At every city that I travelled to, I would make it a point to visit their local markets. Be it Taipei, Hong Kong, London, these are the places that fascinate me and get me excited all the time, where you can witness how the locals go about their daily living and mingle yourself in the buzzing vibes of the market.
On every trip I made to Melbourne, Queen Victoria Market or QVM is the must-go place. And during the winter months, QVM also host the Winter Night Market every Wed night for 14 weeks.
We were lucky to detour to the Winter Night Market before our expensive Japanese dinner the other day. There were fireplaces strategically located throughout the shed area and over 30 street vendors and some of Melbourne’s best designer and artisan stalls made up the lively place where people just gathered, had fun and enjoyed great food and company!
In its 130 years, QVM has had a colourful and sometimes controversial history. During that time, the site has been a cemetery, a livestock market, and a wholesale fruit and vegetable market. Each of these operations has its own history and an element of controversy.
Today the market is divided into The Lower Market (bounded by Elizabeth, Victoria, Queen and Therry Streets), The Upper Market (bounded by Queen, Victoria, Peel and Franklin Streets), and the A-F Sheds. Within the compound, the market sells everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, deli produce to general merchandise, and various street shops and eateries that line the outskirt of the market.
Today (Sunday) happened to be the last day of the Food Truck Rally where food trucks line Queen Street and offered various street food.
We wandered through the market and started with Weisswurst with Sauerkraut (A$5.80) from Bratwurst Shop & Co. We already had a donut and coffee on our way here so we thought we should just get the Weisswurst (German white sausage) without the bun. This is a legend in QVM and you can see from the hordes of people around the stall to know its popularity. It’s classic market experience to get a juicy brat-on-the-go with crunchy sauerkraut to counter the oil.
We continued outside to the food trucks and the girls tried the Morning Masala Chai from Original Chai Co which is a sweet mix of black tea leaves, ginger, cardamom, milk and more. They thoroughly enjoyed it.
We continued to wander through the market and noticing another legend of QVM, the American Doughnut Kitchen! Queues were non-stop and we were lucky to get a pack of 5 Doughnuts (A$5.50) within 10 minutes. Operating from the QVM since 1950, these hot jam doughnuts are served to thousands of customers every week from a 1950’s style bus which can be easily seen beside the shed. With an unchanged recipe since they started, the dough is made fresh the day before trade and transported to the market ready for production. You can watch the staff as they roll out, cut out and cook these sugary beauties! Definitely must try when you are here!
Remembering that we were going for a house visit later the evening, we dropped by the Deli Hall to pick up a couple of delectable tarts as house gift! They were not overly sweet and very yummy!
As we loitered around the peripherals of the market, my eye glanced upon another popular coffee place, Market Lane Coffee, a boutique coffee roastery and retailer, born and based in Melbourne, and with 5 branches now.
The place was really small and most people were just ordering takeaways (they had donuts from Shortstop!) but there were some who were just sitting on the benches along the window and watching the world goes by while sipping a hot latte…
Of course I tried a skinny Flat White (A$4.50) which was smooth and aromatic with just the right temperature. Another satisfying cup…