I had been looking forward to this ever since it was announced that Rotterdam would get its’ own Markthal: an indoor foodmarket filled with food stores and stands where you could get anything you would want on food products. This would have to become a foodlovers’ dream! So after years of watching the building being created and following the news about it, last week the Markthal was finally officially opened. Queen Maxima did the opening ceremony and when I saw this being broadcasted on tv, I knew I had to visit the Markthal very soon. Fortunately, I live in Rotterdam and when I go to one of my jobs, I have to switch trains at the station next to it. Frequent visits guaranteed, especially since it is open 7 days a week! So I went there only little a week after to see it for myself.
From the outside, it is a building with grandeur, the large window panels on the front and back showing you what is inside. There is a 2000 square meters surface. The building has multiple layers, each with it’s own function, all available with an elevator or ascalator. In the basement is a parking garage. On the next floor are Albert Heijn, Etos and Gall & Gall, stores for your daily groceries and pharmacy products. Then, on the ground floor is the market floor. It has a lot of permanent stands with both stands from well known stores (like Multivlaai or Delifrance), as well as true market kind of stands. There are a few restaurant kind of stands as well, they are mostly in the sides of the building and not on the market floor, except for a few. Then, in the ceiling of the market floor, are appartments. Half of the appartments have a window that looks into the market. How nice would it be to live there? The ceiling has a huge painting on it: The horn of plenty, and it is an attraction on its own. It looks wonderful and there is so much to explore on it! I spent a few minutes just watching all the things that are in the painting.
By going to the Markthal on a weekday morning, I avoided much of the crowdyness I had foreseen, so I could just stroll around and take it all in. On the market floor are over 100 enterpreneurs selling their goods. Most have specialized delicacies, like sausages, nuts, chocolate, fish, tapas, cheese or mushrooms, products that are more exclusive and the things you don’t find in a regular supermarket. I really like this, because I believe it makes people want to use the products that are fresh, made with care and not pre-packaged. But this higher quality food also comes with a higher price. I can imagine that not everybody (including myself) would like to buy their daily groceries at this pricerate. But I do like to use these products every once in a while, for special occasions and I am glad that I can find them in one place now. Of course there are also stands with ‘regular food items like bread, meat and fruits and vegetables.
Something else I really liked was the fact that there were a lot of local enterpreneurs, from Rotterdam and around it in the Markthal. For example Rotterdamse Kaas (cheese) and Bram Ladage (fries and snacks). This keeps it a little bit close to heart to all the locals.
On the other hand I think it is really neat that there are many food stands with food from different cultures. You can get for example Chinese delicacies at Mei Sum Bakery, Turkish delicacies at Ekmekci, olives at Elbali, Thai noodles at Noodlesoup & Bauguette, tapas at 21 Pinchos or you can get some Greek food at Elliniko. And of couse there is the Asian supermarket Wah Nam Hong (loved the supermarket by the way!) I always like to try things from other cultures, so for me it is a feast to see all of these interesting products. It inspires me to try new recipes!
Not only can I try new recipes now, there was also a lot you could taste for a small price in the Markthal. Almost every stand had this promotion action where you could try something for 1 euro. You could collect stamps by doing this and with 6 stamps on your card you could receive a Markthal shopping bag. Of course I did this, as I love to taste and I kind of liked the bag. I have tried so many things: a siroopwafel, a Chinese riceball with peanut, sausages, honey mustard, a chocolate kebab with pear and churros with this card. Everything was so amazing! I also had a few other things that were not in this promotion: a mini donut and frozen yogurt. I was extremely exited about the last one from Amy’s, as I finally found a frozen yoghurt that was just as good as the one I had in New York.
As I am a sweettooth I was also very pleased with all the things that were offered in this food group (yes, for me this is officially a food group). You could get candied fruit, which we often see at festivals in Rotterdam and there is an entire stand devoted to chocolate. They had the biggest assortment of hot chocolate blocks I had ever seen in my life.
I have spent a few hours in the Markthal, but it wasn’t enough yet. I really need to go back there a couple of times to explore some more of the the goods, because there is simply too much. Luckily for me, it is nearby. For now, I will just enjoy the things I brought home with me from my trip: