Melbourne does many things well and the markets come in close to the top of that list. There’s a huge array of Melbourne markets to choose from. These markets offer an array of culinary delights to tantalise the taste buds. I will be concentrating on the food within the Melbourne markets on this post, it’s too good not to.
There’s no shortage of unbelievable food to devour in Melbourne that’s for sure and the Melbourne markets in this list are a great place to get your fill of all things delicious. The main draw of these markets is that they have tonnes of stalls you can wander around, stocking food and dishes from far and wide. Deciding upon what to eat from the huge variety of food on offer could well be a drawback though, that’s if you are as indecisive as me!
Some of the markets in the list below are temporarily open for a few weeks in the year and a couple are permanent. Rain or shine though, you will be happy to know, at least one of these markets will be open when you need your fill of homemade delights from both locally and around the globe.
Summer Night Markets
Open – Every Wednesday night 5-10pm. 16 Nov – 8 Mar (May vary slightly from year to year).
The Summer Night Markets have a great all round vibe. The food stalls will leave you spoilt for choice. As soon as you get within the markets, your nose will inhale the smell of all the wonderful food and your belly will be rumbling away. Think slowly roasted lamb wraps, warm doughnuts smothered in Nutella, fresh lemonade, vegan delights, deli counters, mocha truffle coffee, need I go on?! Along with food, there’s also craft stalls within the market. There’s even a stall where you can get a massage if you’ve had a stressful day.
Queen Victoria Market’s yearly summer markets continue to draw the crowds in. Expect to queue for at least 10 minutes (maybe longer) at most stalls here. You might arrive, spy the crowds and queues and want to turn back, but once you take one look at the food, you’ll be rushing into those queues.
If I had unlimited money at the Summer Night Markets, I would happily sample something from every stall. However, there lies the problem, I don’t have unlimited money (far from it) and everything at the market here is pricey. Take, for example, the Nutella doughnuts (which are to die for) cost $10 for 5 bite-size doughnuts. Expensive food is something I’ve come to live with when visiting Melbourne markets though and trust me, you won’t regret a cent spent on the food here.
Winter Night Markets
Open – Every Wednesday night 5-10pm. 1 Jun – 31 Aug (May vary slightly from year to year).
The Winter Night Markets are held at the same venue as the Summer Night Markets, Queen Victoria Markets. Consequently, these markets are very much a similar layout to the Summer Night Markets, but with much more of a wintry feel.
The Winter Night Markets in Melbourne is a far cry from the winter markets I am and you may be used to in Europe. For one, when I think winter markets, I automatically think of Christmas markets and there’s certainly no Christmas decorations during Australia’s winter months. However, with all that being said, the Winter Night Markets have a great atmosphere and of course, there’s heaps of delicious food on offer throughout.
This was actually the first of the Melbourne markets which I visited. What a great introduction to the market scene here in Melbourne. Along with every other market in this city, you will be spoilt for choice. After much deliberation, I went for chicken wings with mac ‘n’ cheese croquettes, followed by a warm crispy churro bowl, filled with ice cream. You heard right, a churro bowl. Genius!
Night Noodle Markets
Open – Everyday. 10 – 27 Nov (May vary slightly from year to year).
Think all things Asian with a western twist. That’s exactly what’s on offer at the Night Noodle Market in Melbourne. The dishes range from steaming Bao filled with pork belly or crispy chicken all the way to deep fried coconut ice cream topped with a sweet and delicious passion fruit and mango sauce.
The sheer number of people and size of the queues at the Night Noodle Market in Melbourne are homage to the unique and tempting dishes each and every stall had on offer. Also, with many of the other Melbourne markets I’ve visited, the choice here had me as indecisive as ever! Please tell me I’m not the only one with this problem…
I mentioned that the stalls here offer Asian food, with a unique western twist involved. The dish which I absolutely love (just to mention), which is the perfect example of this, is the fries topped with crispy hoisin duck. Yes, you read right. Wow, would be the only word to describe how I felt when I tucked into that.
Queen Victoria Market
Open – Tue 6am-2pm, Thur 6am-2pm, Fri 6am-5pm, Sat 6am-3pm, Sun 9am-4pm. Open all year round.
Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne is a permanent market, so there’s much more to it in terms of diversity than the seasonal food markets. What I mean by the diversity of the market, is that there’s much more for sale, the stalls include; fresh produce, butchers, artisan food stalls, homeware, clothes and even a tacky touristy souvenir section.
Definitely the largest market out of the five Melbourne markets in the list. In terms of ready to eat food stalls, there isn’t a great deal of choice. However, the fresh produce and artisan sections are a particular highlight. Stalls filled with every cheese known to man. That’s definitely my kind of place. Hanging cured meats are displayed over the counters. The fresh produce section is covered with fresh fruit and veg stalls, enough selection for even the fussiest to get their 5-a-day.
South Melbourne Market
Open – Wed 8am-4pm, Fri 8am-5pm, Sat 8am-4pm, Sun 8am-4pm. Open all year round.
South Melbourne Market is a journey for the senses. Where to start. The ready-to-eat food stalls here are worth the visit alone. For a start, they have freshly shucked oysters for $1.50 each. The dim sim stalls sell giant deep fried, crispy pork or vegetable dumplings. Head around the corner to sample some of the crispy Boreks filled with spinach and ricotta. What more could you ask for?
One stall which was one of my favourites was the Italian homemade food stall. The fresh pasta here was some of the most delicious pasta I’ve ever tasted. This stall had enough pasta to feed an army. Mushroom and feta, spinach and ricotta, sun-dried tomato, too many to list them all. Combined with homemade pesto and you’ve got yourself a meal!
Also, not to forget the award winning paella which lays its home just outside the doors of South Melbourne Markets. At the restaurant Simply Spanish, you will see the chefs at work by the huge paella pans. They are cooking batch after batch of the unbelievable paella. That paella actually won an award for the best paella outside of Spain. If that’s not an excuse to get yourself down to South Melbourne Market, I don’t know what will be!
As I’ve mentioned, if there’s one thing Melbourne does well, it’s food. These Melbourne markets all come into the category of offering some of the most amazing, unique and delicious food and ingredients going. The markets are all a demonstration of Melbourne’s rich and diverse culture, with not only Australia’s best offerings but some of the best dishes from around the globe. Who could turn down the chance of wolfing down some warm doughnuts topped with heaps of warm Nutella at the Summer Night Markets? How about the award winning paella at South Melbourne Market? Or even soft steaming bao filled with crispy fried chicken at the Night Noodle Markets. I’m sure you’ll agree, Melbourne markets exceed all expectations!
The Melbourne markets may not be the cheapest place in the world. Everyone deserves a treat though don’t they, right? Also, even if you decide not to spend your cash on anything, they’re definitely still worth a wander around to marvel at the offerings on the stalls.
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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments section.
Have you been to any of the Melbourne markets? Which was your favourite? Or even, where’s your favourite market you’ve ever been to?