Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne

QV Market

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces,
just good food from fresh ingredients”

- Julia Child, American chef and cookbook author

One of my favourite activity to do in any city that I visit is to check out the local fresh food markets. I find these markets truly fascinating because they provide an insight into the food culture of the city, its people and their way of life.

Notwithstanding the beautiful colours of fresh fruits and vegetables,  wholesome cuts of meat, seafood and other fresh ingredients, these markets, to me, are the windows into the soul of the people that are connected to bringing fresh food to our dinner tables.

In a multicultural Australia, many of these fresh food markets are built upon the sweat and toil of early migrants who came  to settle in this country. Some of these migrants worked on vast farmland, established small delicatessens, green grocers and eateries that became their livelihood. Others became butchers, fished along our coastal lines and established small cottage industries some of which still exist today.

Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne

Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne

Today, Mysaucepan and I are visiting the Queen Victoria Market, conveniently located within a 5-minute walk north from the heart of Melbourne CBD. Established in 1878, I am in awe this market has existed for well over a hundred years in this city. I try to think about Sydney’s equivalent being the Paddy’s Market in Haymarket as we browse through row after row of butchers, seafood vendors and small delicatessens.

Big Vic Deli

Big Vic Deli

One of the first things that I notice is the sheer choice and variety of products on offer in the delis.

Some of these delis are more specialized than others but whether you are a gourmet chef or someone who simply loves to cook at home, this place is truly a paradise for seeking out those ingredients, whether you are planning on Italian, Japanese or Chinese for that next home party.

Stuffed olives, stuffed capsicum and Greek feta

Stuffed olives, stuffed capsicum and Greek feta

I can feel the passion of the vendors as we walk past each stall from the way the food and ingredients are presented.

The array of colours, smell and small tastings is enough to whet our appetite as we stop to sample fresh bread, smoked salmon dips, stuffed olives and my favourite – ham and bacon.

Salmon prosciutto

Salmon prosciutto

Sydney, what is your answer to so many of these delis offering such mouth-watering ingredients which are all located in the one place?

Olives and sun-dried tomatoes

Olives and sun-dried tomatoes

The vendors are enthusiastic in serving every customer, yelling our bargains and educating some who seem a little bewildered by the choice of so many products.

Beef pastrami, Continental Kassler and turkey ham

Beef pastrami, Continental Kassler and turkey ham

As we walk past the cold meats section, we are wide-eyed by the stacks of thinly sliced roast beef and pastrami, the mountain of shaved ham off-the-bone and trays of paper-thin prosciutto.

We enthusiastically suggest our favourite meals with these ingredients and how delicious our favourite sandwiches and antipasto can be with these cold cuts.

Fresh wild rabbits

Fresh wild rabbits

Fresh kangaroo and chicken

Fresh kangaroo and chicken

The red meat sections are not limited to just your favourite standing roast ribs on the bone. We spot fresh kangaroo fillets that look so lean in its vibrant red.

We find prices can be both relatively cheap and expensive across a variety of items and it might pay to shop around before buying. For today, we are merely feasting our eyes on all the food and thinking what we could cook with such beautiful ingredients.

Fresh lobsters

Fresh lobsters

Perhaps the one area that Sydney still holds the trump card is in seafood although the fresh seafood at Queen Victoria Market is very good.

Live mud crabs

Live mud crabs

The variety of fish, oysters, prawns, crabs and other shellfish is good although it pales in comparison to Sydney being the seafood mecca of Australia.

Assortment of dips

Assortment of dips

Healthy start: Fresh fruit juices

Healthy start: Fresh fruit juices

Home-made semi dried tomatoes

Home-made semi dried tomatoes

Many fresh food are home-made and we salivate thinking about the flavours of these sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes in a fresh salad.

Home-made artichokes

Home-made artichokes

Italian style white anchovies

Italian style white anchovies

Since our lunch at Movida, I have developed a new-found respect for the humble slivers of anchovies. Apart from using this delectable ingredient in my pasta recipes and salads, I find myself thinking about some creative canapes that would go so well with its salt complexity.

L to R: Stuffed olives - pesto, tomato and feta

L to R: Stuffed olives - pesto, tomato and feta

Smoked trout

Smoked trout

How about a smoked trout dip with some home-made mayo to accompany your rice crackers during happy hour? Or perhaps a smoked trout spaghetti pasta with some fresh cherry tomatoes for dinner.

The possibilities of pairing so many different ingredients together appear endless.

