When Ruth & I first visited Adelaide’s Central Market on our 2nd visit to Australia, it was considered the largest indoor market in the Southern Hemisphere. Now it’s advertised as “one of the largest undercover markets in the Southern Hemisphere”. Whether it’s the largest or just large, it’s still a fine attraction. Since it was close to our hotel this time, Ruth went more than once and disappeared among its stalls for hours. The first time we were there, we stayed in a small apartment because the hotel we had booked was hosting a professional, Aussie rules football team and trouble was expected. The staff called a cab and moved us to a quiet, mini-apartment so we suddenly had a kitchen. We bought food at Central Market for most meals. The cab driver spent the entire time trying to get us to attend the footie game.
Often listed among Adelaide’s top 10 attractions, Central Market near Victoria Square is often busy because locals find it a good value for all types of food. Especially popular are its fruit and vegetable stalls. There are about 20 of these. A market map is both available and recommended. More than half a dozen vendors specialize in baked goods. Ten sell meat and seafood. More than a dozen eateries with names like The Latvian Lunchroom and Asian Gourmet and Le Souk are around. The neighborhood around Central Market includes Adelaide’s Chinatown, so there are lots of excellent Asian restaurants in the area. We ate at what is considered by some to be the 2nd hottest dining spot in Adelaide, a restaurant with what I think has an unfortunate name–Concubine.
Central Market has been around since 1869, which is still in the gaslight era and old for Australia. It officially opened at 3:15 am on the 23rd of January in that year and has been busy ever since. Its brochure notes that 500 customers on its first day “bought out the entire stock of goods for sale”. Way back then, hay and wild game were among the items you could purchase.
Ruth especially enjoyed the candy and flower stalls. I appreciated the gigantic Sapphire grapes. Near them was a stack of sugar cane for sale. Why you would buy it raw like this and how you would process it for consumption remains a mystery to me. By the way, the most popular restaurant in Adelaide at this time is Peel Street Cafe. Good luck getting a reservation. If you don’t succeed, there’s great backup–Central Market.