Itís hectic. Itís eccentric. Itís absolutely chaotic. Paddyís Food Market in Haymarket, Sydney is an experience in itself.
Located at one end of the Paddyís Market complex near Darling Harbour, the Food Market features dozens of stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables at reasonable prices.
You'll always get a bargain
All the vendors are competing for your money, and will regularly drop prices and offer specials to encourage you to buy. They operate quickly, and itís a cash-only environment.
Vendors often yell above the noise the prices of things they want to clear. Listen for the shout of ďOne dollar, one dollar, one dollarĒ, and youíll know that the vendor has a bag of goodies to sell at the bargain basement price of just a buck. This happens, especially around closing time when they are keen to offload their leftover produce.
It's crowded, but that's half the fun.
There are always hundreds of people crowded among the narrow aisles while workers are shifting stock, shuffling trolleys and boxes of fruit and vegetables to top up their displays.
So cramped are the markets that sometimes itís hard to know which stall holder you should be giving your money to.
Expect the unexpected
As you would expect, there is a huge range of produce for sale, including whatever is in season. Being close to Chinatown, Asian veggies are very popular.
The quality may not always be top-shelf, but hunt around for the best value, and you wonít be disappointed. In summer, for example the temperature can be hot, which affects the fruit and vegetables. Recently, I picked up a mango to test its firmness, and my thumb sunk in without resistance. Needless to say, I didnít buy mangoes that day.
Forget the credit card - just bring cash
There is also a seafood market, but itís not large, and is set away from the crowded fruit and vegetable section. You can also buy nuts, dried fruits, sweets and spices at Paddyís Markets.
The venue itself is a historic part of Sydney. Itís almost unchanged from the days when the original fruit and vegetable markets were situated there. Greengrocers from all over Sydney would come to the markets to buy their produce to sell in their suburban shops.
Located in Haymarket, you can use just about any mode of public transport to get to Paddyís Food Market. Central and Town Hall Stations are a short walk away, or you can take a bus or light rail. If you drive, there are several car-parking stations nearby. Be prepared to carry bags of fruit and veggies home when you see the bargain prices.
Entry is free. Open Wednesday to Sunday.
Where: Haymarket, Sydney.
Why: It's more than just the cheap produce for sale
When: Every day except Monday and Tuesday
Good for kids: Not really, too crowded.
Take away: It's all take away