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Person buying food at Bondi Farmers Markets
Photograph: Daniel Boud

The best market breakfasts in Sydney

The ultimate alfresco dining experience is a weekly market breakfast

By Emily Lloyd-Tait, Divya Venkataraman, Maxim Boon and Alannah Maher

We love eating outdoors, be it fish and chips on the beach, a picnic in the park, or those coveted tables that line the street outside your local café. But when it comes to al fresco dining our marktes do it best. They're in the business of making the exact food you want to eat sitting in the sunshine surrounded by canvas bags full of fresh produce and dogs frolicking on the grass. It's not quite LA, but we do enjoy a ridiculously good run of fine weather here so make the most of it and head to these weekly markets dishing up some of the best breakfasts you can get en plein air.

Still hungry? Hit up the 50 best restaurants in Sydney.

Sydney's best market eats

Three bacon and egg rolls
Photograph: ELT

Bacon and egg roll at Orange Grove Organic Food Markets

We’ve been eating the bacon and egg roll from the Bowen’s stall at the Orange Grove Organic Food Markets for nearly 20 years and it is still perfection. Every. Single. Time. Eight dollars buys you a soft, ovoid white roll that is presented to you open, one side laden with a soft fried egg entirely masked by a thicket of bacon. The secret here is three-fold: firstly, they’re grilling it all on a barbecue, and we all know bacon does its best work cooked outdoors. Secondly, they use very thin cut bacon with the rinds removed (no chewy bits). It caramelises fast on the hot plate and they’re generous with their serves – the coverage of bacon is greater than the bread surface area. The third and final grace note is the self-service sauce. You choose how much barbecue (the correct choice) or tomato (for renegades) sauce you get, and can also spice things up with a grind of black pepper or Tabasco.

A box of salads and corn fritters with toum
Photograph: ELT

Israeli salad and corn fritters at Northside Produce Market

Yes, you can shop at the Northside Produce Markets, especially if you like fancy grocery items like truffled oils, caramel laced meringues, local bacon, imported cheeses and new season garlic. You can stock up on fresh apples from Orange, in-season citrus and seafood too, but this is the kind of market where you want to arrive hungry, because the ‘eat now’ options are excellent. There’s the simple pleasures of a sausage sandwich, a fresh pastry from local bakers or a Portuguese custard tart, but branch out and try a riff on a Greek spinach pie made with blue cheese, or how about croque madame made on a barbecue? But by far the biggest queues are found at the Homeland Streetfood stall, which serves Israeli salad bowls topped with freshly fried falafel or corn fritters. Three golden pucks dressed in hummus, bejewelled with luminously pink pickles and studded with crisp pita chips ride atop a rainbow salad mix of your choosing: spicy carrot, fennel and kale, tabbouleh or beetroot. It’s a lot of food; it feels good for you; and it’s delicious. It’s a genuine triple threat for only $15.

A smoked salmon and egg topped roti
Photograph: ELT

Smoked salmon Florentine roti at Ramsgate Foodies and Farmers Markets

The Ramsgate Foodies and Farmers Markets are a very good place to take an empty belly and a full wallet and leave with the reverse being true. You’ll want to buy premium blueberries by the punnet, Greek dips, large bottles of watermelon juice, cheese-topped bagels, and bundles of greens that promise health and vitality for all your days.You’ll also struggle to get past the stall with multiple racks of chickens wings cooking over hot coals - the smell is incredible. Don’t deny yourself, but if you can, save yourself for Jeery’s roti tacos. These are no hand-held snack but a full cooked breakfast, only more elaborate than many café brekkies we’ve seen. Seriously, one comes with a whole lamb shank; you can get Khmer-style beef; and they make a vegan egg yolk out of confit yellow tomatoes that runs just like a fried egg – it’s amazing. But for lovers of that classic breakfast indulgence, the eggs Florentine, you need ot order the smoked salmon roti. A buttery pastry base topped with slices of smoked fish, a potato rosti, wilted spinach, Hollandaise, and two 63 degree eggs on top that they crack fresh out of the shell to order. It’s the most elaborate market breakfast in town and we’re here for it.

