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The Queen of Markets

Home > Melbourne > Markets | Food and Wine
by Julia Hebaiter (aka Julia Svoice) (subscribe)
Owns 'FoodLit'. Highly qualified, established food & lifestyle writer, former restaurateur, founder professional writing business, Articul8. Long, diverse writing history, passion for food culture, the land & inspired food
Published August 4th 2009
Love the hustle and bustle of a good market? Well, the famous Queen Victoria Market isn’t just a good market, it’s the grand dame of all markets!

More like a big day out than a spot of shopping, the ‘Queen Vic’, as she is fondly known, is a Melbourne institution well worth a regular visit.

The fruit and veg are as fresh as can be, and you’ll find lots of interesting and unusual produce to relieve the boredom of cooking the same ol’ stuff over and over.

As for the Deli Hall, it’s a sensory feast of glistening antipasti, melt-in-the-mouth cheeses, artisan breads and other delicacies to dive into.

The meat, fish and seafood sections are superb – and as crazy as can be. They’re noisy, bustly and they capture the true essence of a market that’s been part of Victoria’s fabulous food and immigrant history since 1878.

Did you know the market was a former cemetery? Fascinating! But I’m yet to explore what they did with the remains because I’m not sure I want to know!

With traders competing for your dollar, often with a very loud holler, you can bargain them down and score yourself some very good bargains, especially if you happen to be there near closing time.

And, of course, there’s plenty of general merchandise – clothes, shoes, jewellery, arts and crafts and so on. Keep your eyes peeled for the bargains. On my last visit, I scored a pair of great leather boots for $30!

No visit to the market is complete without a hot jam donut, so look out for the van and be patient in the queue. A donut (or three) is worth it!

Parking is available in the surrounding streets (if you’re very lucky) or in the Market Car Park, which is free during limited, specified hours, or simply hop on a tram, train or bus.

I think taking the car in is best, especially if you’re an avid shopper like me! You don’t want to spoil your day lugging around bags of stuff with your arms about to drop off. Bringing a trolley is a good idea. You can also hire one there but, of course, you have to give it back.

The Queen Vic is about much more than shopping. There’s almost always some sort of entertainment or special events going on, ranging from street performers and professional musicians to full-on, fabulous Food Tours, complete with yummy tastings, Cooking Classes and the Wednesday night Suzuki Night Market in summer.

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Why? For sugar crystals and warm jam on sticky lips.
When: Tue & Thur 6am-2pm; Fri 6am-5pm; Sat 6am-3pm; Sun 9am-4pm.
Where: Cnr Queen & Elizabeth Sts, Melbourne
Cost: Free entry
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