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2 June 2017 / leggypeggy

Riga’s market one of the best

Riga Market, pre-made meals

Pre-made meals and convenience food

Many of you love food as much as I do, and I’ve just noticed that I haven’t been very good about showing you the many markets we’ve visited on our travels.

In September 2015, I tempted you with two locations—the huge market in Barcelona, Spain, as well as the more intimate market in St Tropez in the south of France.

Both were fantastic, although much different in scale, and then we went to the Riga Central Market in Latvia. I’m still reeling from the sheer size of the market itself and the colossal array of products on offer.

Seriously, they’re selling foods of all kinds, including some I don’t recognise, as well as alcohol, shoes, clothes, pet products, kitchenware, garden seeds, music, toys and more.

But let me start with how and when we happened to go.

Long before travelling to the Baltic States, Poor John and I had read about the market’s fame—it’s a UNESCO heritage site along with Old Riga—so we were keen to see it.

Soon after we arrived in Riga, we asked the people at hotel reception about visiting the market. It was mid-afternoon and they said, No, no, it’s too late in the day. The stallholders will have gone home. Go tomorrow between 8 and 9am.

So we held off and I took some of that waiting time to find out even more about the market itself.

Plans for the market began in 1922. It was to replace the crowded and extremely unsanitary Daugavmala Market that had operated on the banks of the Daugava River for about 300 years.

The new market opened in 1930—it took almost seven years to build. I found it fascinating that the main structures are five pavilions constructed by reusing old German Zeppelin hangars.

Riga market, made of hangars

Riga Market

So with all this information (and more), we set out (on foot) the next morning about 8:15. We didn’t really appreciate the size until we approached. The market has more than 300 trade stalls, and covers 72,300 square metres or more than 7 hectares (or 778,000 square feet or almost 18 acres).

The first building we entered was devoted to seafood. Other buildings seemed to have core products for sale. There were even stalls set up outside, especially for produce. We wondered if rents were cheaper there?

I could have spent days in this market. In fact, if I lived anywhere near Riga, I would be shopping here everyday, maybe twice a day. I so desperately wanted to buy something I could cook, but that’s not easy when you are staying in hotels.

So here are plenty of pics for you to enjoy. I’ve put captions on most, may have missed a few. Sorry if I did.

By the way, I’ve read that it’s possible to organise a tour of the markets, but I think most people can follow their instinct or their nose or their appetite. 🙂

P.S. Many of you know I have a cooking blog. So far on this trip, I’ve bought cookbooks from Finland, Latvia and Lithuania (still looking for one from Estonia). I’ll be cooking from these when I get home but, in the meantime, check out a bread recipe I made from Alaska. It’s appropriate because it’s been darn cold here for 20 out of 21 days

Riga market, outdoor stall

Outdoor stall

58 Comments

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  1. magarisa / Jun 2 2017 7:29 am

    So much variety and colour!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brian Lageose / Jun 2 2017 7:47 am

    I’m going to guess that I wouldn’t even make it out of the seafood building before I ran out of money… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lynz Real Cooking / Jun 2 2017 7:48 am

    Wow looks amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Forestwoodfolkart / Jun 2 2017 8:02 am

    My mouth is watering, Peggy! I can’t wait to hear of the Baltic dishes from the recipe books. I also think the Zeppelin hangers remind me of Helsinki’s central train station. It might have been an inspiration to the architect, perhaps?

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 2 2017 2:52 pm

      It might have been an inspiration, but I think it was more an idea to use a resource that was otherwise being wasted.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. gerard oosterman / Jun 2 2017 8:34 am

    Basic Baltic and much of it sold per weight and not pre-packed in plastic. I feel already a lot healthier just looking at all those pictures of the stall tables groaning with all that produce.
    Did you and Poor John eat any herrings while there?

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 2 2017 2:53 pm

      Herrings you ask? We’ve been living on herrings. I think we’ve had them for every breakfast. I had two this morning. I plan on having more tomorrow. 🙂

      Like

  6. beetleypete / Jun 2 2017 9:05 am

    That’s a great market, Peggy. I also thought the one in Barcelona was good, but this one looks even bigger.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 2 2017 2:58 pm

      This one is huge. It took more than an hour just to walk through, but I could spend a whole day there.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. spearfruit / Jun 2 2017 9:06 am

    I like the design of the Riga Market, those hangers remind of the ones here on MacDill Air Force Base. I would be spending all day there. Thanks Peggy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Curt Mekemson / Jun 2 2017 10:07 am

    I loved the market in Barcelona, Peggy. So I suspect I would love this one as well. I can see where it might take up a few hours. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Catnip Blog / Jun 2 2017 1:06 pm

