17 Jun2008


While the meat and seafood sections of the Athens Central Market were spectacular, I was a bit mystified as to why I couldn’t find the produce section as easily. It was definitely not the main feature of this market, and that is a bit unusual when compared to other large city markets. I later learned that there are other produce markets and many of them sprout in particular neighborhoods on particular days, so it wasn’t such a big deal at the Central market. After searching for fruits and veggies and not finding it, I actually stopped two Filipinas that were obviously doing their marketing and asked them for directions… they pointed to an area OUTSIDE the covered markets near a parking lot and there were some 20-30 stalls selling fruit, vegetables and other market goodies. The volume of goods may have been relatively small, but the quality and prices were stunningly impressive! Up top, a selection of yellow and green zucchini/squash, large long eggplants and the most incredible ripe tomatoes I have seen since we were last in Italy… At 49 cents per kilo for the tomatoes (roughly PHP30 kilo), I was truly amazed. Superb quality, at some 1/3rd the price in Manila!


The fruit section had stunning peaches, apricots, green gage plums, luscious strawberries and both red and golden cherries… At prices ranging from 1 to 2 dollars per kilo, we went a little gaga, if you know what I mean. Mrs. MM and The Kid bough a KILO of strawberries for PHP70 and then later got some greek yogurt so we could have merienda at the hotel. For the three of us, we spent about PHP50 each and had more than enough berries and yoghurt!


Besides the berries and stone fruit, there was a pretty good selection of oranges, which I think were a little out of season, but tasted great nevertheless.


Vendors used metal scoops to get berries, apricots and cherries and dump them into paper bags for weighing. No handling with kid gloves, this type of selling went through serious amounts of fruit, with cases being opened up every few minutes. If I could have brought home an unlimited amount of fruit, I would have had crates of everything packed up and loaded onto the plane!


The number of vegetable vendors was surprisingly slim, but the produce was beautiful and incredibly fresh. Bunches of dill for tatziki, romaine for salads, cucumbers, parsley, celery and other bunches of herbs and greens made me wish we had access to a kitchen.




The selection of olives was unbelievable! I don’t think I have even tried 1/10th of all the types of olives on offer! And the prices? Cheap as ever for such wonderful quality.


Dried fruits and nuts? Ayayay… FANTASTIC!


Such intense flavor, plump freshly dried fruit, nuts still in their shells and already shelled…


Huge tins of sardines in salt.


Enough spices to bury a human in…


And cheesemongers with everything from drier and sharper sheep’s milk cheeses to the most silky yoghurt… This is a market you should not miss!



  1. linda says:

    A definite foodie’s paradise! Those eggplants in your first photo are unusual,I’ve only ever seen stripey oblong ones here. Thanks for sharing!

    Jun 17, 2008 | 2:47 pm


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  3. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    How I wish we had even 1/10th of that kind of produce here in Cebu!!!

    Jun 17, 2008 | 2:56 pm

  4. Fabian says:

    dried fruits, vegetables, nuts and cheese!


    Jun 17, 2008 | 3:20 pm

  5. GayeN says:

    i love this post!!! i wished we have access to such wonderful produce here in manila.

    Jun 17, 2008 | 3:34 pm

  6. joey says:

    Love the olive sellers at the markets — the most spectacular olives ever! And always a free taste :)

    Jun 17, 2008 | 4:46 pm

  7. AleXena says:

    Thank you thank you MarketMan! You made my day.=)

    I am always amazed by the spice sections of markets from that part of the world. It is so colorful and probably the aroma’s great too (I love spices). Three things I like about this picture is the fresh olives, dried fruits and the cheese.=)

    I just adore the color scheme!=)

    Jun 17, 2008 | 5:03 pm

  8. The Artist Chef says:

    One thing for sure…market abroad is neat and nice.

    I love going to the market, and thank God the market man’s blog is here to share how the market in the world looks like :-)

    Jun 17, 2008 | 5:10 pm

  9. quiapo says:

    Yes we need to enjoy markets while we can. With the growth of large scale food production, there may no longer be a role for markets, as we know them. A market economy requires small producers and small traders. Here in New South Wales, there is now only a large fish market, centralized in Sydney, and wet markets in the European and Asian tradition do not exist.
    There has been a revival of vegetable and fruit markets, in the periodic “Farmer’s markets” that occur on a fortnightly basis, where individual farmers bring their produce to the city, as well as artisan makers of crafted food products such as cheese and preserves. Needless to say,since there is no middleman, the prices are attractive, and the quality (and freshness) is terrific.

    Jun 17, 2008 | 6:23 pm

  10. elaine says:

    I would definitely enjoy the dried nut/fruit and cheese sections..I’m enjoying this post! Thanks Marketman!

    Jun 17, 2008 | 6:33 pm

  11. Avic says:

    Ohmygosh! I want to go to Greece now more than ever, MM! Thanks for this post! I truly enjoyed it.

    Jun 17, 2008 | 6:33 pm

  12. t2marc says:

    i love this post MM! i really enjoy browsing this article . . how i wish our market would a little bit similar to this one

    Jun 17, 2008 | 7:10 pm

  13. Apicio says:

    Little wonder the Greeks found their own way with vegetables that’s so apt for the sunny days of summer, dill-icious celery and mushrooms à la grec. Actually any fresh vegie do well with this cold treatment but my fave is broad green beans and lima.

    Jun 17, 2008 | 7:21 pm

  14. Denise says:

    WOW…I like this post very much :D

    sort of like a preview of what I might see… hopefully next year!

