All around Port Moresby, food markets are the places where the heart beat and the stomach of the city. Popular and swarming, they are the best places to taste local gastronomy and observe the spirit of the Nation.
« Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go »saidAmerican celebrity chef and author, Anthony Bourdain.
This quote seems to have been especially cooked up for Papua New Guinea and it’s fantastic cultural richness. As the focal point of the nation, Port Moresby boasts some of the most colourful and bustling markets in the country with a wide and amazing selection of fruit and vegetables. Gordons, Four Miles Boroko, Waigani, Gerehu, Hanuabada, Six Miles Saraga, East Boroko, Sabama, Badili, Koki Fish and Vegetable… Each district has its own market and each one gives off the same atmosphere – the languor of sellers in the expectation of the customer who mingles with the desire of buyers to satisfy their hunger. A swarm of colors and the perfume of fresh produce.
Nothing is better than a fresh coconut and a banana bought in one of POM markets !
Ripe bananas, luscious papaya and thirst-quenching coconuts, peanuts and galip nuts, sweet papatoes, yam and taro organised in mounds, colorfull carrots, lettuces, water-melon, mangoes and tomatoes, onion, ginger, garlic, sago, kasava, cucumber, corn, sugar cane – the list of produce seems to never end. Some of the food comes from surrounding areas of Port Moresby and the Central Province like Sogeri, Rigo, Abau, Aroma or Kairuku. Products needing cooler weather come as far as the Highland regions of Mount Hagen and Goroka. Other products come from Lae. All the products of Papua New Guinea meet in these markets to feed its capital city. For all adventurous palates and curious stomachs, there is no doubt that markets are the best place to discover PNG flavours but not only that – they also tell the stories of humankind as it’s a never ending movie about food, commerce, human relationship, survival and, at the end, simply life.
At the Koki Food Market, the vegetable market is one of the oldest and just in front the new building of the fish market is build on stilts and is surrounded by dinghies and canoes. Open to the sea, the wide veranda style market offers a perfect view of the incessant ballet of boats loaded with fresh fishs or passengers coming from Fisherman island. It is a great place to be the ‘spectator’, observing the exchange. Buyers are out and about the market looking for the best catch, both in qaulity and price while sellers look to get the best price for their catch.
A visit to Port Moresby’s food markets are a must because more than simple food venues, markets are such beautifull open sky theatres that feed both the stomach and the soul.
- Usually, markets open for business from 6am to 6pm every day except on Sunday in some centres outside of Port Moresby
Boroko Craft Market: get the best handmade souvenirs
Known for its intricate carvings, tribal masks and natural fiber bags, you can’t leave Papua New Guinea without some of its best handmade crafts from Boroko. In an extravaganza of materials and colors, looking through Papuan ornaments and knick-knacks is a big part of understanding the culture and resourcefulness of its people in using all that nature has to offer. Boroko Craft Market is one of the best places for souvenir hunting, a busy line-up of colorful bilums (string bags), Sepik woodcarvings, shell jewelry, kina-shell necklaces, earrings and more. Walk around and soak in the hubbub of daily PNG merchants. Don’t forget to engage in some friendly bargaining. After all, it’s part of the experience.
Ela Beach Craft Market: score one-of-a-kind Papuan art
You might want to plan your trip to Port Moresby taking into consideration the country’s best market, Ela Beach Craft Market, which takes place on the last Saturday of every month. Traditional crafts from all over the country can be found here – the best there is – larger-than-life carvings, bilums, tribal adornments, baskets and more. But the highlight comes in the form of art. Art galleries are not common in PNG, so art lovers will relish at the local art on display here, perhaps the sole place from where you can buy paintings from contemporary artists. This is a truly unique market where you can meet some of the nation’s most famous painters.