    Fabulous tour. Did they also have prepared food to eat right there?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Vicki / Jun 2 2017 3:26 pm

    I’d be in Foodie Heaven there.
    Even these days living on my frugal pension, I still occasionally buy the odd treat (or two) from the fresh food market.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 2 2017 4:13 pm

      Vicki, you’d go crazy in Riga’s market. The prices are fantastically low compared to Australia.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vicki / Jun 2 2017 4:17 pm

        My American & Canadian friends were incredulous when we compared organic (and ordinary) food prices. Seems Australia is about 3 times the price of the American organic fruit/veg.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jun 2 2017 4:22 pm

        That’s interesting. Last time I was in the US, I thought the prices were fairly equal.

        Like

  11. Andrew Petcher / Jun 2 2017 4:00 pm

    We always find time for a market visit and are always fascinated by the meat and fish sections. We visited Riga market some time ago and agree with you that it is one of the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. thefunnyoneblog / Jun 2 2017 6:07 pm

    I love visiting markets. For me that’s the place where you can really feel the local vibe.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. derrickjknight / Jun 2 2017 6:42 pm

    My favourite shot is the outdoor stall

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 2 2017 7:28 pm

      I was lucky to get that one in full sun. Often umbrellas put the seller, buyer and produce in shadow.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Midlife Dramas in Pyjamas / Jun 2 2017 7:04 pm

    The food looks lush! I’m positively drooling! Lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. dinosaursdonkeysandms / Jun 2 2017 7:37 pm

    Looks amazing! Theres so much to look at. I’d have been there all day! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ken Berry / Jun 2 2017 8:31 pm

    I loved the very first photo, with the stuffed paprika (peppers) and especially the two eggplant dishes, including the 10 lituvi (??) one — the marinated eggplant (marineti baklazani). Mind you it reminded me very much of a much loved Russian dish with the same name, only in Cyrillic of course…

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 2 2017 10:37 pm

      I think when I chose that first pic, I must have been channelling you and Poor John’s dad, both lovers of stuffed peppers and eggplant.

      Like

  17. pvcann / Jun 2 2017 11:30 pm

    What I noticed is the fresh look of the food, and how unlike a supermarket it appeared. Every time I see Riga I think of Wallander

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 3 2017 1:31 am

      Riga = Wallander. A good connection. As for the food, I hate packaging, so this is exactly what I look for.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. weggieboy / Jun 2 2017 11:56 pm

    Whew! What a cornucopia of goodies!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Zambian Lady / Jun 3 2017 2:37 am

    One of the best places to see a new city’s soul is a market when locals shop. I have visited the Riga a couple of times and was amazed at the market’s size and variety of items sold. Visiting the market was the highlight of my visits there. Seems like you are having a lot fun.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Jun 3 2017 5:28 am

      We’re having a great time. Good to know someone else enjoyed the Riga market as much as we did. I agree that a market is a perfect way to get to know a city’s soul.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. chattykerry / Jun 3 2017 6:37 am

    Oh, I want to go there, stat! Riga is now on my list.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / Jun 3 2017 12:05 pm

    This looks like a most wonderful experience. I’ve always loved the Los Angeles Farmers Market but it’s been many years since I’ve gone. It’s got a treasure trove of ethnic and fresh foods, prepared and raw, though the atmosphere is more like a pop-up tent city – part of its charm, I suppose. OK, now I’m hungry. Guess I need to make dinner.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Eddy Winko / Jun 3 2017 2:58 pm

    That’s a hell of a market!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. blondieaka / Jun 3 2017 10:52 pm

    Jusr wow…I think if I ever go there I will not come out for at least a week it looks amazing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Green Global Trek / Jun 6 2017 7:07 pm

    Fabulous. My heritage is on one side Lithuanian/ Riga so I resonate with this post, these foods. Aside from that am a huge fan of street markets and this one looks like amazing!! Yum smoked salmon, cabbage salad piled up…. Great post! Thanks Peggy.

    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 7 2017 7:52 pm

      How nice it must be to see these glimpses of your heritage. If I lived in Riga, I think I would be here every day, just to check out the array of goods.

      Like

  25. milliethom / Jun 11 2017 6:33 am

    So colourful, Peggy, and such a variety of foods! Your photos of the many stalls are wonderful. I adore markets, and agree that it’s frustrating seeing foods you’d love to cook when staying in hotels. I should think the people of Riga are proud of their market, especially as it’s a UNESCO heritage site.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 12 2017 5:23 am

      Thanks so much Millie. I just loved this market. I could go every day.

      Like

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