Bondi Markets corn fritters
Photograph: Divya Venkataraman

Corn fritters at Bondi Farmers Markets

If long lines are a sign of good things to come, those queuing up for a taste of Fritter House’s piled-high breakfast plates must be on some kind of non-vertiginous stairway to heaven. But how has a traditionally fried food found a loyal customer base in the notoriously health conscious Bondi set? The fritters at the Bondi Farmers Market are gluten-free, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Build your own plate (each fritter is $2.50), and choose from haloumi, tomato, sous vide sweet potato, spiced potatoes, creamy aioli, or tomato kasundi. If you’d rather relinquish control over decision making on a Saturday morning, pick from a range of plates where sides jostle for pride of place (there are so many, and they are generously heaped on). The Egyptian plate ($15.50) is hearty with minty yoghurt, grilled, fleshy eggplant and a sprinkle of nutty dukkah, while the Indian-influenced Vegan plate ($13.50) adds tangy mango-lime aioli, a spoon of palak dal and spicy, hearty chana masala for a kick. Weave through the crowds with your precariously piled plate held high above the dogs and linen-outfitted children, and enjoy your sun-dappled fritts lazing on the grassy market grounds.

A tamale in a corn husk with green salsa
Photograph: ELT

Chicken tamale at Marrickville Organic Markets

Marrickville Organic Markets are about a 50-50 split of food you can eat right now and groceries for the fridge and pantry. It caters to pretty much any whim so once you find a rally point on the back lawn everyone can fan out for their favourite fare, be it Egyptian street food, gozleme, corn fritters, bagels, vegan doughnuts, lamb rolls, Portuguese custard tarts or smorrebrod. But our pick is the tamales from Keskipan. This online Mexican patisserie delivers tres leche cakes, flan, sweet breads and cookies around Sydney, and also make labour-intensive, hand-held savouries like empanadas, taquitos and tamales. The chicken and green salsa tamale is a perfect power snack – savoury tender cornbread stuffed with shredded meat and a mild green salsa, steamed in a corn husk and served with more salsa and sour cream on top. It’s enough for a small hunger, but not so much that you can’t partake in a multi-snack adventure if you want to graze your way through Sunday.

Breakfast crepe at Paddington Market
Photograph: Maxim Boon/Time Out

Breakfast crêpe at Paddington Markets

You might think of a crêpe as a delicate morsel, maybe more than a snack but certainly not a full meal. Well, the folks at the French Counter, who set up shop every Saturday in Paddington Markets' eclectic food court, have a hearty breakfast variety that flies in the face of those expectations. While there are the traditional sweet galettes and simple classics like lemon and sugar pancakes on their menu, this belly-busting brekkie crêpe  bulges with caramelised onions, leg ham, grated swiss cheese, sliced mushrooms and a fresh egg, cracked on top. Don’t go thinking this is a good on-the-go option – you’re going to need to sit down with a knife and fork and enjoy this one. But it's worth it for such a robust, satisfying start to the day.

Cheese and Spinach burek on a wooden board
Photograph: ELT

Macedonian burek at Cambridge EQ Markets

A midweek market shouldn’t feel so outrageous but sitting on the grass in the centre of the Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park on a Wednesday morning does feel a little like you’re wagging school. There is also a Saturday market that sets up under the fixed market canopy, but if you have Wednesdays free make it a weekday visit to the Cambridge Market EQ for max relaxing while you shop for fresh flowers, seasonal fruit and veg, doggie treats, baby clothes and scented candles. The snack game is strong here, from gluten-free cakes and freshly squeezed juices to arancini, slow-cooked pork rolls, Indian curries, iced teas, Israeli salad bowls and barbecued chorizo. The standout for us is the Macedonian burek from Alexander’s Bakery. Imagine a giant pie filled with anything from ricotta, olives and sundried tomatoes, to chicken and mushroom, spinach and cheese, or cherries. They are wrapped in hand-made pastry, baked and then sliced into wedges and reheated on a sandwich press so you get them at their optimum temperature. They also have a vegan range for those with dietary restrictions – go for the potato and pumpkin with spinach.

A spring roll vermicelli bowl at a market
Photograph: ELT

Vermicelli salad at Double Bay Market

There’s not many weekday markets in Sydney, but on Thursdays the little square in the heart of the Double Bay shopping village is filled with market stalls. Take-away food is the primary offering, with a few fruit and veg vendors, scented candles, some linen frocks and plants for the garden. There’s fresh bagels, babka, cured meats and nut butters to take home, but people are here to eat, now, which is why you’ll find pods of people congregating outside the stalls selling gozleme, paella, and Lebanese kebabs. It’s much harder to find Vietnamese food in the deep east than in other parts of Sydney, which is why the Eat Fuh stall is so popular. They make a classic beef pho in a tall paper cup, but on a hot day the cooling power of a vermicelli salad is what’s needed. Soft noodles, fresh carrot and mint, pickles, bean shoots, hot chilli and your choice of sesame seed-speckled beef, chicken or fried spring rolls.

