Varvakeios market

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The covered central food market in the big building that takes up a whole block and houses the butchers and fishmongers and even small café between its stalls, for the people who work there and the shoppers. Opposite are the grocers with their vegetables and on the side streets are the spice shops, the cheese and cured meat vendors and whatever else you can imagine. Among them Chinese, Egyptian, Lebanese micro shops, street-food, antique shops, shops for daily fresh eggs and for kitchen utensils.

This area is on the border of Omonoia square area and Psirri. It’s spine is Athinas street where Athenians come to buy fish, meat and vegetables from the Varvakeios market alongside with a million other things a household needs. Hammers, wine, plates and pots, baking trays and cupcake molds, spices, plastic tablecloths, door mats and fertilizer for your roses and your geraniums. Literally the commercial heart of the whole city, or even better the stomach as a friend said, you’ll see all kinds of people from business men in their suits, grabbing something to eat to old people looking for fresh sardines of the day. Gypsies and fortune tellers to Russian ladies selling amber and handmade laces. Muscled boys running around like crazy carrying boxes with all kinds of merchandise, to street gamblers and Greek women selling super fresh wild bitter greens. You now have an idea that coming here is like traveling back in time to a crowded oriental bazaar.

Here, you, tourists and travelers are not going to buy fresh stingray fillets or beer tongue byt you will find first quality spice, honey, pistachios from Aigina island, some say the best in the world and herbs. Try a souvlaki with the locals, bargain for a vintage ashtray at the corner shop with the antiques and get lost in the narrow streets around Sofokleous street with the Arabs, for falafels, dried chillies and the best curry powder ever or Evripidou street for spices and it’s tacky homewear heaven.

Credits. The Athens Food Guide by Ahenian Flaneur Chef Vassilis Kalidis, Patakis, 2018

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