    Jun 17, 2008 | 7:21 pm

  15. corrine says:

    I enjoyed Farmers’ Market in San Francisco but this one in your post seems to be really, really nice! Wish upon a star…

    Jun 17, 2008 | 9:05 pm

  16. britelite says:

    I think I better save up for my Greece/Turkey holiday!

    Jun 17, 2008 | 9:18 pm

  17. sister says:

    Definitely have to put Athens on the travel agenda soon. Prices at Union Square have gotten ridiculously astronomical. Last Saturday I paid $4.50 a lb. for tomatoes, $16. a lb. for baby arugula, $4.50 a dozen for jumbo eggs, $4.50 a lb. for organic chicken and horrors, $8. a quart for strawberries. Clams were $5.50 per dozen, cod $15. a lb, sea scallops $14. a lb. and so on.
    My market basket has doubled in price in the last 12 months.

    Jun 17, 2008 | 9:25 pm

  18. shalimar says:

    i dont buy my fruits and veg here but at my area during farmers market….but every now and then I stop here when at the fish market….

    ah MM am transported back home for these post….

    Jun 17, 2008 | 9:50 pm

  19. MrsKookie says:

    This is one reason why I’d like to go to Athens. The market and the yogurt ;)

    Jun 17, 2008 | 10:27 pm

  20. leticia says:

    here in milan, the prices are sky rocketing!
    tomatoes, the ordinary plums, will cost you at least 2euros per kilo,the san marzano and daterinis at least 5euros.also the cuore di boa, those that are best for salad. but for me san marzano is the best.the best quality cherries here,the biological, cost 9euros,the duroni 6euros and the ordinary ones from 2 to 3euros. but if you are patient enough to go to mercatos you can buy them a little cheaper but usually the vendors are dishonest, they would mix some spoilt ones, to your disgust when you reach home. so i prefer going to supermarkets where you can handpick your fruits and vegetables.

    everyone here in italy is complaining of cara vita!

    Jun 18, 2008 | 12:12 am

  21. Glecy says:

    Thanks for the post. I am looking forward to my trip to Athens

    Jun 18, 2008 | 4:46 am

  22. dhayL says:

    I can definitely spend one whole day browsing each and every item on sale in this market! I won’t get tired going here every morning!

    Jun 18, 2008 | 5:01 am

  23. natie says:

    lovely,lovely—no food crisis in athens, it seems…once again, beautiful photos,MM!

    Jun 18, 2008 | 7:12 am

  24. zena says:

    Wonderful pictures! It’s making me green with envy and salivating at the same time. I am gaga over fruits and cheese in European markets. When will that ever happen in Manila?

    Jun 18, 2008 | 8:10 am

  25. kasseopeia says:

    MM, I made the mistake of reading your blog before I had my morning coffee… Now I’m having illusions of taking 2 weeks off work and flying to Athens. The produce is spectacular! Berries and yoghurt! MMmmmmmm…

    Jun 18, 2008 | 8:16 am

  26. chunky says:

    it must feel like a kid going in a candy store… wow, what a selection of dried fruits and nuts- to make granola topped with yoghurt.am definitely saving up to go to greece! thanks for the heads up mm!

    Jun 18, 2008 | 8:59 am

  27. AleXena says:

    It is only now that I got to take a closer look at the tomatoes and the herbs. The tomatoes are evn cheaper than what we have here (set aside the travel expenses going there hehehe:P). And I am sure those tomatoes will make a mean marinara sauce or tomatoe soup.

    I have a question for anyone who can offer me an enligthenment: is dill the main herb used in Greek cooking?

    Thanks in advance to anyone=) The taste of dill was new to me when i tried Greek food before.

    Jun 18, 2008 | 9:42 am

  28. Marketman says:

    AleXena, oregano is prevalent, dill, and other herbs too…

    Jun 18, 2008 | 9:54 am

  29. Fran Magbual says:

    It looks like the way to visit Athens is to rent an apartment with a kitchen so you could actually take advantage of the wonderful food available.

    Jun 18, 2008 | 2:10 pm

  30. mcdl says:

    MM, this is like a dream… I love the freshness of it all! The best market I’ve gone to so far has been in Paris, but the prices were horribly steep. Haaaaay, I wish we had as good a selection here of produce and spices! So hard to find… and so mahal pa.

    Jun 18, 2008 | 2:50 pm

  31. eej says:

    A variety of quality organic produce sourced from local farmers are readily available at the Ferry Building Farmers market in San Francisco. You’ll be amazed at the selection of specialty meat, produce, bakery and great restaurants.

    Definitely a foodie haven!

    Jun 18, 2008 | 3:10 pm

  32. Marketman says:

    eej, YES, I have that market on my list of must visits, but I haven’t been to San Francisco in so long… I also want to go to the Vancouver markets as well. mcdl, I know what you mean, but some of our city and provincial markets are stunning in their own ways too. Fran, yes, a kitchen would have been nice… but then I would have to wash the dishes in addition to cooking! :( When we visited Barcelona, we had a kitchen and saved a lot of money, but didn’t eat as many local dishes as we should have…

    Jun 18, 2008 | 3:39 pm

  33. dhanggit says:

    45 cents per kilo of tomatoes!!! i never really realized how cheaper our neighboring mediterrenean cities compared here in France :-(

    Jun 18, 2008 | 7:24 pm

  34. teth says:

    wow! great!

    Jun 20, 2008 | 2:49 pm

  35. Blaise says:

    There are other reasons to go to Greece besides seeing the Acropolis, and it’s their market… sigh, sigh, sigh =)

    Jun 20, 2008 | 7:03 pm

  36. millet says:


    Jun 22, 2008 | 2:20 pm


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