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A woman holds a basket of fresh fruit and vegetables
Photograph: Anna Kucera

Melbourne's best markets: Food and drink

Ever get the feeling the supermarkets are taking us all for a ride? Vote with your feet and head to a food market

By Time Out editors
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Melbourne's reputation as a food-obsessed city is accurate and with good reason. We not only have amazing cafés and restaurants to dine at, but also lots of terrific markets to do our shopping. From farm-fresh fruit and vegetables to top-quality meat, cheese and smallgoods, Melbourne's markets give supermarkets a run for their money. And with so many spread across the city, there's always somewhere nearby to do the weekly shop, find that special ingredient, or go for lunch. 

Note: COVID restrictions are impacting Melbourne's markets and, while we do try our best to be accurate, circumstances are rapidly changing. Therefore we always recommend checking venue websites directly for the most up-to-date information. 

For more market madness check out the best art and design markets in Melbourne, or the best markets to get produce directly from our farmers

 

1. Dandenong Market

Shopping Dandenong

Update: Non-food vendors have shut down for the moment (although you can still shop some of them online), but food traders are still open for business. You can shop in person while observing social distancing rules, or to speed things up, use the call and collect service. Just note that you'll have to order and pick up from each stall separately.

Every motherloving spice, seed and grain from Afghanistan to India and Ethiopia is available for sale at Dandenong Market, which is without doubt Melbourne’s most culturally diverse food market. Load up on banana blossoms and traditional Turkish lokma (fried dough balls soaked in sugar syrup), chuck a few sacks of basmati in your boot and make out like a bandit with change to spare. You’ll feel like Marco Polo.

2. Prahran Market

Shopping South Yarra

Update: Food traders are still welcoming in-person customers, but there's also a Food Lovers Direct delivery service which lets you shop from 41 vendors and combine your orders into a single delivery. Minimum spend is $50 and delivery costs $15; check whether you're in the delivery area on this map.

They’re the kings of specialisation at Prahran markets. Here you’ll find a goose merchant, exotic nut vendor and mushroom man, all of whom are experts on their wares. Coffee up at Market Lane (point of origin for Melbourne’s third wave coffee movement) and beware the ham lady, unless you want to swap all your money for sweet slices of pig (trust us, she’s a sorceress).

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3. Preston Market

Shopping Preston

Update: If you're not keen on visiting in person, around half of the food and drink vendors at Preston are offering delivery or click-and-collect services, but you'll have to contact each one individually to order. Non-food vendors are currently closed. 

Cheap and loud. Rough and ready. That’s Preston Market. In operation for more than 40 years, it rambles through a massive hall past a much-used piano at its centre and out into the carpark. It’s a Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern and Asian affair, with plenty of discount meat and flowers for haggling; pho, doughnuts and Cornutopia tacos for eating; and street performers for watching. We condone putting your kid on a leash.

Paella dish at Queen Victoria Market
Photograph: Supplied

4. Queen Victoria Market

Shopping Melbourne

Update: The Queen Vic is making contactless shopping as easy as it can for customers. Its online shopping page lets you browse non-food vendors that are trading online only, and also lists all the food stalls that are offering home delivery. Alternatively you can click and collect without leaving your vehicle, simply stop in the designated collection zone of the parking lot and traders will bring your order to your car. Visiting in person is also an option as long you adhere to current guidelines.

A sprawling carnival of musicians, doughnut vans, and eight-year-old fruit vendors belting out their best hawker cries, this is Melbourne’s closest relation to the London Borough Markets. As well as the permanent shops selling deli goods, hand-pulled candy canes, fish and fowl, temporary stands spruik organic wines, live ducklings and designer clothes of questionable authenticity.

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5. South Melbourne Market

Shopping South Melbourne

Update: This market is also offering a drive through click-and-collect service. Place your orders with participating vendors (including non-food and drink traders) and then wait in your car as market staff bring you your goods. Alternatively, here's a list of all market vendors offering home delivery, and you can also visit in person. 

Multiple butchers, bakers, grocers and fishmongers, fortune tellers and snack stands making good use of the produce at hand (hit Evening Star for some fresh-grilled scampi if you’re down for a snack) make this one of the best fresh markets in the city. It’s a little more David Jones than Delhi (less yelling, more truffle oil), but it's worth a visit, if only to get yourself a fresh gozleme. If you're an oyster fan, you can get them freshly shucked for less than $2, with vinegar, lemon and hot sauce available. 

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