Saturday, April 06, 2013

A visit to a fresh farmers market in Porto: ‘Mercado do Bolhão’ (Bolhao Market)

I consider myself a market geek and I always make sure I visit a (farmers) market when I am travelling to a new place. Fortunately, the Bolhao Market in Porto is located parallel to Rua de Santa Catarina, the main shopping street of the city, so this means I could easily swing by to the fresh farmers market after shopping, cafe-ing and visiting some of the sights in the area. Happy!

Mercado do Bolhão

The noise, smell and the colourful sights of a market really attracts me, the energy invigorates me. Because it gives me a glimpse into the country’s food and culture, as well as the local people’s lives—female fishmongers swapping gossips and men of age hawking garlic whilst cajoling the older women shoppers who seem to be regulars and are enjoying the attention. It is a lovely scene to watch!

The Bolhao Market is housed in an old 19th century building in the city centre, however not in its greatest state to date. It radiates a ramshackle and perilous mood, yet enticing. As I walk along the corridors of this rundown building, I felt like I was travelling back in time. That’s about how I would call and describe this odd yet lovely place—timeworn and interestingly unattractive yet highly appealing to the senses.

Now, if you look past her physical appearance, you would see the charm behind a place such as this.

Another thing I noticed is that most of the vendors here are female, and are well over in their twilight years. There were a few male vendors present though selling produce and meat, but they were clearly outnumbered by their dame counterparts.

Oh men, where art thou???

Fish is a staple food in Portugal, and salt is of course used to preserve. The most popular type of preserved fish in Portugal is the cod fish, bacalhau as it is called locally.

And there is more to than fish in this market of course... but before that, here is a souvenir picture of moi taken at the second floor of the Bolhao Market:

Lots of produce of the season... fruits, vegetables and more.

The meat section they call it here--Salsicharia.

There are eating facilities here as well!

Beautiful colourful buildings just outside the market:

Tip: Come in the morning to see and experience more market activity.

Travel Period: March 2013
Destination: Porto (Grande Porto), Portugal

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