The past decade has seen a foodie revolution that has transformed how we eat, both at home and abroad. No longer do travellers stick to the safe option on the menu, or eat in the most obvious tourists traps. Now, even the most cautious visitors prefer to seek out hidden culinary gems, for an authentic experience to tell their friends about. And visiting a street food market is one of the best and most fascinating ways to immerse yourself into local foodie culture.
Asia might be the continent with the longest tradition of street food, but Europe is rapidly catching up. In Spain, tapas lends itself well to a street food format, while in countries like Germany and Denmark, new life is being breathed into historic buildings through the installation of food stalls. Other long-established markets in Europe are simply adding international food stalls, and street food events are increasingly being arranged in world-class cities.
Where to begin? Here’s the Flexicover team’s guide to the best street food markets in Europe.
Le Food Market, Paris
Once or twice a month, street food traders descend on Boulevard de Belleville, bringing mouth-watering pastries, French food and international cuisine to the masses. This culinary event prides itself on the mixture of freshly-cooked world foods on offer, from Vietnamese to Mexican. After making your choice, take your food away or eat it at one of the nearby tables to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere a little longer. This market offers bang for your buck, as many of the stalls are extensions of popular nearby restaurants, but serve delicious dishes for around €10 here. Check the Le Food Market website to find out when the next event is scheduled.
Ultra-hip Copenhagen has a thriving gastronomy scene, but the street food market on everyone’s lips is Reffen. The popular venue Copenhagen Street Food closed permanently in 2017, but like a phoenix from the ashes, Copenhagen Street Food has risen again, this time better than before. 54 start-ups in the form of food stalls, bars and creative workshops spread out across 6,000 square meters offers a huge choice of cuisine and culture under one big industrial roof. Here you’ll find Italian dishes alongside Mexican food and Korean stalls adjacent to Turkish ones. It’s affordable too, which is a godsend in a pricey city like Copenhagen. Even better, there are plenty of places to perch with your plate, with diners often sharing tables. This fosters an enjoyable informal atmosphere, especially at the weekends when it stays open until 10pm.
De Markthal, Rotterdam If you like your food with a side of striking architecture then look no further than Rotterdam’s De Markthal. Housed in a dramatic, horse-shoe shaped construction, the permanent market is home to 90 traders serving up a wide variety of street food. Here you’ll find sushi restaurants, tapas bars, frozen yoghurt vendors, fresh fish stalls, coffee shops and so much more – it even hosts cultural events on occasion. Want to indulge a little? Seek out the chocolate shops, churro vendors, doughnut bars or cheese stalls. While many of the restaurants are permanent, there are also plenty of pop-up stalls, so you’ll never get bored no matter how many times you return.
Markthalle Neun, Berlin Everything in Berlin seems uber-cool these days, and its street food scene is no exception. Markthalle Neun was the ninth market hall built in the city in the late 19th century, but after facing tough competition from supermarkets, became home to a number of budget stores. In 2009, a campaign by locals transformed it into the trendy street food market it is today. Visit the space any time for artisanal cheeses, sustainable meat products and a wide variety of breads. Or succumb to the tempting aromas of Street Food Thursdays: from 5pm to 10pm on Thursdays, street food stalls offer cuisines ranging from Korean and Vietnamese to New Zealand and Argentine.
Boqueria Market, Barcelona One of Europe’s oldest food markets, Boqueria has been whetting the appetites of shoppers since 1217, when stalls sold meat near the old city gates. These days the market is situated on Barcelona’s iconic La Rambla, and offers a colourful journey into Mediterranean cuisine. Home to more than 200 traders, you’ll find a number of stands and bars serving authentic tapas dishes. There’s also the opportunity to pick up other foodstuffs, from meat and seafood to fruit and nuts. Boqueria Market is undoubtedly a treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds, with bright, colourful goods stretching as far as you can see.
Wherever you plan to head to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.