It’s easy to take things for granted when they are just around the corner. Every once in a while you’ll get a wakeup call saying “this place is something..why don’t you come here more often??”
The recent top 10 list from National Geographic Traveler, the top 10 food markets around the world, is a great example. The Mercado Central, the fish market and collection of eateries and restaurants housed in an impressive iron building from the late 1800’s in Santiago Centro, was named the N° 5 top market in the world according to the magazine.
Here’s what they had to say:
“Under a wrought-iron, art nouveau canopy dating from 1872, this animated fish market groans with an extraordinary shoal of sea creatures, from barnacles to giant squid, many unlabeled, untranslatable, or unknown outside Chile. Marvel at the fishmongers’ speed and skill. If the thought of identifying and preparing the fish is too much, onsite restaurants offer local dishes like paila marina (Chilean bouillabaisse).
Planning: The market is two blocks north of Santo Domingo church. Beware scalpers and slippery surfaces.”
Indeed the Mercado Central is a great place to fetch seafood. You can buy fish at half the cost of most supermarkets. The fish mongers will weigh it whole and then slice and dice, clean as requested. Good for when you need a good 2 or 3 Kilos of fresh fish. Best to go Wednesday to Saturday, and early, to get the fresh catch.
In my mind, Mercado Central might have more impressive architecture, but the real treat for a food lover is across the river in La Vega Central, where there is more variety and happenings then one knows what to do with.
But in any case, a visit to the albeit touristy Mercado Central is a must see when coming to Santiago, and is one of the stops on our “Go to Market” tour.
See the full list here.
Photo: Erin Jelm
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