Imported Spanish quince paste

Imported Spanish quince paste

Imported Serrano Jamon

Imported Serrano Jamon

Vegetable panini with pumpkin, capsicum, spinach and pesto

Vegetable panini with pumpkin, capsicum, spinach and pesto

The delis section of the Queen Victoria Market is truly a feast for all the senses and I would highly recommend any visitor to Melbourne to check it out.

Fresh fruit markets

Fresh fruit markets, Queen Victoria Market

Fresh fruit markets, Queen Victoria Market

We wonder across to the fruit and vegetable section and the colours of these fresh ingredients never fail to amaze me. These markets appear to be a lot more organised than those in Sydney. Generally, the stalls are neat and the food appear to be better presented.

Fuji and Granny Smith apples, Queen Victoria Market

Fuji and Granny Smith apples, Queen Victoria Market

Bananas, Queen Victoria Market

Bananas, Queen Victoria Market

Passion fruit, Queen Victoria Market

Passion fruit, Queen Victoria Market

Mandarins, Queen Victoria Market

Mandarins, Queen Victoria Market

Tomatoes, Queen Victoria Market

Tomatoes, Queen Victoria Market

Birdeye chillies, Queen Victoria Market

Birdeye chillies, Queen Victoria Market

Red, yellow and green, capsicum

Red, yellow and green, capsicum, Queen Victoria Market

Navel oranges

Navel oranges, Queen Victoria Market

Pink grapefruit

Pink grapefruit, Queen Victoria Market

 

Limes and lemons, Queen Victoria Market

Limes and lemons, Queen Victoria Market

Free range eggs, Queen Victoria Market

Free range eggs, Queen Victoria Market

Free range eggs, Queen Victoria Market

Free range eggs, Queen Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market on Elizabeth street, Melbourne

Queen Victoria Market on Elizabeth street, Melbourne

I always leave these markets with an urge to cook because of the beautiful ingredients and Queen Victoria Market is no exception.

Being so close to the city, I can’t help but think the delicious food being dished out by Melbourne’s top cafes and restaurants have something to do with the fresh ingredients from these markets.

If you like this post, check out our visit to Jalan Imbi market in Kuala Lumpur, Sydney Markets in Flemington and Moruya Markets in the South Coast.

So dear readers, which is your favourite food market in your city?

Queen Victoria Market
513 Elizabeth street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Tel: +61 3 9320 5822

Market Trading Hours
Monday closed
Tuesday 6am – 2pm
Wednesday closed
Thursday 6am – 2pm
Friday 6am – 5pm (General Merchandise to 4pm)
Saturday 6am – 3pm
Sunday 9am – 4pm

For more information on location, trading hours and car park, visit www.qvm.com.au

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32 Responses to Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne

  1. Gorgeous post, Chopinand, you are playing my song now, you know how much I love produce markets! As I mention in some musings on food shopping http://www.bizzylizzysgoodthings.com/2/post/2011/08/qvm-the-essence-of-melbourne.html arriving at QVM or similar places gives me such a rush… I just love it! Thanks for sharing and I am delighted that you made it to the fresh fruit and veggie section too. How fantastic are those chillies!!!!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Lizzy,

      We we got to this market, my first thoughts were, “Where do we start??” The deli section was a real revelation with such a large variety and the fresh fruit and vegetable section was so organised compared to the fresh food markets of Sydney.

  2. Baby Sumo says:

    I love visiting markets in Europe/UK too when I used to travel a lot. Malaysia markets are not so nice, cos they are usually dirty and smelly.

  3. JasmyneTea says:

    I looooove the Queen Victoria Markets! I bought the best creme liqueur there :) great post!

  4. Stunning photos in this post… as usual! You’ve got quite an eye for photos. I love wandering through markets in new cities. I think one of the best ways to learn about a place is to see where locals shop and what they eat.

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear SarahKate,

      I agree, looking at food and how the locals shop and eat is a great way to understand the culture of a city.

  5. Oh how I wish our markets were as exciting as these! You lucky, lucky things with such bounty at your finger tips!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear InTolerantChef,

      I think Melbournians living in the city would count their blessings for this market.

  6. I love love love the Queen Vic market! One of the butchers made me cry on my first week in Melbourne. I stared and stared and stared in the meat window – from one butcher to the next. Nothing looked like cuts of meat I bought in the states.

    Finally one of the butchers came out with a chair and said if I was just going to look I might as well make myself comfortable.

    I burst out in tears! How awful! When I explained I had no idea what to buy, he felt really bad and explained that the butchers were all showmen.

