Markets are usually a great place to spend a few hours and the bustling Central Market in Adelaide, South Australia is no exception. It has the usual appeal of other markets, fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, bread, cakes and sweet treats; baked or covered in chocolate. There is plenty of vibrant colour, ripe exotic fruits and vegetables or the rich, dark crimson of fresh meats.
It is a lively place, especially on a Friday evening apparently when families come to do their late night shopping and maybe enjoy a meal in one of the eateries within the market area.
It is slightly more eclectic, somehow different from the others I’ve been able to visit. It is a covered market but this does not make it exceptional, there are row upon row of stalls selling fresh produce, this is nothing unusual, locals and tourists mingle together, searching for bargains or a gift for family or friends, nothing out of the ordinary here either.
There is a reasonably sized cafe to get a bite to eat or some other refreshments, even this is a common sight in most markets. Several other specialist coffee shops, juice bars and even the option to get a beer, maybe a little different but hardly a rarity.
Many of the stalls have been owned by the same family for generations, selling the same goods they have specialised in since the beginning of the last century. It is a multi-cultural trading post, family owned, with many originating in Europe and some of the products, mettwurst and other cured meats reflect these origins. Most products are produced locally, some recipes have remained unchanged but others have been modified to suit locally sourced ingredients and the taste of modern, cosmopolitan Adelaide.
One of the most popular sources of meat in Australia is kangaroo and it is offered in many forms here. Steaks are obvious but there are meatballs, varieties of cured meats like mettwurst, cuts such as shanks, shoulder or ribs, rich sausages and even whole tails. One stall specialises in nothing but kangaroo meat, in fact the only other product they sold was eggs. I was reliably informed these were actually kangaroo eggs, maybe I had ‘gullible tourist’ stamped on my forehead.
There are other local specialities too, emu and even camel meat can be purchased are more exotic meats available. During the flying visit our group made however we did not see either of these on offer. Thankfully despite a growing population cuddly koalas haven’t yet made it onto the menu.
These food choices are certainly slightly different from the normal market fare but it is the general atmosphere and ‘vibe’ of the market that seemed different to me. Although the stalls and layout followed a familiar pattern, it seems livelier, not busier but friendly and relaxed yet still vibrant, still bustling.
My love of markets is common knowledge and this is the sort of market I could happily have browsed for a few hours, probably stopping off regularly for coffee or maybe a local beer. There wasn’t time for this so it’s yet another experience which needs to be repeated, that list is getting longer every trip I take