCsyCuhTre3yCPKLGDXW146MDlGeObmt_msDavJcORPe-pA9c0zJCsgzkwD98qV3yXrP9mzeFCt9JINlUqAn7j0dJ3sUAQWHere they are called “bioferia” or “ecoferia” and as far as I can tell, there are only a few with a specific schedule. Most of them feature the same vendors, who keep move to different locations depending on the day.

Saturdays, 9-2 (maybe slightly earlier) Bioferia de Miraflores: Parque Franscico de Miranda (formerly in Reducto No. 2 Av. Benavides) y Via Expresa. When I’m chasing the fresh organics like from Vacas Felizes, this is where I go.

Sundays, 8:30-2, Surquillo, Mercado 1.BioFeria de Surquillo. Jr. Narciso de la Colina cdra. 5. Lateral al Mercado #1 Surquillo (Ricardo Palma y Av. Paseo de la República)

Sundays, 9-2, Barranco Ecological Fair, Avenida San Martin

Sundays, 9-3, Ecoferia El Polo Green, Centro Comercial El Polo, Santiago De Surco

I’ve also heard about this one: Centro de Ventas de la Universidad Agraria
Av. La Molina s/n, La Molina, 8 a.m. a 12 m.

**** heard as of October 2018**** apparently there is a now a farmers’ market in Jockey Plaza in Surco.

And according to this website, there are others. Sadly the one in Miguel Dasso no longer exists (it’s now located in the Reducto as listed above).

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The Markets of Port of Spain

hsTFlEhXRAjAQ-If8AHp9QK8Gqo4jZh8AvPTs6P0WGbnBRkiAMy-oMZqJ1wTZ3mnxJVB2faSoRBXBbzetviQWyARKO5Sc7GRbb3SQUvMcMGEYfa8XZRmZGgrSwke3TSCT5Y8KddX-kkrSYO1p8Rak6VB9POKDcjOEDw7PCgC7sRwezsxtGf8F51RGHAnother extremely short list. There are vegetable markets in most of the towns in Trinidad, but it’s not a “thing” to do here. I like exploring markets and I managed to express my interest to the driver.

NSpFbuhe7R5zZY30zTx_3SsNb5SBWzrIKvsYmf3GABDJnCQLK3OmQDYKUPfTmqc3-qy50EKwK-SeKCcxLVeTkRbfTYFQjozBbTfbqHpsppULFs2unwbH64rPNTQJwQzux8_Syn3-nNcQTW-6AfjoXG5hjwP2gAb0g1BhHU0ruZH16ftIYFXcJFFZubThe yuppie market is the Green Market in Santa Cruz. This market is on the way to Maracas Bay. The market has vegetables, meats, food stalls, musicians, massage booth, and artisan stalls (soap maker). Apparently, this market was the brainchild of a Trini who had lived in the U.S. and decided to bring back the idea of the farmer’s market to Trinidad.

QGEwSbVh0piF8kVdHkYbPUy7eP1DN0J-zsKYI9MBJ366yaaXfh0ioAhUapHX-sMXY445OanAHhRmy6tTT3Ix_kTzO2RxCvAMoBpE1X7_DI11MLWHjoDrGSDcVHKKEk0h6Lp62O5zWazQEJJUpe41UKGYRdPbPVCXCNYygZk0PYJZcMczGUHaeVwg4fThe biggest market is Central Market. Most of the stalls sell vegetables and fruits. There is a food “court” down in the corner of a large hall. Most of the vendors prefer to set up their stalls outside where the cars can drive past and use them as a drive thru, leaving most the dark interior stalls empty and boarded up. Many of the items for sale were breadfruit and coconuts. Some of the vendors made me some blatant offers which were not on the regular vegetable selection.

nWSOLvaatIaluqi-nbwwWr8R0P6TkamOTbPHO6yWUUw2jYYCYEqCdSzoo5Du1VUuCPK0TLH2evgcT7xa80LewiQtH5Dozjh0pJSQ_fK2SAioR4-Zw-ktjPjWvNchLK3ytZkaG505a1hd9xSkiG1Jvy5GQrZLthf2RD4zy4ijFztF78s2-sPo6B7wvmThe one I liked the most is Tunapuna in the town of Tunapuna. It was lively and busy. The locals were busy shopping and ignored me except when they treated me like any other customer. This market also included some ferocious clothes shopping.

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Chacao Market in Caracas

14721518_10154599602749618_3622970407324197371_nIn any town, the market is my favorite place to visit. In Caracas, for the expat, Chacao market, is the place to buy fruits and vegetables. Chacao market is a five story high building but the stalls are located on the first two floors. The central area is open all the way to the ceiling. This makes for good people watching from the second floor railings. Despite what one hears about in the news, there is lots of food available if you have the money. Along with fruits and vegetables, the market has cheese stalls, egg stalls, and deli stalls. There are also some stalls specializing in imported goods. It’s possible to find almost everything, once in a while, at a heft price. There was a bag of rice which cost $130 back in December. Now it costs $280.

14720447_10154591938289618_2513827240827488746_nWhile shopping, I like to get a deep fried empanada snack. In the photo, the empanada cost under one buck. Sauce included. The prices have doubled in the past month.

