World's Best Food Markets
Andrew Zimmern names his favorite food markets around the world: “Through all of my travels, I’ve found that there’s no better way to feel the pulse of a city or to understand the local culture than to visit a market. I can learn more about a people and their way of life here than I can in the local museum, that’s for sure. Locavore bazaars—where merchant’s hawk the region’s specialties, artisans sell their wares and residents shop for dinner—offer the most authentic and honest experience.”—Andrew Zimmern
Nestled high in the Andes between two dormant volcanoes in the Valle del Amanecer, Otavalo has been at the crossroads of a trade route since pre-Incan times. Today, it is likely the most famous textile market in the country. This means you may fight hoards of tourists seeking out world-renowned tapestries and crafts, but if you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll find a colorful town rich with history and great culinary traditions. Wake up at sunrise on a Saturday morning and head to Plaza de Ponchos, home to a true farmers’ market, where animals of all kinds are sold and traded by a huge network of farms, slaughterhouses and wholesalers. And before you go into souvenir coma, find one of the many cooks serving motes, hefty bowls of steamed corn kernels topped with roast pork, crispy pork skin and a fresh-tasting tomato-onion-cilantro salsa.