In Melbourne, there are some places usually under the radar but well known to the locals. A market is one such place, of wonder, good food, mysterious things and even a chance to observe the local culture and lifestyles.
Prahran Market is special; it is a 150 year old fresh foods market you might suddenly stumble upon if you are taking a relaxed stroll down Chapel Street in Melbourne. From the outside, it looks like any other farmer's market, but a walk down the market streets will dispel that notion.
Established in the 1800s, Prahran Market is an Australian food lover's paradise, it hosts local farming families, family owned businesses all showcasing the best of Melbourne's diversity and variety in terms of fresh produce and home-made food.
It is here that you will find authentic Hungarian Cafe, Greek Eatery, a non-traditional fruits and vegetables market, a wholesale Coffee shop selling coffee beans from around the world or maybe you could stop to chat with the young, dynamic entrepreneur and founder of Yumm Scrum, Joe who will tell you all about his beloved spices! Since Prahran is a huge place, here is a quick round up of some of the must-visit stalls in it.
Superfood Baguettes We all know of baguettes as a type of French bread, but at this shop, you will find the kind of 'baguette' you won't get anywhere else! How would you like a pistachio baguette? Or maybe a Brazil nut one? Made from items like pulses or dry fruits like almonds/pistachios and other healthy options, these unique delicacies are in condensed form and have a long shelf life of up to one year.
Yumm Scrum An endeavor by a young upcoming entrepreneur named Joe, Yumm Scrum is the result of one man's passion for spices and the quest for creating perfect hand-mixed spice mixes likeProvincial herb Mix, Mexican Spice Mix, Thai Spice Mix, Moroccan Spice Mix. Joe's passion is very evident in his words and his work. He is the kind of person who leaves an impression in the mind, interesting, dynamic and intriguing all the same time.
Kook's Kitchen Coming across Kook's Kitchen suddenly, you will be wowed by the sight of delicious and creative salads and crowds of people taking their pick from the lot. From gourmet salads to cold press juice, this place is famous for its delicacies. The most popular one seems to be the Carrot Slaw which is as delicious as it looks but customers were also busy trying out their Pea and Mung Bean Sprout Tabouleh, Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas, Roast Butternut pumpkin and Kale and other unique salad variants.
Now that was a surprise! It is rare to come across authentic Hungarian street food which means there is a large Hungarian populace who has made this shop a link to their homeland. The shop serves true blue local Hungarian dishes like Goulash (Gulyas), Sausage in a Baguette (Debreceni vagy Csabai Kolbasz Kenyerrel), Savory or Traditional Langos (Hagyomanyos Langos), Chicken Paprikash (Paprikas Csirke). So if you are a true blue Hungarian, or even a local or a tourist craving a taste of Hungarian food, this shop is for you.
Italian Deli at the Fresh Pasta Shop This Italian Deli stocks the largest array of fresh hand-made pasta and other Italian delicacies that are normally sold in gourmet shops. It caters to pasta lovers all over the city as well as visitors looking to try authentic, hand-made pasta. To give you an idea of their variety, they have things like Beef Ravioli, Shredded Pork Caramelized Onion and Ricotta, Lamb Mint and Rosemary Ravioli, Cambodian Beef Balls and fresh pasta in all shapes and sizes like Linguini, Fettuccini, Spaghetti, Pappardelle. They even sell gluten-free pasta for healthy folks!
They have a really neat collection of colorful flowers, pine bark and different kinds of flora. From roses to different kinds of foliage, they have an abundant, vibrant stock. If you are lucky enough you will get to see a pretty girl in a multi-colored kaftan blending in with the beautiful bouquets. They have flowers for any occasion and purpose, from red, pink, yellow, white and dual-colour Roses to Gerberas, Orchids, Lilies and even seasonal flowers, it is all about flower power!
The largest collection of meat/seafood/deli items in Prahran market, this is divided into various sections, each with its own specialty offerings. You can take a stroll down the aisle and check out the products in different stalls/sections like Poultry, Fresh Seafood, Meat products or you could try out some of their delicious recipes like Salmon Wraps, Pickled octopus etc.
Buckets of Coffee Beans at Jasper Coffee
Even if you are not a coffee drinker, this is still a unique sight to see – huge containers piled high with coffee beans from around the world made for a really neat presentation. Even a non-drinker would be tempted to buy and try out some of the different varieties they have. The shop is extremely popular with locals who usually line up for beans likeYemen Mocha Sanani, Mexico Chiapas, Billy Dunn, Ethiopia Sidamo and Isabel to name a few.
Desserts at Sweet Greek
A family owned and run business, Sweet Greek is a café-cum-dessert shop that has the most decadent offerings of freshly baked cakes, pastries, biscuits and other traditional recipes including home-cooked meals intended to give customers a taste of authentic Greek cuisine. You could sink your pearly whites into delicious concoctions like Amigthalota, Melomakarona, Baklava, Spanakopitakia and many other such items.
Chedder cheese is very common, it's the most widely used cheese in sandwiches, pizzas, pasta etc, but black cheddar, not so much. Cheese connoisseurs might know about this unique cheese just as they know about sourdough bread, but for those of you who are not used to seeing a jet black cheese, the colour comes from the use of real charcoal which gives it a smooth and creamy texture.
Special Fruits and Vegetables
Though this might seem pretty mundane, you will be pleasantly surprised to see a number of exotic fruits and vegetables that you normally don't get at your usual grocery store, things like fresh pistachios, giant white onions and at this time round, bunches of fresh baby carrots with their tops. All the produce is locally sourced and extremely fresh.
If you have never tasted Sicilian Cannoli before, then you are really missing out! If you sink your teeth into one of these, you will find yourself in sweet heaven. The baker is a nice friendly person trying out different creative cannoli ideas while still keeping the authentic Sicilian taste. Apart from Cannoli, you could also try out Raw Cacao and Chia Seed Balls, Raspberry Ball, Spirulina, Seeds and Walnuts and other tasty tidbits.
Traditional German BBQ
If you are craving authentic German sausages and meats, then this is the place to try out. Customers are enticed by heavenly smells wafting through the shop from an open traditional style charcoal barbecue which prepares delicious wieners and sausages. The different kinds of meats are prepared fresh in front of your eyes and you can select from a range of options like German Bratwurst, Kransky, Spanish Chorizo, etc.
Lots of wonderful looking food, especially Kook's Kitchen salad. The Super Baguettes sound great, but I think they look more like sausages than a baguette. Calling them super sausages would probably give people the wrong idea though.