Seven Must-Visit Food Halls to Inspire a Gastronomic Getaway
Embark on an epicurean expedition and embrace a new casual dining trend: food halls. Forget shopping center food courts, food halls are the answer for travelers seeking a variety of local tastes, all under one roof. You can browse for whatever tickles your tastebuds most and then sit down to partake surrounded by other enthusiastic foodies, locals and travelers alike. So whether you're a vegan or a meater, have a sweet or savory tooth, prefer healthy food or are looking to indulge, food halls offer the perfect solution to feed every appetite.
With nearly six in 10 (58%) of global travelers* admitting they pick their vacation destination because of its great food and drink, we share seven must-visit food halls around the world to provide some foodie vacation inspiration.
Birmingham, Alabama, USA
With a nickname of “the magic city”, travelers heading to Birmingham, Alabama will be enchanted with the array of delicious food and dining options available. The Pizitz Food Hall, located in downtown Birmingham, is a revamped industrial building which reopened as a food hall in early 2017. Gourmands will be spoiled for choice with 15 restaurants under one roof, including everything from Indian street food and Mexican cuisine to Southern soul food and Nepalese cuisine, as well as much, much more.
Where to stay: Ideally situated for foodie travelers, the Aloft Birmingham Soho Square is located just a short drive from the popular Pizitz Food Hall in Birmingham and boasts three onsite dining options of its own. After the bustling food hall experience, travelers can settle in to some traditional American fare and seafood at one of the hotel's resturants.
London is a global hub of culture, architecture, fashion, music and cuisine, and is embracing the food hall movement. Located in the Victoria neighborhood of central London, Market Hall Victoria offers diners 11 kitchens, three bars, a coffee shop and a roof terrace. From spicy Mexican tacos and juicy kebabs to British burgers and Dim Sum, foodies can enjoy a wide range of affordable dishes. Why not start your day with a nutritious cooked breakfast at Squirrel, then freshly made pasta for dinner at Nonna Tonda, followed by a drink (or two) at the Rooftop Bar?
Where to stay: Stay in the heart of London at the Claverton Street Apartment, which is just a short walk from the Market Hall Victoria. Situated in the borough of Westminster, this location is a great choice for travelers who are interested in shopping for luxury brands and the theatre. Travelers can cook up a storm in the apartment’s fully equipped kitchen and prepare meals inspired by their food hall ventures.
Siam Center Food Court, also known as Food Republic, is located in downtown Bangkok and offers cuisine from around the world, all in one place. Split into two sections, diners can feast on Asian and Western favorites, or traditional Thai dishes. Travelers can meander from vendor to vendor and sample authentic, freshly-made dishes. Before visiting the food hall, tourists should know that the Siam Centre Food Court is cashless, and diners must queue at the cashier desks to exchange cash for credit.
Where to stay: Set near the Bangkok Art & Culture Center and MBK Shopping Center, not to mention the Siam Center Food Court, Been Hostel Ratchathewi provides travelers with affordable accommodation in a central location. The hostel is located in Phaya Thai district, which is a great choice for travelers interested in shopping and food.
Often referred to as the underground food court, Shilin Night Market in Taipei is an underground paradise for food lovers. This one-stop destination is a must-visit and is the largest night market in Taipei. For adventurous gourmands looking to enrich their palates, must-try local delicacies include the stinky tofu, Taiwanese fried chicken, oyster omelet and fried ice cream.
Where to stay: Stay in the Shilin District at the Grandee Taipei Resort, which is conveniently across from the Shilin Night Market and only a short walk from the Jiantan MRT Station, ideal for travelers looking to venture further afield. Other nearby attractions include the Taipei Art Museum and Yangmingshan National Park, which can both be reached within a 40-minute drive.
With a nickname of “tenka no daidokoro” (the nation’s kitchen), Osaka does not disappoint when it comes to mouth-watering food halls. Umeda Food Hall, located in the Hanshin Department Store, consists of two basement levels. On the first level, visitors can sample a range of food such as ramen, sushi, pizza and bento lunch boxes. On the second level, diners can browse the fresh food market and savor quality wines, spirits and beers at the World Craft Beer Bar.
Where to stay: Located a five-minute walk from Umeda Station, the Ostay Umeda DDC Hotel Apartment provides the perfect home-away-from-home in a central location. Nearby attractions include the Osaka Castle, which has a history of over 450 years, and Shinsaibashi, Japan’s premier shopping paradise.
Rome is a delight for foodies and is renowned for its delicious and hearty Italian cuisine. In addition to the Michelin-star restaurants and family-run pizzerias, Rome is embracing the food hall culture, as well. Mercato Centrale Roma, open 365 days a year from 8am to midnight, offers a wide selection of indoor dining options in a casual setting. Browse the different artisan products that the vendors have to offer, from hamburgers and pizza to pasta and sushi. Then choose a table to feast on these with all your friends - you can even bring your pet along!
Where to stay: Nearly on the doorstep of the Mercato Centrale Roma food hall, the charming Habana's Design bed and breakfast is located in the prime Esquilino area, home to a selection of great bars and restaurants.
Avant-garde adventurers will love the Food Garden in Tijuana, Mexico, which aims “to be the leading operator of Urban Food Courts and one of the most recognized culinary companies in Mexico.1 Forget any preconceived ideas you might have about food halls and shopping center food courts, the Food Garden occupies and impressive 11,000 square feet and is a hub of culinary artisans, gastronomic ecosystems and social development spaces.
Where to stay: Set in the Baja California region, the Rio Suites Hotel & Apartments offers a cozy stay in a convientient location. After visiting the Food Garden, and if travelers still have room to taste more local delicacies, authentic Mexican dishes can be enjoyed at the onsite restaurant.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 53,492 respondents across 31 markets. In order to participate in this survey, respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have travelled at least once in the past 12 months and be either the primary decision maker or involved in the decision making of their travel. The survey was taken online and took place between October 16th and November 12th, 2018.