Upstairs, one can buy juice from the juice guy (a liter costs about $2-3). I’m not sure why he is the only one in this business but he is. While he now has his own credit card machine, for a while he didn’t. There were primarily three types of juice available: orange, orange and carrot, and beet, orange, and ginger/mint (I think). Sometimes, he also sold grapefruit. No mandarin juice (which was common in Colombia).

This brings up another thing about this market, and I suppose many other places here. Not everyone has a credit card machine (or “point”) so sometimes you get sent down to another stall to charge your card and then you come back with the proof of payment. But, most vendors have a “line” or telephone line to connect their debit machines. When paying, you must enter your ID number and pin. You need your ID for almost everything so it’s good to memorize it.

Chacao market also has flowers for sale but nothing like the massive flower market in Bogota. Venezuela, like Colombia, has a varied climate so they could grow anything they could dream of. Some differences between Chacao and Paloquemao (in Bogota), is that the Venezuelans must have some use for unripe papaya because it’s possible to buy it in Chacao, but not in Paloquemao. Also, the cold weather fruits like applesa and pears are much pricier in Caracas. Chacao was still my favorite place in Caracas.

Organic Market in Bogota – Secret Garden Sundays

1933483_10154043988409618_6452458893857797466_oThere is an organic farmers market in Bogota. Every Sunday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The address is Calle 69, 6-20, up from Carrera 7 (up the street from the gas station). The google location will show Impact Hub Bogota. The farmers market is located in the courtyard. From the street, you will see the white tents above the brick wall.

12968170_10154043988554618_3847116889824795280_oThey have quinoa in multiple variations, and acai food stand (move aside ice cream!), other ready-made foods, vegetables, soaps, and organic cleaning products.

12916956_10154043988744618_345777456803251367_oThis place is small and hard to find. There are only about seven stalls. The market has been there every Sunday for three years. Many of the vendors supply some of the restaurants in Bogota.

12525299_10154043988159618_1414647751940569563_oCheck it out. It’s like a secret garden market.

12916287_10154043988229618_3870378921313816089_o

Corferias – The Expo Fair in Bogota

Really fine handicrafts at Corferias market.
Really fine handicrafts at Corferias market.

When I got here and began shopping for local products like leather, glass, and the like, everyone kept telling me the same thing. “Wait till you see Corferias!” They told me I’d be in a shopping tizzy when I got to Corferias. I imagined a rough-around-the-edges Christmas market. I was wrong. Corferias is like an expo showing with artisans from all over the world. It seemed like everything was hand made. Better still, each piece was made with care.

A magnificent hand made head dress.
A magnificent hand made head dress. For $700.

There were at least nine hangar sized buildings with an entire floor selling only jewelry. On the international floor, they had stalls from Turkey, Iran, India, Bolivia, Peru, Pakistan, and so many others (though not Bangladesh). It was truly a world bazaar.

Local culture being celebrated.
Local culture was celebrated. This lady was wearing one of the headgear that they made to entertain children.

The local crafts were high quality and some were a good price while others were very pricey. The place is organized and there are many signs, a mobile bar, food courts, cash machines, rest areas, and a packing and delivery service.

The local flavors dining area before the rush.
The local flavors dining area before the rush.

I enjoyed the local flavors hall where they gave free samples of all sorts of foods. Roast pork at ten in the morning. Why yes! When I went back later to buy some pork, the vendor gave a friendly wave as I waited in the longest line in the hall.

Bolivian nativity scene.
Bolivian nativity scene.

It’s a good thing that this fair is over many days because I got tuckered out and did not see all the stalls. I’ll be back! Corferias is from December 6-18 (I think). Bring money for the entrance fee and shopping!

These arepa plates rotated.
These arepa plates rotated.

The World Market in Bogota at Codabas

The world's spices at the spice shop in the fruit and vegetable market.
The world’s spices at the spice shop in the fruit and vegetable market.

Where to find the world’s products in Bogota? Recently, I went to Codabas, a market in the northern part of Bogota. It’s up on Carrera 7 # 180. Codabas has a central building with fruit stalls surrounded by a parking lot of shops.

Inside the central building is a spice shop with every spice you didn’t know that you couldn’t find in Bogota. Cardamom. Chili mix. Fresh honey. Salt from the moon. Okay, I jest.

Clean fruit and veg.
Clean fruit and veg.

Some of the shops around the parking area include an Italian shop (they sell wine for less than 15,000 COP = $8 which is fairly cheap for Bogota) and other Italian items.

Frozen shumai dumplings.
Frozen shumai dumplings.

I was thrilled by the “Arabic” sandwich shop where I bought pita bread. (All of it. I also bought hummus. But, mostly, I was excited to find flat bread like I’ve found in the middle east.)

Hummus, babaganoush, labnah, and pita bread.
Baba ganoush, hummus, labnah, and pita bread.

Across from there is a Peruvian store but it was a bit pricey.

Arabic cafe.
Arabic cafe.

There were several fish shops which sold lots of frozen Asian seafood, like clams from Vietnam, and Asian foods (like frozen shumai dumplings). Plus, they sold a good brand (from Canada) of pickled herring. And squid ink. Just in case you were making squid ink pasta.

Pickled herring and squid ink.
Pickled herring and squid ink.

I will go back to explore some more but personally for vegetables (and especially for chiles and napa cabbage) I like the less sterile feel of Paloquemao a little bit better. IMG_8137Also, the Carulla on Calle 84 actually caters to the expats and carries many imported products.