Gastronomic Safari: A Festive journey to Cape Town’s Food Markets

When it comes to tackling the appetizing issue of where to start sampling the mindboggling array of foodstuffs on offer in Cape Town it’s very handy to seek the sagacious advice of a local.

The Mother City – as locals refer to her – is of course as famous for her extraordinary cuisine as for the distinctive flat mountain that watches over her. With culinary influences as diverse and exotic as South Africa’s very own rainbow nation, the visitor with time constraints may be at a loss as to where to start their food journey. Fret not! Any local worth their salt will advise that a gastronomic safari has to kick off with sampling delights from Cape Town’s profusion of legendary food markets.

Get your seasonal tinsel on and follow me as I, in turn, will be following my nose.

 

First stop: NEIGHBOURGOODS MARKET.

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Image Cécile Paul

Nestled between the bustling Table Bay Docks and the green slopes of Devil’s Peak lies Woodstock, one of the most historic districts in Cape Town – gritty, industrial and infinitely vibrant. Ensconced within this urban cityscape is The Old Biscuit Mill, home to Cape Town’s pulsating Neighbourgoods Market. You will have navigated your way through a myriad of quaint artisan shops and cafes to arrive at this epic weekend destination. When entering through the gates you’ll understand just what all the fuss is about.

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Image Cécile Paul

A pulled pork sandwich with roasted garlic and ginger paste? Authentic Turkish dolmades with chilled rooibos tea? Apple and walnut cake or popcorn fudge to finish with?

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Image Cécile Paul

A feast for the eye and titillating temptation for the taste buds – this time of year offerings come with a special festive twist.

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Image Cécile Paul

It’s a place where the vibe is so tangible you’d like to kick off your winkle pickers and dance on the long tables laid on for communal eating. Here stove piped hipsters and fashionistas in fedoras meet up over the perfect skinny latte to discuss the merits of a certain cauliflower taco or Bodega ramen.

Insider’s tip: Bring along a sizeable basket with a solid base. As you find yourself in the maelstrom of eager diners – and at the same time bombarded with far too much temptation – stop and buy little sample dishes as you go.

Opening times: Every Saturday, come rain or shine, 9am – 3pm.

From December 2020 the market will be open for vintage and collectible shopping, and on Thursday evenings for Neighbourgoods Tonight Street Feast.

Find it at The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Road, Woodstock.

www.neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za

Second stop: ORANJEZICHT CITY FARM MARKET.

Overlooking the scintillating Atlantic Ocean and adjacent to the world famous V&A Waterfront is this gem of a market. Well before you reach the market you’ll encounter Cape Town’s locals heading for the OZCF on their weekly pilgrimage, armed with organic shopping bags and flanked by their designer furry friends.

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Image OZCF website

The organic vibe is everywhere – from the sawdust floors to the fresh sea air from the ocean below, in the raw foodstuffs as well as in the food-to-go. Whether you’re a conscious carnivore or herbivorous vegan, a chocaholic or diabetic, this market caters abundantly for all tastes and preferences.

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Image Cécile Paul

Here’s a place where you can meet the makers, partake in the sensory pleasure of sniffing freshly picked herbs and flowers, hand-select your fruit and vegetables while sampling mouth-watering meals from the array of artisan food stalls.

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Image Cécile Paul

Upon entering you’ll be captivated by the vibrant display of indigenous peonies, proteas and pincushions.

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Image Cécile Paul

The array of fresh-from the farm seasonal veggies, organic herbs, free-range eggs, raw honey, to name but a few, is breathtaking. San Marzano or Oxheart tomatoes? Fresh cherries or sun-drenched strawberries? Melt-in-the-mouth pasteis de nata or a buckwheat crepe to round up brunch?

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Image Cécile Paul

Greenery in abundance – from local ‘fynbos’ to cacti, all beautifully displayed and ready to be taken home.

Insider’s tip: Arrive early – it can get very busy here! Also, become a member of the OZCF club and be the first to know when the first blood oranges, figs, cherries or wild garlic – to name but a few – are on offer. Save your lunchtime appetite, though, as we’ll be lunching at our next stop!

Opening times: Saturdays 8.15am – 2pm, on Sundays 9am – 3pm and on Wednesdays 5pm – 9pm, come rain or shine.

Find it at Granger Bay, V&A Waterfront.

www.ozcf.co.za

Third stop: BAY HARBOUR MARKET.

Leaving the city bowl behind we head southwards along the spectacular Cape Peninsula route that hugs the coastline, dotted with sandy beaches and colossal boulders. This awe-inspiring approach to the historic fishing town of Hout Bay sets the scene for arriving at a treasure trove of local artisanal stalls, live music and the most creative of interiors at the Bay Harbour Market.

