Every weekend Antwerp’s lovely “Vogelmarkt” is held on a square near the city centre. Saturday is the fresh market with fruit and vegetables, flowers, fish, cheeses of all kinds, and meats.
The market is frequented by a mix of locals and tourists and has a friendly vibe. Many of the stalls have little taste tests (the olives are particularly good) and there are places where you can get some of the mainstays of Belgian market food: sausages with sauerkraut, oysters, croquetten (garnaal/kaas – shrimp/cheese), karakollen (tiny little cooked shellfish), or a simple broodje kaas (bread roll with cheese).
This is what it looked like today:
Somehow these colours capture European summer don’t they?
Dried chillis in large bunches – a welcome move towards spice in Belgian cuisine courtesy Morocco and the Middle East.
Beautiful summer artichokes. Some other stalls had ones as big as your head – wonder how you are supposed to cook them?
The fruits of the North Sea: razor clams, live crabs, vongole and baby squid.
Cultivated mushrooms – spicy and meaty Paarse ridderswan.
This stall had so many varieties I have never seen before – looking forward to return visits and to trying my first ever fresh chanterelles.
If you just want a tiny snack how about one of these bite size eclairs? All the way on the left hand side is dark, fragrant speculoos (ginger cookies).
My slightly larger snack. Hot sweet tea and a fried pancake with ricotta, honey and plump dried figs. You can also get one “with the lot” which includes olives, artichoke hearts, dried tomatoes, baby dolmades, honey, ricotta, figs and more. Two of these and two cups of tea for less than 10 euros – a cheap and hearty breakfast or lunch in the sunshine in central Antwerp.
This is my top thrifty travel tip for the day!
NB Behind the stall that sells these is a large container of water with a small tap to wash the (inevitable) stickyness off your hands.
These “papavers” are what happens to a poppy after the flower. Quite striking!