Judging by all the Instagram and Facebook check-ins’ and status updates, the Neighbourhood Goods market in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, is a must try when you find yourself in the land of gold.
So naturally when I was in Johannesburg for work about a week ago, I had to try it out for myself and see what the fuss is about. As an adopted Capetonian it’s a given that I would feel we have the best of everything in Cape Town. In this instance: better markets, better food, better food culture. But I go in with an open mind.
GPS says it’s 22 minutes away from my hotel in Sandton. Not too bad.
I drive there on a surprisingly warm Saturday morning, for a winter’s day.
All going well until GPS says, you are here and I don’t see where here is. Just tall buildings on either side of the road, I see restaurants, but nothing looking like a market. I park and get out of the car.
Then I hear music, I take this as a sign. Follow the music. And it takes me where I need to go.
The market is indoors, some old building. Quite retro and warm.
As I walk in I smell beautiful, different smells, spices. I hear soothing jazzy music coming from upstairs.
I hear chanting from one if the stalls, I think they might be making something Argentinian.
I feel warm and welcome. I feel right at home.
I scan through the room and I decide to start from the one side of the room to the other then check out upstairs.
Quite a variety of foods, from artisan pastries from a Johannesburg pastry school, to biltong, Durban curries, Sushi stall serving up a ‘Sushi burger’!, Mexican tacos, Spanish paella, coconut rice from somewhere in Africa, oysters of course. Lots of variety.
Other than food, there are craft beers costing an arm and a leg, smoothies, wines, etc.
I taste a few things, obviously stop at the oyster stall to have oysters (not as fresh as I like them to be).
Craft beer is currently a big phenomenon in South Africa, we have people brewing their own beers out of their garages. I’m curious about the ‘Soweto gold’, coming in at a hefty price of R55 for 440ml of lager. And it tastes ok, not R55 amazing though.
I head upstairs following the music and there’s a live band playing. Quite impressive set up actually. Benches and tables all around. A full Bar at the far end serving up cocktails even. Clothing & jewellery stalls on the opposite side of the room.
A good Saturday morning activity. I’m definitely going for the tacos when I’m ready for lunch and maybe with a Mozambican 2M beer.
Day well spent. Not comparable to Cape Town, but a good market day nonetheless.
Just 2 criticisms😕
- They need to work on their signage. If you’re not familiar with the place, it’s hard to find this market.
- They need to expand their offerings. As much as the experience of a variety of cuisines is good and what food markets are good for. A lot of people go there to buy raw fresh produce as well, to take and use at home. There was only one small vegetable stall with not much, in the corner of the room at this market.
I’m a sucker for food markets, so naturally I highly recommend this. If you find yourself in the area, do try it out. I’d give it a 7,5/10👍🏾🎊