04 Oct2011

What must have been a very modest dockside warehouse space has been converted into a charming and extremely appealing public market space on Granville Island. We got to the market early, just as many vendors will finishing setting up for the day, and it was invigorating (at least for me, that LOVES markets of this sort) to experience it all… It isn’t a very big market, and clearly draws a lot of tourists rather than serious home cooks, but it had a nice mix of prepared food, specialty purveyors, butchers, fishmongers, charcuterie, bakers, etc. Very nice indeed.

Clever names like the “Stock Market” for a purveyor of stocks and soups, and “A la mode” for store for all sorts of savory and sweet pies brought a bit of whimsy, sophistication and interest to the market/bazaar/food hall experience.

We browsed the merchandise at Chilliwack honey which included a blackberry honey that was delicious and which I now regret not buying a couple of bottles of to stick in my luggage for the trip home. Honestly, I am not sure I could tell it from neighboring honeys if blindfolded, but it had a rich, floral and fruity note to it that I have not come across before. And I love blackberries, so the thought of blackberry honey was quite appealing.

Mrs. MM spotted these coconuts at a shocking $2.49 each (almost PHP110!) in the same manner that someone from the Pacific Northwest might express shock when seeing peaches for sale at a Manila market for say $2.49 each…

At this interesting stall of Asian ingredients, utensils and cook books…

…I was thrilled to find key limes, aka DAYAP! That means all you pinoys in Vancouver can easily make a stunning leche flan with dayap rind, or pastillas de leche with dayap rind, or even a dayap lime pie! And reasonably priced I might add… :)

I also took this photo of some tomatillos, for the half dozen readers or so who have asked me over the years what they looked like. I understand a suki farmer/grower of mine is trying to bring these to market and he is hoping recently planted seeds yield the fruit in the months ahead…

It was mushroom season in the Pacific Northwest, and these beautiful looking bright orangey lobster mushrooms…

…as well as stunning chanterelles were aplenty.

I thought vegetable stalls were surprisingly under represented, and I simply guessed this was a sign of the more touristy nature of the market. If there isn’t a large selection of veggies and local daily buyers (rather than gawkers and tourists like us), one might guess the market was perhaps more for “show” than a real honest-to-goodness daily source for produce by local residents. These asparagus were off season but still looked appealing.

Lettuce and other asian greens were stocked by some…

…along with staples like these fantastic looking carrots.

But the show stealer in the veggie department had to be the gorgeous heirloom tomatoes. Pricey but bursting with flavor and worth every penny they asked for them. Next up, the fruit and flower vendors that were the visual fireworks at this market…



  1. ying says:

    Nice photos MM! Its been 20 years since my last visit to Granville Island Market. Must go back and see it again soon.

    Oct 4, 2011 | 9:45 pm


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  3. whit says:

    Great post. Makes me want to go to Vancouver.
    Btw, MM, I sent you an email about a different topic.

    Oct 4, 2011 | 10:20 pm

  4. Natie says:

    That would be one of my stops if I were vacation too. I love markets! Even the damp and fly-ridden wet markets in my town back home.

    Oct 4, 2011 | 11:27 pm

  5. Mila says:

    I noticed that the mushrooms were on top of what could be a Filipino woven blanket, like something available in Zamboanga or Mindanao. Just curious if that was at the Asian products stall.

    Oct 5, 2011 | 12:51 am

  6. Meg says:

    Asparagus from San Joaquin Valley, California, I’m certain.

    Oct 5, 2011 | 3:20 am

  7. Stewart says:

    I worked part time at Granville Island Tea Co (across the hall from South Sea Trading). The hustle and bustle of the market, the colourful characters that came by made for a very interesting day. I’m glad you were able to visit it.

    One can easily spend quite a bit of money especially at Oyama Sausage Factory. In a few months, my favorite apple vendor will have stock of the local Ambrosia apple variety…YUM!


    Oct 5, 2011 | 5:19 am

  8. PITS, MANILA says:


    Oct 5, 2011 | 6:07 am

  9. cumin says:

    Very sharp eye, Mila. You’re right, the fabric looks like a Maranao weave.

    Markets like these make me wish I had access to a kitchen while traveling. Thanks, MM. (oh and tiny typo first paragraph)

    Oct 5, 2011 | 6:39 am

  10. Marketman says:

    Mila and cumin, they were actually textured recycled paper towels, over a pinkish waxed paper. I don’t think they were fabric but I can see where there is a similarity from the photos. Stewart, stay tuned for our choice of lunch “meat”… :) Meg, yes, asparagus probably imported…

    Oct 5, 2011 | 7:10 am

  11. joan says:

    Mila and Cumin were referring to the printed fabric under the bowl/basket of the mushrooms. It does look like it came from MIndanao.

