From hip tapas to organic fresh produce, here’s our list of the most unique and interesting food markets to visit in Johannesburg.
Open: Fridays noon to 8pm, Saturdays 10am to 7pm and Sundays 10am to 4pm. Open for Night Fox on the last Friday of the month.
This is one of the quieter inner-city markets. To get the best out of it, combine your adventures: Grab a beer or mini sample tasters (our preferred way to go) from Mad Giant Brewery. Eat your way through the district tapas-style, with venison takai from Urbanologi and seafood from Prawn Stars. Always finish off with a waffle from Von Pickartz Belgian Waffles before dancing the night away at Good Luck Bar.
Open: Thursdays and Saturdays 9am to 3pm. Also open for moonlit markets on Tuesday evenings from mid-November to mid-December.
When you have a market on the grounds of a Waldorf school, you better believe that they mean it when they say they’re organic. For over 30 years this market has consistently focused on everything healthy and delicious – with a bit of hand-dyed wool thrown in. They still manage to keep things fresh though, like with the introduction of Organic Leaves, their new vegan restaurant. We suggest visiting for Christa’s marinated chickpeas alone.
Open: Fridays, Saturdays from sundown
Spicy aromas fill the air as you walk the inner-city streets of Fordburg on market nights. This market, which was started in 1990, needs no introduction to locals and welcomes anyone who has a penchant for fresh sugar cane juice. It’s the best place to buy Bollywood music and DVDs while you snack on oven-fresh tikka kebabs or sweetmeats as you stroll. Or sit at the fantastic vegetarian restaurant in the center and people-watch. Just note that parking is dire on a good night.
Open: Sundays 9am to 4pm. Farmers Pop Up Café every Friday from 3.30pm to 10.30pm
Treat yourself to a gatsby from a Land Rover food truck called Jimmy as you relax and listen to the best in local acoustic music. Located on the original Fourways Farmstead, this outdoor market makes the best of its beautiful country garden setting. Now, thanks to its Pop Up Café, every Friday you can start your weekend right with sushi from The Sushi Bus, the aforementioned gatsby from El Gatsby Station or an epic alcoholic jam jar from SumTing Fresh.
Open: Saturdays from 8.30am to 1.30pm, Vegan Market the first Sunday of the month 9am to 3pm
A market that openly welcomes pets is something we can always get behind. For the past 9 years people from all over Joburg have come to this open and shady sports ground to stock up on fresh produce and artisanal products. What’s more, its monthly sister vegan market is a veggie paradise and home to the urban vegetable growers’ swap. On occasion, green-growing enthusiasts come together to sell and swap produce here from their own backyards.
Open: Check their Facebook for the next market
Although more of an occasional market, over the last two years the Linden Market has gained worthy notoriety in the already-saturated Joburg market scene. Located in the beautiful sprawling grounds of the Emmarentia Botanical Gardens, this market is packed with fantastic food, designer cocktails, handmade goods and vintage clothing. With live music, unicorn cupcakes, handcrafted toffees by Darling Sweet, activities for kids, and even a lady who sells carnivorous plants, this market really does have something for everyone.
Open: Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm
Barely contained in a semi-connected sprawl of buildings in the inner city – including the 15-storey former Medical Arts building, now named Haile Selassie – is Little Ethiopia (or ‘Little Addis’), a daily lifestyle more than a market. Home to most of Ethiopia’s flavours (and a fair share of its people, as well) you can find massive amounts of generosity and huge portions of delicious injeera from the likes of Netsi’s. Weave your way through traditional dress and bags of corisha spice to find amazing coffee and aromatic vegetable stews.
Open: first Sunday of the month, from mid-morning to late
What started as a Sowetan cool kids market celebrating food and craftsmanship has now become a much bigger brand. You can catch LoCrate markets in Newtown or picnics at Consitution Hill where, true to form, you can expect the best local designer brands; gourmet food from the likes of Cajun Joe; their signature cool vibe and low crates. They are also partners in the Makhelwane Festival, where you can camp together to celebrate all the joys associated with wine, food, cycling and music.
Open: Sundays 10am to 3pm and on Main Street – First Thursdays 7pm to 11pm
One of the first markets to attempt bringing international market sensibilities to an inner city space, seven years later MoM is still seen as a quintessential Joburg Sunday vibe. A firm cornerstone of weekend Maboneng life, the market’s influence has seeped into the streets of the area. Many of the restaurants in the surrounds first started at the market, like everyone’s favourite, Che Argentine Grill. You’ll do well to come early and make a day of it. Grab some dumplings, brownies, bunny chows or loaded hotdogs. Also enjoy a few Three Anchors locally distilled gin and tonics and have a dance around the corner at the Living Room.
Open: Saturdays 9am to 3pm and First Thursday evenings
This market changed the landscape of Saturdays in Braamfontein and continues to fuel the city’s hunger for outdoor partying on the weekend. And now, since the bar has been taken over by the fine people at Great Dane, you can while away your lazy Saturdays sipping from a pineapple. Make sure to gain full hipster status by buying a pot plant from Super Nature, getting a salmon poké bowl (obviously) and grabbing a slice of chocolate forest cake from Country Kitchen. Why? Because cake is always on trend.
This market boasts the most haphazard of layouts, but half the fun of attending is finding what you’re looking for and even some things you had no idea you could want, like edible clay. As the city’s oldest market, it’s a true representation of what this continent has to offer in terms of abundance, curiosity, entrepreneurship and flavour. Be sure to brush up on your broken French – most of the vendors are Congolese – and hunt for fresh fruit from West Africa, dried crayfish and Mopani worms (they’re great with gin).
Have we missed your favourite food market in Jozi? Let us know in the comments below.