A crumpet on a plate with syrup
Photograph: ELT

Crumpets by Merna at CarriageWorks Farmers Markets

You’re going to need a snack while you’re loading up canvas totes with organic veg, pasture-raised meats, smoked fish, local cheeses, gourmet potatoes, and fresh bread. CarriageWorks Farmers Market does not lack for pastry vendors, with pies and tarts from Berkelo, Two Good and Broomfield, but it’s hard to overstate the appeal of a freshly toasted sourdough crumpet, especially when a ball of Pepe Saya cultured butter is melted over the top and dripping through the bubbles of the fermented griddle cake. A splash of maple syrup makes it feel like you’ve had a stack of pancakes for breakfast, but these ones are hand held and have that sour flavour you want from a proper fermented dough. You can grab a take-home pack, and if you’re still hungry grab a bacon and egg wrap in flat bread, a crepe, or a Korean bibim bowl. Just do not skip the Flour and Stone cake for dessert - they soak their lamingtons in panna cotta mix before the chocolate and coconut is applied to the sponge. 

Rocks Markets paella
Photograph: Divya Venkataraman

Seafood paella at the Rocks Markets

Seafood paella might not be your typical morning meal, but if you can have breakfast for dinner, then you can certainly have this Spanish favourite before 11am. La Gitana is set up on the main thoroughfare of the Rocks markets, which weaves through the historic sandstone district packed with stalls hawking knick knacks, flax linen dresses and healing candles. La Gitana’s seafood paella ($15) is big enough to share, and is scooped out of a simmering, flat cast iron pan as your order. Tender hunks of white fish, bites of calamari and hefty prawns are nestled into a plate of creamy, saffron-infused rice. If it's not breakfast without eggs, try a regional speciality. The arroz con costra is a popular dish from Elche in the southeast of Spain, and is a version of paella infused with black pudding with eggs cracked over the top.

A stack of doughnuts
Photograph: Supplied

Doughnuts at Sydney Vegan Market

The humble doughnut has become a competitive hallmark in the snacking game. With ‘OMG!’ literally in its name, you might expect a spectacle of Instagram-geared rounds piled to high heavens with sickly sweet toppings, but you'd be way off base. The Sydney Vegan Market regular has focussed their energies on finessing twelve sugar dustings made from fruits, veggies and spices. Each fluffy, crisp-fried disc is cooked to order and then dressed in the flavoured sugar of your choice. There's cinnamon, natch, but if you’re willing to get adventurous, there's a berry-chilli option and one fragrant with chai spices like ginger and cardamom. We downed these bad boys at the monthly Sydney Vegan Market in Moore Park (yes, they’re certified by Vegan Australia). Pack your picnic blanket – a piping hot paper bag of these dough boys is best enjoyed along with a cup from the nearby volunteer-run chai stall, while sitting on the grass as a live acoustic cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ plays over the speakers and you review your purchases of crystals and essential oil perfumes on the lawn. Part of the beauty of this market is the joy it awakens in people on restricted diets (be that vegan, vego, lactose intolerant, etc) who don’t need to fret about finding edible options that fit their needs and preferences. Wandering between ‘sweet tooth central’, the ‘savoury staples’ and ‘beverage boulevard’ is a feeling akin to being a kid in a candy store.

Filipino Australian Pastries at Ryde Wharf Market
Photograph: Nick Dent

Pandesal at Ryde Wharf Market

Shopping Markets Ryde Wharf Reserve, Ryde

Launched at the end of 2020, these markets right on the Parramatta River have brought around 70 food, produce, craft and fashion stalls to a part of Sydney that was crying out for something social and fun on a Sunday morning that didn’t involve worship. The markets take place the second Sunday of the month in the Ryde Wharf Reserve, a green space punctuated by granite and sandstone blocks that attest to the wharf's colonial history. Grab a market brekkie and eat it with your legs dangling off the wooden wharfside. You’ll find crêpes, bao, arancini, pho, dumplings, burek and more. For a breakfast on the sweet side try a pandesal, a traditional soft pastry bun filled with salted caramel, choc hazelnut, or purple ube among fillings, from the Filipino Australian Pastries stall. These are a popular breakfast food in the Philippines, and it's easy to see why.

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Person picking flowers at Grandiflora Florists
Person picking flowers at Grandiflora Florists
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