Saturday, 7 July 2007

A Visit to the Kitchener Market

This week, we got up and headed off to the Kitchener Market for our Saturday morning outing and food-stocking-up adventure. It's housed in a modern building that for the most part works fairly well, although it has a few odd quirks to it. There is a large square outside the front, which always seems a bit underpopulated. There's a radio station on one side of it and they always seem to be blasting out bad music, so we scurry in as quick as we can.

The front square. Hmm, I see they have a Wednesday market in the summer as well.

One of the nice things about the Kitchener Market is that it is in an area with a lot of other interesting shops and restaurants. Try the Pho Dau Bo for Vietnamese soups and noodles, or go for a banh mi or two from the Givral Deli upstairs. At $2 for each banh mi (or Vietnamese-style submarine sandwich) they are a real deal and delicious. Yes, I know, you can get them even cheaper in Toronto. We're not in Toronto. There are also several bakeries, a Vietnamese grocery store, a German deli, an Indian bulk store, and the Korean Barbeque Restaurant (yum) all in the same block.

There are also a number of little restaurant booths right inside the market, although I find them a bit pricey. However, the food has been good whenever I have tried one and there is quite a selection.

We stopped and chatted for a bit with this lady from Shepherd's Watch Dairy Sheep Farm, and ate some samples of the cheese made with sheeps' milk from their own farm only, without the use of pesticides or hormones. They had the usual feta, as well as blue cheese, camembert and a firm cheese with a bit of a bite. They also have meat, sheepskins, yarn and textiles. It's your one-stop sheep product shopping. You can contact them through Foodlink.

Inside, the upper level has the food court, and a few full-time vendors. But most of the action is downstairs in the main hall. Here is a cobbled-together overview of the shopping madness. Click the picture for a larger view.

As soon as we get downstairs we usually head out the side door to a covered outside area, which is where almost all the fruits and veggies are during the summer. The first stand on the right as soon as we get out is a favourite stop. They have home-made preserves as well as a large selection of high quality locally grown produce at very reasonable prices. We got some fabulous cherries from them this trip, but we timed it perfectly - this is a one-shot deal; they don't have a lot and they harvest them all at once.

An overview of the "outside" vegetable market. Once things really get swinging, the market spills out into the street beyond as well.

Inside, there is a large selection of bakeries and butchers, along with flower merchants, honey sellers, etc, and this stand from Round Plains Plantation. Yes, if you go to the Kitchener Market you can get several varieties of sweet potatoes pretty much all year round, as well as sweet potato based baked goods.

One of the honey sellers.

Kitchener's Germanic heritage means that there are still a lot of independant butchers producing high quality meats. Here is a typical sampling - sausages, cold cuts, bacon and a local specialty, smoked pork chops. Pork is king, but there's also lots of beef and poultry. I've even seen rabbit.

The only ones that compete with the butchers in terms of volume are the bakeries. This one has particularly elegant offerings, although there is also a large assortment of more prosaic breads and cakes, and several of them offer excellent poppyseed strudel, which is a personal favourite.

The high barn-like ceiling is adorned with multi-lingual welcome banners, reflecting the increasing diversity of the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Too funny: my husband (who is from Kitchener) used to go to Pho Dau Bo for lunch when he worked at a local tech support call center at around the time you made this post (2006-2007). Just amusing to see this specific name in posts!