Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
November 9, 2002
Sandwiched between restored 1830s sandstone warehouses and elegant parklands fronting the Derwent River, this historic precinct offers everything from farm-fresh produce to tarot readings and raspberry chilli beer in a celebration of art and culture that has everyone talking – and returning for more.
It’s 7:30am and we meander through a maze of stalls to our breakfast destination at the Retro Café on Salamanca Place. The cacophony of market day already dominates the street. Lyn and Matt had arrived and we organised to meet them for French Toast, spicy scrambled eggs and a morning of market madness.
The Retro occupies front row centre and the scene unfolds as our protein and caffeine fix kicks in. Directly outside a spruiker offers new season apples for A$1 a kilogram. Next to him a flower stall is ablaze with colour and on the other side a large, bald man sells delicately turned figures crafted from aromatic sassafras and huon pine.
Two things become apparent as we explore almost 400 stalls. Firstly, there’s very little trash amongst many treasures and, secondly, the prices are good – unusual for such a popular market. The reason for this becomes clear as we listen to the conversations around us and Brian, who sells antique telephones, puts it into perspective.
"Sure, there’s plenty of tourists, but half the people here are locals," he points out.
"You’re lucky today, it’s fine and warm, but it’s a long winter here – too cold for the tourists. We have to appeal to the locals first, they are our staple trade. You need quality and a good price to do that. The rest follows."
Brian’s right, basic economics I guess. And Salamanca is a better market experience because of it. Well, that’s until you taste raspberry chilli beer. After leaving Brian I’m captivated by an energetic, bearded man doing a roaring trade from a large ice bucket.
"Come on son, get into this. Cures everything and turns you into a sexual tyrant! Like having a circus in your mouth! Brewed fresh here in the Huon Valley."
"I’m game," I say. "Give me a try."
Let me tell you, raspberry and chilli are mutually exclusive, especially when brewed to form a beverage. Tasmanian Fine Ice Cream has a nearby stall (by design I’m sure) and a Macadamia and Cointreau cone restores the equilibrium. I find Karen exploring the fresh produce offered by the local Hmong community. These Laoation migrants elevate fruit and vegetable displays to an art form – the colour, symmetry and smells tempting a steady stream of buyers.
"Incredible market," she says. "I want to buy everything!"
"Come on, I’ll buy you morning tea. Let’s find Lyn and Matt."
"Look! Raspberry chilli beer!"
"Trust me," I say. "That’s one circus you don’t want in your mouth."
From journal Australia's Great Southern Island (A Capital Idea)
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
June 2, 2002
We went for breakfast and for bargains. Breakfast options were scrambled eggs and orange juice at a bistro, Asian food at our well-loved Vietnamese restaurant, warm coffee and croissants at one of the stalls, hot baked potatoes with delicious fillings, or a range of tempting delights gathered from individual stall holders.
We strolled up and down Salamanca Place listing to the buskers – singing the blues, stroking a harp, tapping the bongos or strumming a folk tune. We stopped at stalls meeting friendly people who grow or make what they sell. there were some fine local crafts – hand-worked glass, innovative designs in Tasmanian timbers, stylish clothing, bold ceramics. There were antiques, collectibles, books, curios and trash. There were certainly some bargains but some treasures looked somewhat tatty. We picked up a couple of timber pieces, some aroma oil, and a scarf.
Salamanca Place is a delightful setting. The market is set between graceful plane trees and the mellow facades of historic warehouses. The stalls are colourful and the people even more so. We planned to picnic at lunchtime so were delighted to find the Asian fresh food market with its crisp organic vegetables and fresh fruit. We bought a lettuce, tomatoes, Chinese vegetables and a selection of fruit for a few dollars.
The market is on the fringe of the central city area. Shops here are open all day Saturday so you can continue your shopping spree in Elizabeth Mall. Alternatively, climb Kelly’s Steps to reach the Georgian cottages and the village atmosphere of Battery Point.
From journal Great Stuff in Hobart
June 1, 2002
From journal Australia's forgotten state
February 2, 2002
From journal Australia's Southern City