A Foodie Feast for the Eyes – Adelaide Central Market

Olives, dips, bread, cured meats, flowers, fruit, vegetables, coffee, tea, chocolates, pastries, sandwiches, pies, quiches, crepes.

After two laps of ogling, planning, pondering and snapping the produce on display at Adelaide Central Market, we still don’t know where to start. Another two laps prove similarly unenlightening.

As we flounder, all around us competent types are striding and deciding and ordering and eating – men in suits, mums with strollers, an older man with a bushy grey moustache and a thick German accent.

Long thin paper-wrapped parcels are tucked under besuited arms, as lawyerly conversations flow unchecked – adjournments, clients, weekend golf. Rough-looking round-bellied unionists hand out helium-filled balloons and brochures explaining the upcoming May Day public holiday.

The crowd is that multi-cultural mix I love so much. An African woman pushing a pram. An older Asian couple arm-in-arm, comparing prices.  I hear European accents mixed in with the Aussie drawl. I hear a splash of Italian as we pass a coffee shop.

It’s one of the last days of the Easter school holidays and kids are everywhere. Drinking hot chocolate in the fancy cafes, looking longingly at cake displays, trailing grumpily after produce-laden parents.

But the people are a mere diversion. First and foremost is the food. Adelaide Central Market is foodie-central.

Adelaide, once known as the city of churches, is regarded by the rest of Australia as slightly snobbish. Many Adeladians, including former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer who followed his father into parliament, speak with plummy almost-English accents.

The nose-in-the-air-ness may be the result of the region being founded by free settlers rather than convicts. The superiority is out and proud at Adelaide Central Market, where everything is fresh and enticing, ethnic and unusual and above all uber-gourmet.

But the refinement is tempered with Australian humour and country town friendliness. This is still Australia, where the butt-burning qualities of chili-laced salami are celebrated with the graphic name of “ring stinger” and kangaroo, buffalo and emus are marinated.

Words cannot completely capture the experience. Here is my pictorial ode to Adelaide Central Market, in all its Adeladian pricelessly posh glory.

Beetroot in a wine barrel

Maggie Beer

The Smelly Cheese Shop

Spice Road To Ethiopia

Reuben Solomon Singapore Laksa Paste

Smoked Crocodile Fillets

Emu Burger

Crocodile Burger

Cleopatra's Champagne

Adelaide Central Market
45 Gouger Street, Adelaide, South Australia
Ph: +61-8-8231 5115
(Check website for opening hours. Market tours are also available.)

9 years ago

By: Barbara

A career girl who dropped out, traveled, found love, and never got around to going home again. Now wrangling a cross-cultural relationship and two third culture kids.


  1. inka says:

    The smelly cheese. Glorious. You are right, in this case a picture really says more than 1000 words.
    inka recently posted..My favorite B&B in London

    • The Dropout says:

      Actually, Inka, the Smelly Cheese Shop didn’t smell at all. I spent quite a bit of time there looking and poking and taking photos. If we hadn’t cheesed ourselves out the night before the holiday budget would have been in a LOT of trouble.

  2. Nice, I love markets and always love to see what kind of oddities they sell there. Judging from your experience here, it looks like my kind of place to spend at least half a day exploring. But one thing – I’ll never eat kangaroo or emu meat….
    David @ MalaysiaAsia recently posted..Langkawi Duty Free Shopping

    • The Dropout says:

      It’s a great place to explore, David. There’s so many amazing choices that there’s no need to try kangaroo or emu. I tried them both years and years ago and didn’t like the taste.

  3. Aledys Ver says:

    Wow – what a display! I’d love to stroll up and down this market and I love the multi-cultural air that you describe – posh or not posh!
    The “Smelly Cheese” shop – a winner!! 😀
    Aledys Ver recently posted..Spotted in The Netherlands- tulip fields on the Northeast Polder

  4. Local markets are fantastic! Smelly Cheese is a great name for a cheese shop. This market had quite a selection you don’t normally see around the US.
    Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista recently posted..Europe’s River – The Danube

  5. All the photos of cheese look sooo good! What are Yabbies? It looks like shrimp of some sort?
    Christy @ Ordinary Traveler recently posted..I See the Light in You 4

    • The Dropout says:

      Yabbies! (I was hoping someone would take the bait – pun intended).
      The type in the pic are a kind of freshwater crayfish, kind of like a poor man’s lobster. Especially if that poor man doesn’t live near the ocean.
      There’s another creature that’s also called a yabby. It’s a species of shrimp that lives in goopy muddy sand near the sea. This second type is usually used for bait. Australian kids are often sent yabbying the day before their dad goes fishing. Yabby pumps are used to suck up the mud, and hopefully some yabbies. I went yabbying once as a kid and I just loved it.

  6. Adam says:

    You had me at the “Smelly Cheese Shop.” Awesome picture post as markets are one of my absolute favorite parts of travel. Throw a cheese shop in there, too, and I’m in Heaven. Looks glorious!
    Adam recently posted..Picture of the Week – Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand

  7. Yum, look at all that delicious food! Call me crazy, but food tastes so much better when it comes from fun places like this. 😉
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Saying Farewell to Mayhem

    • The Dropout says:

      We had some sandwiches from a part of the market I dubbed Sandwich Alley. They were amazingly good. Yet they were just sandwiches. So I think you’re on to something Christy.

  8. OMG, this place would overwhelm me to no end! I’d have to be sure to take someone who could just decide for me and feed me- LOL. Looks absolutely amazing! And smelly cheese is the best cheese. 🙂
    Lorna – the roamantics recently posted..Life and Travel Lessons from Mom

  9. ayngelina says:

    I really like buffalo, both the cheese and the meat. Would love to visit this place.
    ayngelina recently posted..The Boca Experience

  10. My parents absolutely love Adelaide. They call it the old Australia. My dad goes every year for the test cricket, sometimes Mum tags along so she can wander the streets of Adelaide and sit in the cafes to watch the world go by. I am hoping to get there soon
    Caz Makepeace recently posted..“Pacific Place Apartments” Bilinga Beach Gold Coast Queensland

  11. You had me at “foodie feast.” I like the appropriately named Smelly Cheese Shop. You know exactly what you’re getting.
    The Travel Chica recently posted..Discovering Kentucky in Buenos Aires

  12. robin says:

    I can relate to the floundering – sometimes these places are over-stimulating.

    Buying some olives is usually a good bet to get sorted, but then you have to choose which ones…
    robin recently posted..Flamenco

  13. oh!! i don’t know which i like more, the stinky cheese shop or the cleopatra’s champagne tea? YUM!! you made me hungry – and ready to go visit this market. thanks!!
    wandering educators recently posted..Florida Culture for the First Week of June 2011 by Josh Garrick

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