    When I finally DID buy something, they all applauded.

    Great post! Nothing like the Queen Vic up here.

    • heidi says:

      The same thing happened to me in NYC at Sahadi’s imported foods! I was so intimidated by the huge amount of unfamiliar foods and the brusque manner of the clerks that I backed out of the store in tears the first time I went in! Subsequently, I returned and bought some things- but I will never forget that feeling of being overwhelmed and uncertain about buying food!

      • Chopinand says:

        Dear Maureen, heidi,

        We were there around noon on a Friday so I guess it would not have been as crowded as during the weekends. I have been to the fresh food markets in Sydney during the weekend and the atmosphere can be bordering mayhem!!

  7. Winston says:

    Great post! Taking my time to stroll around the Deli section is one of my favourite past times as well. I’m always there for their homemade butter. Next time you come you should try the bratswurst and Turkish Borek (only $2.50!). Anyway, glad you had a great time there and trip in Melbourne overall. Looking forward to read about where else you went. Have a good one!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Winston,

      I spent the most time around the delis taking photos because there isn’t a Sydney equivalent of such variety and choice.

  8. heidi says:

    We have a very old Farmer’s Market in Cleveland, Ohio that I love to walk through. I always buy the Sourdough Rye bread, head for the meats to pick up some Hungarian sausage for my husband , and then spend whatever I have left in my pocket on fresh fruit/veg and Flowers!
    Thanks for the look into the Queen Vic Market!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear heidi,

      I’m sure your own freshly baked sourdough would give the ones from the markets a real run for their money.

  9. Hotly Spiced says:

    What a great place to spend a few hours or a day even. I love the presentation of the food – they make it all look so tempting. Sadly, Sydney has no such equivalent. Thanks for such a thorough tour xx

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Hotly Spiced,

      The presentation of the fresh fruits vegetables caught my eye because they look so much more organised and nicely presented compared to the markets in Sydney.

  10. Celia says:

    Sydney’s answer is, of course, the Inner West. ;-) Of course, it’s not all within walking distance as it is at Queen Vic!

    Thank you for the lovely tour, we’ve never been there before, so it was nice to join you on your stroll around. And I agree, unfortunately Flemington Markets doesn’t compare! :)

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Celia,

      The inner west of Sydney would come very close but I think the delis and shops are all spread out everywhere though. Flemington or Paddy’s Markets seem like mad houses at the best of times although food is pretty fresh too.

  11. Ann says:

    Oh, my! Everything looks delicious….and that double smoked bacon! I’d LOVE to try that! I love fresh markets like that as well. Thanks for sharing and for the wealth of photos!

    • Chopinand says:

      Dear Ann,

      I was thinking about how awesome it would be to have that double smoked bacon in a simple spag carbonara.

      • Ann says:

        PERFECT! I’ll tell you what…..I’ll help in the kitchen, bring the wine and help with the dishes….you take the photos!

        You selected the absolute perfect dish for it! I’m drooling!

        • Chopinand says:

          Ann,

          You have an open invitation and it would be great just to have you over for dinner. The deal is – bring the wine, relax, enjoy and most importantly change your mind and continue blogging, please!!

          • Ann says:

            Well…I’m looking to travel (in the US with hubby) at least through 2013. If I continue blogging – it won’t be until at least 2014. With that much time past – I’d start another blog. I’m happy with my decision and having a GREAT time! (Off to Disney World for a week on Monday!)

  12. Carolyn Jung says:

    Melbourne has such amazing marketplaces. I could wander through them for hours. On my one trip there, that was when I first tried a finger lime. Of course, now I’m addicted. ;)

  13. Eha says:

    Just been on an incomparable foodie walk. I definitely live in the wrong state :( ! Thank you!!

  14. Hannah says:

    Gorgeous shots! When I was last in Melbourne and the Queen Vic Markets I ate about four billion honey samples trying to “make a decision” on which flavour to get :P

  15. That’s the MARKET! I want some crabs…miss them.

  16. I so wish to visit this market and take a whole day just wondering around. But probably I’ll be overwhelmed by the amount of shops and food and I will not know what to buy (and it’s not like we can cook in a hotel right after buying these foods). Amazing collection of food and wish we have something close to this over here.

  17. Winston says:

    This is a GREAT guide for people visiting Melbourne, Chopin. Even I want to go on this food trail too. Am sure a lot of people will find this helpful. Hope you come back again to have more great meals in Melbourne!

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