    Oct 5, 2011 | 8:46 am

  12. leigh says:

    slightly off tangent question MM – when you take these pictures, do you have to ask permission from the stall owners or something like that? I confess that I went to an indoor market recently (in the UK) and I wanted to take so many pictures because I wanted to preserve the memory but felt diffident about taking pictures. I wasn’t sure whether the stall owners might think I was rude if I just snapped away especially when I wasn’t always buying :-)

    Oct 5, 2011 | 12:15 pm

  13. Marketman says:

    leigh, in public places, such as a public market, and particularly a top tourist destination, I just snap away unless a salesperson or owner specifically asks that I do NOT take photos. In private stores, I almost always ask now, having been told once or twice not to take photos (at Le Bon Marche in Paris, for example). In restaurants, I only take photos if I really want to remember or feature something, and if it doesn’t disturb other diners (in other words, no flash at all). However, should a restauranteur ask that I NOT take photos, I am likely to challenge them just for the principle of the thing… I am paying for my dish/meal so I have every right to record it on film. At our own restaurants, we absolutely welcome folks who wish to take photos, as they will likely be posted on facebook accounts, blog posts, etc., so it would actually help the business for the most part rather than hurt it. I would probably not return to a restaurant that asked me NOT to take a picture, no matter how good their food might be. I DO understand fashion and accessory stores insisting on no photos as one could easily use these to copy items in the store. Having said that, they shouldn’t fool themselves, as most serious counterfeiters will probably buy the real thing and take it apart to copy it well… At a Bottega Veneta store in HK once, without thinking, I took my camera out to take a photo of a small but very intriguing floral arrangement on a side table, clearly with no products or photos of any products within the frame, and a guard asked me to not take any photos. I stopped, fully understanding their possible concern. But I also walked out of the store without buying anything, turned off by the approach. Once I stepped out of the store, and was in the public hallway… LEGALLY I think I had every right to snap a photo of the same floral display that was just a few feet inside the clear glass window had I really wanted to, and wanted to make a point, or just to irritate the guard… I could also have very happily taken a photo of every single product in the window in great detail as well, as I have done so at any number of wonderful shops, like in these posts here, here and here. Those photos ended up in posts that were clicked on and viewed over 10,000 times each, a boon for the retailers, if only for name recall while I didn’t make a single centavo of off the photos (no advertising, placement fees, etc.). In fact, sometimes, featured high end retailers or restaurants even send thank you notes after they are featured on the blog. Oh, and I just found this in the archives, a post on Bottega Veneta in Venice, where the sales staff were completely fine with me snapping a few shots, and there we DID buy something. :)

    Oct 5, 2011 | 5:24 pm

  14. Marketman says:

    Mila and Cumin, oops, now I get it, thanks Joan… yes, it does look like woven fabric… but I don’t know if it is Filipino… and yes, this was at the Asian store…

    Oct 5, 2011 | 5:37 pm

  15. ami says:

    With the advent of phones with cameras I think it would be very hard for restaurants and retailers to control getting their goods or products pictured. Funny story about your HK experience wherein you just stepped out into the sidewalk to take a picture of the flower arrangements that you liked. Coincidentally, we were also in that Bottega Veneta flagship store in Venice a couple of years ago and we also had pictures of its interior and even pictures with the sales staff posing with us. But then again they might just have been cool with it because we also bought stuff there.

    Oct 6, 2011 | 8:43 am

  16. farida says:

    MM, I have not visited the market for 20 yrs or so because of the tight parking spaces, if they are available at all. I wonder if it is still the same. Would love to visit this place again. Love the pic of the heirloom tomatoes. Weren’t they beautiful, though?

    Oct 8, 2011 | 12:35 am

  17. fmed says:

    Most of the produce at Granville Island are imported these days. As MM insinuated, this market is mainly for tourists. Many of the old-time produce vendors left a long time ago now. There are true “farmers’ markets” that sell local produce that run a few times a week scattered throughout the city. I live close to the biggest one at Trout Lake in East Vancouver.

    We also have a plethora of ethnic groceries – mainly in East Vancouver and beyond that sell imported tropical produce at far cheaper prices that what South China Seas sells for. The area around Granville Island (False Creek) is populated by well-to-do condo-dwelling empty-nesters so it is easy to see why the prices there are high.

    All that said, Granville Island (despite my preamble) is a great food destination for tourists. What I usually recommend is to park across the water in Yaletown or at Science World and to take the little ferry boats across to the Island.

    Great to hear that you had a good time in Vancouver. It is a great city to and I feel very fortunate to live here.

    Oct 10, 2011 | 12:55 am


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