Bites & Bazaar // The Entwined World Of Shopping And Food
No shopping trip is ever complete without a meal. London’s Harrods to Mumbai’s Kalaghoda the food options aptly evolve as per the shopping destination. We did a study.
The market is a hurry-scurry of delightful conversations, merry shopping, good food and promenading. Every time I travel to a new place, I set apart a few defined days to shop at the city’s finest marketplaces, to help fill my wardrobe with memorable collectibles- things that would later on link nostalgia for the place or the journey.
I was sitting inside Freggo, an ice-cream parlor on the Regent Street in London, gorging on my blackcurrant sundae and looking out the window, when I had an epiphany about the intersection of fashion and food in marketplaces. It overlaps so methodically: Have you noticed how options of exotic food pop up amongst designer boutiques and high fashion labels? And in contrast, food stalls with cheaper yet delectable dishes flutter amongst the street vendors selling clothes, jewelry, footwear and novelties. The preying is cyclic and most often, the most successful marketplaces surround a famous monument or some tourist attraction, directing further crowd into the stores.
Whether you are roaming around the legendary Chatuchak weekend market in Bangkok, getting lost amongst innumerable crafts and antiques shops aligned with a huge variety of food vendors, so no shopper stays hungry, or strutting in the multi-lane specialty Marrakech market in Morocco filling your totes with dates, flatbreads or authentic Moroccan handicrafts, later sitting down for a delightful Moroccan meal, you will realize how past all luxuries, food is a requirement to reenergise; and continue shopping!
Street food is popular for its strong, savory flavors and of course, affordability serving better for the traveller’s budget. Ever been to Chandni Chowk in Delhi? The webbed lanes have every quintessential thing you may ever require, apart from the buzz of usual stores- made-to-order clothes, hefty supply of raw materials, mouth-watering Indian street food at every turn will quench your appetite.
Visit the Camden Lock Market whenever you are in London, for vendors here sell everything from art and furniture to food and jeans, all of which can be heavily bargained. Eating options are umpteen, and special events, including concerts and art shows keep the non-shoppers entertained.
When we are talking about flea markets, how can one miss Marché aux Puces, Paris, the name actually translating to, “Market of the Fleas”. It sells wares ranging from collectable antiques to quirky, kitsch-style junk, also running a worldwide shipping service, so tourists don’t have to worry about increasing their luggage or paying for extra baggage at the airport. Paris is famous for its quaint little cafes, but this flea market provides numerous cheaper food options.
Moreover, remember how important it is to grab a coffee before, or during office hours? The generation of need leads to the creation of solutions. Multiple coffee shops line up amongst industrial areas and office buildings- selling coffee, cookies, bagels, hot dogs, salads- basically take-away, inexpensive eatables. Countless employees, all formally dressed, scamper along footpaths to grab quick food.
In the movie ‘Chef’ three guys move a food truck selling top-quality Cuban sandwiches and yuca fries, across the country, back to Los Angeles. As they progressed on their journey they parked the truck at every famous market and used locally produced ingredients to create the food. This movie is helpful in understanding how different kinds of market treat different food, differently. Their experience selling and gaining profits fluctuated when they changed course from a popular flea market to a high-street retail strip.
In heavy contrast to flea markets, malls and the streets selling high fashion, like the famous Fifth avenue, in New York is filled with standalone stores of top labels, have lavish food alternatives, like the Smith & Wollensky, one of NYC’s quintessential classic steakhouses or the family-owned La Grenouille a bastion of classic French cuisine. Or the Champs Elysees in Paris, which has the Le Lido, a contemporary cabaret, the perfume landmark at Maison Guerlain, apart from multiple fashion flagship stores, you can dine with eloquence at the Foquet’s restaurant, famous for its red tuna, foie gras, and potatoes, and their light-as-clouds strawberry tart.
Be it the Orchard Road in Singapore or the De Pijp, Amsterdam with vast arrays of vintage, designer, boutique shops and foreign brands you will not have heard of before. If you are visiting De Pijp, remember to take a detour to CT Coffee & Coconuts, a funky place to enjoy homemade food and great quality coffee. Planning a trip to Sweden? Make sure to wander along the great boutiques and the stores of top end designers at the Götgatan market in Stockholm and rest at the wonderful cafés and hip bars.
In today’s time, food, fashion and lifestyle unite to embody high-ended distinctions. You might have observed how fashion weeks are a lot about the best places to eat, converse and bond over a hearty meal, as much as they are about the shows themselves. It is interesting how the market of food and fashion influences and transfuses within the society, juxtaposed, even though their products are significantly apart in substance: one a need, the other a thrill.
Ameesha Raizada is an intern at Runway Square. She loves books and fashion, and fiddles with photography in free time.