Best food markets in Durban
I was at a lunch recently and when a new Durbanite asked which was the best food market in the city, there was no collective answer.
Between calling out names of markets that are now closed and those we haven’t yet been to and those too far from the city, I would not be mistaken if I say we might have a market crisis in our hands.
I remember just six years ago when we were all excited about The Morning Trade opening on 8 Morrison. “The re-birth of Durban inner-city culture”, we said about the Rivertown Precinct. Finally our answer to Cape Town’s Old Biscuit Mill and Joburg’s Maboneng, we had hoped it would mean more people coming into the CBD and spending more time. But it was not to be.
And yet we do still have a market scene in Durban. It may not be as booming as Cape Town’s and Joburg’s, but the markets we have give us the market feeling we crave. Here’s my list of the must-visit markets that specialise in food.
EARLY MORNING MARKET
Market St, Greyville, Durban
Daily from 7am to 3pm.
You can’t talk about markets in Durban without starting at the beginning. The early morning market is a favourite for many who want the best fresh produce in the city and are not afraid of braving the inner city and Warwick Junction precinct.
When you get past how the market doesn’t have Instagram aesthetic appeal, you will find some of the freshest fruit, vegetables and flowers in the city.
Best for bulk buying, especially when you are starting a new diet or have a special ceremony, you can easily get your fruits and veggies at a bargain compared to other markets. And if you want to exercise your bargaining skills, this is where to try them out.
THE MORNING TRADE
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22 Sutton Crescent, Windermere, Durban
Sundays from 8am to 4.30pm.
The Morning Trade made market culture a reality in Durban. When it was at 8 Morrison, I used to go every Sunday. It was the one place where you could get a variety of food from cakes and fresh veggies to flowers, cheeses and freshly squeezed juice. It then moved to Station Drive in 2017, before it shut down in 2018. But the news of its return in 2019 made all of us excited again, especially since it moved to Windermere, which is easier to navigate. It’s still the best place to get everything, from artisanal goods, pastries and food, fresh juices, fruit, vegetables and great coffee.
SHONGWENI FARMERS’ MARKET
457 Mr551 Rd, Shongweni Resource Reserve, Shongweni, 3650
Saturdays from 6.30am to 12.30pm.
If you get there after 9am, well, you won’t find any of the best things any longer. The market is unapologetically all about food.
A favourite of many, few actually mind trekking to Shongweni for the market. For the best bread, dairy and meat, to craft gin cocktails, cakes and pies, the market prioritises all things artisanal and organic. I also love that it’s a market where the whole family, including canine members, can come and have a good time, gorging themselves on great food. So if you don’t mind waking up early and the drive up the N3 on a Saturday, then this is the market for you.