Four Ways to Enjoy Sydney’s Best Food Markets
Whether you’re shopping for organic fruit and vegetables or ocean-fresh seafood, Sydney’s food markets span the city, and reflect its diversity.
From the most northern reaches of the city to way out west, not a day passes without Sydney holding some form of food market. At a time when we’re increasingly aware of and interested in our food’s origins and travels, an equal dedication is growing toward small-batch, organic and artisanal producers – the kind who bring a story to their stall, and who farm, make and distil with passion.
Read on to discover four hyper-local shopping destinations.
City & surrounds
Often hectic and chaotic, but always fun, Paddy’s Haymarket is one of the oldest and largest markets in Australia. Grocers from across the city once came here to pick up produce to resell; 150 years down the track, it’s a mostly retail affair, attracting shoppers on the hunt for seasonal produce – at extremely reasonable prices. Given the market’s setting in Chinatown, many stalls specialise in hard-to-find Asian fruit and veggies, alongside specialty herbs and spices. The multi-storey market charters a satellite Sunday produce pop-up in the suburb of Flemington, transforming an enormous warehouse that also holds weekday growers and flower markets.
For a full immersive experience into everything scaly and swimming, it’s hard to look past the Sydney Fish Market. Every day, traders arrive early to attend wholesale seafood auctions, while the general public descend at a more reasonable hour to admire sea urchins, spanner crabs, oysters, prawns and barramundi. Take away your goodies or linger at tables along the boardwalk, enjoying the freshest imaginable fish and chips, sashimi or lobster tail while overlooking Pyrmont’s Blackwattle Bay. For hand-on tips on preparing your haul, head to the on-site Sydney Seafood School – classes here instruct on everything from Singapore-style chilli crab to Spanish paella.
Every Saturday morning, Taylor Square in Darlinghurst is transformed with stalls that share a common goal: to educate consumers on the benefit of purchasing seasonal, organic and local produce. Welcome to the Sydney Sustainable Markets, where 100 per cent of the money you spend goes directly to the maker or grower. Nearby, in inner-city Potts Point, Kings Cross Market consumes the Fitzroy Gardens every Saturday and Sunday. The focus here is on certified organic produce, but you can also purchase enormous bunches of flowers and pot plants, as well as tasty breakfast and lunch treats to enjoy on the grass.
South & east
Rain or shine, the Bondi Farmers Market puts out the stalls every Saturday, celebrating farm-fresh produce on the grounds of Bondi Beach Public School. Load your shopping basket with seasonal fruit and vegetables, free-range meat, just-picked flowers, artisanal breads, cheese and olives. Then refuel with a vegan cookie or roast pork roll before strolling along Sydney’s most famous stretch of sand, just metres away.
Equally epic is the Cambridge Markets EQ, where 70-plus stalls take over Moore Park’s Entertainment Quarter every Wednesday and Saturday. Say goodbye to the supermarket and hello to in-season spears of asparagus, enormous artichokes, gleaming stone fruit and petite microherbs, among others. It’s not just the growers you’ll meet, but the makers, who come here selling small-batch gins, pickles and jams, and teas and coffee. Follow the lead of locals to the bakery counters for still-warm chocolate croissants and cinnamon doughnuts.
The same company operates Watsons Bay’s biannual mega-market, a union of 150 stalls that pop up in harbourside Robertson Park every spring and autumn. Global eats abound – from Vietnamese to Peruvian, Italian to Israeli – alongside providores selling all things fresh and seasonal. While you shop, point kids in the direction of the jumping castles and amusement-park games.
The southern suburb of Cronulla has legendary beaches and coastal parks. This is your backdrop for the Shire Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning, showcasing a diverse collection of providores that might include Cedar Creek Cider, Babushkas Bagels, Valley Falls Dips and Noble Organics. Be sure to order a breakfast roll to give you the stamina to shop your way around dozens of outlets.
While Carriageworks often hosts fashion shows, art exhibitions and music festivals, the former Eveleigh Railway Workshops in Redfern becomes a food mecca every Saturday morning. Depending on the season you visit the Carriageworks Farmers Market, you’ll meet the farmers who grow Hartley Truffles, Mountain View tomatoes and The Fungi mushrooms, and load your shopping bags with Pecora Dairy cheeses, Pepe Saya butter, Alto Olives and Westmont Pickles. This Sydney institution is as much about community as it is stocking your fridge, with locals bringing the entire family – dogs included – to enjoy the atmosphere and a steaming bowl of pho.
People across Sydney attend the eclectic Sunday Marrickville Market, specialising in organic food across a spectrum of fruit and vegetables, meat and seafood. Aside from offering farm-fresh edibles, stallholders here range from tarot readers to fashion designers, with plenty of on-site entertainment – even pony rides for kids. Depending on the week, visitors queue for everything from dim sum and cold-pressed smoothies to homemade slices and tarts.
The nearby suburb of Summer Hill is the site of the Flour Mill Markets, a fortnightly Sunday gathering with a focus on sustainability – it’s entirely plastic free. Held in the forecourt of the historic Mungo Scott building (once a flour mill), this is the place to discover small-batch producers: try Mama Liu’s chilli oil, handmade chocolate by A Tiny Bit Decadent and Marshmallow Club's S’mores kits. Drive north to Glebe for another Sunday shopathon at the Tramsheds Growers Market, hosting a revolving collection of stalls from the likes of Nomad Spices, The Honey Library and AB Cheese. When you’re done browsing, grab lunch at one of the precinct’s restaurants.
As its name suggests, Ryde Wharf Market has a watery setting – the Parramatta River and the Ryde Bridge form the backdrop for these markets, held on the second Sunday of the month in Meadowbank’s Anderson Park. The 70-plus stalls hawk fashion, artisanal wares and food, with the latter’s highlights including delectable bureks from Alexander’s Bakery and equally delectable sweet Filipino pastries.
Consuming the Governor Philip Park at the most northerly point in Sydney – backdropped by the rugged Barrenjoey Headland and historic lighthouse – the Palm Beach Markets enjoy one of the prettiest settings in the city. Held on the fourth Sunday of every month, this is about more than fresh food – first pick up fruit, veggies, breads and cakes, then meet designers and artists here to sell their wares. Slightly further south in coastal Warriewood, The Beaches Market draws crowds every Friday morning. Mingle with regional farmers, discover how specialty cheeses are made, taste organic breads and take home bunches of native flowers.
A lovely Sunday drive takes you to Mona Vale Market, another gathering with a focus on organic produce. Begin with an egg-and-bacon roll (they’re a market staple), then wander Village Park’s stalls selling piles of nuts, flavourful berries, colourful cupcakes and homemade olives. You can even bring your knives along to be sharpened.
Just over the Harbour Bridge in North Sydney, the Northside Produce Market draws locals on the first and third Saturday of the month. The long list of stall-holders changes, depending on what’s in season, but might include Maria River Distillery, Margin’s Mushrooms, Willowbrae Chevre Cheese and Moonacres Farm. Grab a Broomfields pie or an offering from Brooklyn Boy Bagels with a schmear, and soak the vibrant atmosphere in Civic Park.