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Image Cécile Paul

Situated inside an old fish factory at the furthermost point of the famous Hout Bay Harbour, you can opt to sit outside on the patio and enjoy the fresh sea air with your kudu pastrami, springbok salami or warthog chorizo panini or you can join the communal jovial atmosphere inside. In the winter months near the fireplace is the perfect spot to stay cosy while savouring your Mediterranean or Middle Eastern meal (with a Capetonian twist of course!)

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Image Cécile Paul

Plenty community spirit at the Bay Harbour Market.

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All things Afri chic are up for grabs.

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Images Cécile Paul

The area immediately surrounding the market is filled with characterful buildings, authentic fish and chips vendors and a working harbour.

Insider’s tip: Looking for the perfect gift for someone who has everything? Try Johnny Hexburg Hot sauce! Failing that, choose from the extraordinary array of local produce on offer – from fynbos gin to vegan leather shoes – exclusive to this market.

Opening times: Fridays 5pm – 9pm, Saturdays & Sundays 9.30am – 4.30pm.

Find it at 31 Harbour Road, Hout Bay.

www.bayharbour.co.za

Other epic markets (for another day!) in the Cape Town orbit include:

CAPE POINT VINEYARDS MARKET

Opening times: Thursday, 4.30pm – 8.30pm
Find it at Cape Point Vineyards, Silvermine Road.

www.cpt.co.za

FRIDAY NIGHT MARKET AT BOSCHENDAL

Opening times: Friday, 6pm – 9pm (until 30 April 2021)
Find it at Boschendal Wine Estate, Pniel Road, Groot Drakenstein.

www.boschendal.com

LOURENSFORD MARKET

Opening times: Friday, 5pm – 9pm, Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 3pm (September – end-May)
Find it at Lourensford Wine Estate, Lourensford Road, Somerset West (via N2, R44).

www.lhfm.co.za

BLUE BIRD GARAGE MARKET

Opening times: Thursday, 4pm – 9pm, Friday, 4pm – 10pm
Find it at 39 Albertyn Road, Muizenberg.

http://bluebirdgarage.co.za/

FRANSCHHOEK VILLAGE MARKET

Opening times: Saturday, 9am – 3pm (weather-dependent)
Find it at 29 Huguenot Street, Franschhoek.

http://www.franschhoekvillagemarket.co.za/

MOJO MARKET

Opening times: Monday – Sunday, 11am – 11pm
Find it at 30 Regent Road, Sea Point.

http://www.mojomarket.co.za/

BLAAUWKLIPPEN FAMILY MARKET

Opening times: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 3pm
Find it at Blaauwklippen Wine Estate, R44 Strand Road, Stellenbosch.
https://linktr.ee/blaauwklippen

EARTH FAIR FOOD MARKET

Opening times: Wednesday, 4pm – 9pm, Saturday, 9am – 3pm, Friday, 4pm – 10pm
Find it at Unit 9 & 10, 333 Main Road, South Palms Centre, Tokai.

http://www.earthfairmarket.co.za/

KIRSTENBOSCH CRAFT AND FOOD MARKET

Opening times: Last Sunday of the month, 9am – 3pm
Find it at Stone Cottage Grounds. Corner Kirstenbosch and Rhodes Drives, Newlands.

http://www.kirstenboschcraftmarket.co.za/

COUNTRY CRAFT MARKET AT SOUTHEY’S VINES

Opening times: Selected Saturdays, 9am – 2pm
Find it at Southey’s Vines, 186 Main Road, Somerset West.

http://www.countrycraftmarket.org/

NATURAL GOODS MARKET AT CENTURY CITY

Opening times: Last Sunday of the month, 9am – 2pm (summer)
Find it at Central Park, Park Lane, Century City, Cape Town.

http://centurycity.co.za/

ELGIN RAILWAY MARKET

Opening times: Saturday & Sunday, 8.30am – 4.00pm
Find it at Oak Avenue, Grabouw.

http://www.elginrailwaymarket.co.za/

VEGAN GOODS MARKET

Opening times: Woodstock Vegan Goods Market: First Saturday of the month, 10am – 3pm,
Vegan Goods Market at The Source: Mid-month and last Sunday of the month, 10am – 3pm,
Vegan Goods Market at Timour Villa: Mid-month Sunday, 10am – 3pm
Find Woodstock Vegan Goods Market at: 196 Victoria Road, Woodstock
Find Vegan Goods at The Source at: The Source Yoga Studio, 11 Townsend Avenue, Constantia
Find Vegan Goods Market at Timour Villa at: Timour Hall Villa, St Joans Road, Plumstead. vgmsouthafrica@gmail.com

FREEDOM WEEKEND MARKET
Opening times: Saturday, 9am – 4pm, Sunday, 9am – 3pm
Find it at Freedom Village, 301 Wemmershoek Road, Paarl.https://www.facebook.com/freedomweekendmarket

 

Cecile Paul

Author at Pynck

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