Insouciant bon-vivant and erstwhile troubadour prone to verbose verbiage.
Published May 24th 2012
Amongst the soaring real estate prices and inexpensive Asian eateries that characterise the inner suburb of Footscray nestles the hidden gem that is its market. You won't find tourist themed doo-dads sold by nomadic store-holders but you will find possibly the lowest priced meat, seafood, poultry, fruit & veg and deli items in the Melbourne area.
Footscray Market doesn't have the bells and whistles of some of the trendier markets around inner Melbourne (Victoria and South Melbourne for example) however what it lacks in style it makes up for in substance. It doesn't take long to become a regular at the stores with the shopkeepers greeting you like an old friend on each visit. From the fishmongers who sing along to Johnny Cash tunes, to the town crier like green grocer extolling the virtues of low price bananas, you will find Footscray Market totally endearing.
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You can still get your trendy café lattes at the cafes attached to the market and I highly recommend sampling a Vietnamese Iced Coffee (extra strong espresso plus ice and condensed milk = oh my god that's good). With the ethnic diversity of Footscray and the surrounding Hopkins & Leeds St shops it would be a challenge to name a recipe ingredient you couldn't find in the area.
Once you've picked up your weekly groceries at the lowest price you could hope to find, you're free to enjoy a delicious Vietnamese/Chinese/Japanese/East African/Italian lunch at any of the adjoining/abutting restaurants. The food court also offers a wide range of options including your standard fare hamburger & chips through to more exotic Asian dishes with two Filipino restaurants providing shoppers with a much underrated cuisine (try the Dinuguan).
The variety of items you can pick up in the market is quite surprising and the place is undoubtedly bigger than it looks form outside. Beside the vittles' you can pick up on the cheap, you'll also find clothing, intimate apparel, furniture, DVD's and any number of household goods, all at prices that give eBay a run for its money.
Parking at the market will cost you about $1 an hour and at $6 for the whole day it's a handy option if you want to jump on a train or tram to notorious parking deserts in nearby Yarraville and Williamstown. You're best off taking cash along as not every store will accept Eftpos - there is an ATM just across the road in Leeds St.
Unfortunately the place is closed on Sundays but is open late on a Friday and all day Saturday. I can't recommend the place highly enough, spending as I do every Saturday morning there doing my weekly shop sans piped through supermarket theme songs.