Apart from weddings, funerals and special occasions, there are not many places that I would dress up for. But there is definitely one place in Sydney that I would “dress down” before the trip.
So, I am in my usual attire of a best worn T-shirt, shorts and sneakers in the middle of a Sydney winter and for good reason too. I am amongst a crowd of rambling housewives, curious tourists, hurrying cafe owners and restaurateurs pushing gigantic trolleys piled high with fresh vegetables, meat, fruits and seafood.
“Ait dolla, ait dolla, ait dolla, cheap, cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeap, COME ONNN !!!!” yells out an orange vendor at the top of his voice.
That’s right readers, eight dollars for beautiful Australian navel oranges and that’s not eight dollars per kilo but eight dollars per box!
Citrus fruits are plentiful in the thick of winter and everything from oranges, grapefruit, blood orange, mandarins, lemons and limes are at its peak and better still, at bargain prices.
Welcome to the wholesale fresh food markets that is Sydney Markets in Flemington!
I don’t come to these markets often but I am here today to buy some vegetables for a home party and this is always an excellent place if you want to shop for larger quantities and to find bargains.
I am glad I’m in my attire because I am walking among mangled paper cartons, strewn vegetables, moving trolleys, occasional forklifts and worst of all, impatient shoppers.
I pick up a whole box of Fuji apples for a mere ten dollars, after a bit of bargaining from a grand price of thirteen dollars.
Yes dear readers, a whole box of at least 40 beautiful crunchy fresh apples for ten bucks!!
The vendors are generally friendly and eager to help customers who are unsure about the huge range of fruits and vegetables.
The Sydney Markets consists of the Sydney Produce Market, Sydney Flower Market, Sydney Growers Market and Sydney’s Paddy’s Markets. Some interesting facts about the Sydney Markets include:
- An estimated 2.5 million tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables are sold through the Sydney Produce Market and Sydney Growers Market annually, valued at $3 billion.
- Approximately 1,500 traders operate within the community markets at Flemington and Haymarket in the city.
- Around 140,000 customers shop at the markets each week.
- Approximately 120 wholesalers, 394 produce growers and 172 flower growers-sellers and 160 supporting businesses are located at site in Flemington.
It is nearing the end of the strawberry season and each punnet is still a beautiful dark red of deliciously sweet fruit.
Even though prices are cheap, customers can still find bargains and often vendors will accede towards the end of each trading session to get rid of stock and supplies in anticipation of fresh batches to come.
I love the vegetables stalls because they look so sprightly and vibrant in all their fresh green glory.
One of my favourite recipes is to simply roast red capsicums with some extra virgin olive oil, salt and black pepper to accompany salads and roasts.
Leeks are also in season and there are at least half a dozen recipes I can think of with such beautiful vegetables.
The tomatoes are especially fresh and beautiful in their vibrant red.
Carrot juice and carrot cake?
This could be great for French onion soup … for the next few weeks?
Fresh rocket leaves usually retail for about $20 per kg in large supermarkets such as Coles and Woolworths.
There are also fresh poultry and red meat stalls that sell chicken, duck, spatchcock, quail, beef, lamb, pork and other meat items too.
Green valley herbs and spices is an excellent pit stop and I would always load up if I’m short on turmeric and dried herbs.
I have used some of their spices to slow bake chicken and it tastes quite delicious.
The aromas of the herbs and spices will draw you into this stall and most of which are sold by the bucket loads on display.
In my previous blog post, I wrote about some great cheap eats in Flemington. Apart from small cafes and restaurants, the Asian grocery stores are also an attraction. Tan Hung Long Supermarket is one of at least half a dozen Asian grocery stores in the suburb.
These stores sell a variety of dry groceries that range from Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indonesian and Malaysian cooking ingredients.
Some stores will stock more unusual fruits and items not found in the larger supermarkets and deli.
Many years ago, the Sydney Fish Markets in Pyrmont used to be the main seafood market in the city but there are so many suburbs which now offer Sydneysiders fresh seafood that is available all year round.
Viet Hoa Fish Market is the larger among two fish shops in Flemington.
Australian barramundi is a beautiful fish to steam or grill on a barbeque.
Coral trout is a perennial favourite among Asian diners in some of the best chinese seafood restaurants in Sydney.
Blue swimmers are always plentiful all year round and they are sweet and tasty either steam or on a barbeque with a spicy sour Thai dressing.
Tiger prawns and green prawns are great and I always use these for Ipoh Kai Si Hor Fun.
Sydney rock oysters are one of the iconic seafoods of this city with its yellowish flesh and distinctive flavour.
Packed tightly in foam carton and old newspapers are mud crabs from Queensland, They are absolutely fantastic to cook Singapore chilli crabs, one of Mysaucepan‘s favourites.
There are also many chinese barbeque shops that sells excellent roast duck and roast pork among other chinese barbeque favourites.
KW Barbeque Shop is a favourite among locals and the queues can sometimes be tremendously long.
My personal favourite is the roast duck because I love making my own of chinese roast pork at home.
These shops usually close business for the day when all the supplies hanging on the window have been sold.
Green Valley Spices – click here for more information.