Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Adelaide Central Market

To Adelaide locals Adelaide is just a big country town. But that doesn't do justice to this city of astonishing diversity and quality ethnic cuisine. The Adelaide Central Market is a national treasure, and Adelaideans love of welcoming, adventurous dining and their pride in regional products make it a must-visit on ever food-lover's itinerary. The Adelaide Central Market is a part of how we live, and has been since 1869.

The indoor market is owned by the city council, is open to the public and is far more than a tourist attraction. Adelaideans are pretty savvy about food- we take an interest in how it's produced, where it's from. So knowing the vendors who make or sell it is part of the social fabric. We're a multi-cultural city, with the first German immigrants arriving shortly after the colony was established in 1836. This was followed by Russians, Czechs, Poles, and Hungarians. South Australia also has a considerable Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Asian population. This has had a significant impact upon the food of South Australia.

Over at Sevenhill Fine Foods, Mr. Waldeck, a Polish refugee, sells traditional tastes of his homeland, including makowiec, a poppy seed bread, and regional charcuterie like mettwurst and lachshinken. Sun Mi runs a small stall offering her Korean take on made-to-order sushi, while Tony O'Connell of O'Connell's Quality Meats specializes in local product, such as lamb. O'Connell, 52, started in his family's shop at 15, and treats his customers like relatives.

At Wild Oz, you can buy native game such as emu, kangaroo, and wallaby, and feral animals eg wild pig and goat. A number of shops sell regional and indigenous "bush tucker" ingredients such as lemon myrtle, wattleseed, and quandong jam, and flaky, red, Murray River salt. House of Organic sells pristine, sustainably-grown Australian produce: Mildura asparagus, Adelaide Hills beurre bosc pears, kipfler potatoes.

At dough!, Turkish pide and Lebanese flatbread compete for space with quiche, pastry, and locally-made, whole, glaceed figs, clementines, and kumquats, and plump, dried muscatel grapes from Barossa Valley vineyards. Across the aisle is one of my favourite at The Smelly Cheese Shop, stocked to capacity with imported and Australian artisan cheeses and housemade condiments such as skordalia, oil-packed, dried tomatoes, marinated bocconcini, and other picnic and cheeseboard items.

With such a diversity of styles and broad range of items Adelaide Central Market has to be on your list of foodie things to do when next in Adelaide.