Last weekend Calgary was able to get down and dirty with their first ever Hawkers Market. What is a Hawkers Market you ask? In simple terms a recurring pop-up food market where people can meet local vendors in a smaller, more intimate setting.
Created by Chris Jerome in Vancouver, the Hawkers Market philosophy is to “create a space where vibrant and exciting local food can be discovered…a place to conduct commerce, rapidly test ideas, and meet customers face to face.” And enjoy some loud music by a DJ while you get acquainted with your food. And drink.
I was invited in an hour early to get a preview of the Market before it started. The event was held at Studio 122, which in itself was an extraordinary space. As we arrived we were briefed at the door (no not frisked), building anticipation, and then given access to browse the market before the public arrived.
While most people who wandered in automatically veered to the right, where Village Brewery was set up, and sampling their Troubadour, and various cocktails, we went straight to the back to visit Eats of Asia, and try their Baopop. I’m so glad we did since over the course of the evening, they eventually sold out as did many others. With approximately 10 vendors in attendance, both inside and out, we happily wandered down the path of least resistance tasting as we went. Most vendors had more than one offering, and while we didn’t try them all, I will share what we did get to try.
Fiasco Gelato gave us these gooey, sweet and delicious fresh made marshmallows. Yummi Yogis must have known we were coming because they were sampling this Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Pie that was out of this world good. And healthy too. Wings n Tings blew us away with their oven baked Jamaican Jerk Wings.
Lisa the Apple Lady was giving out samples of fresh, crisp golden gala apples. She had quite the lovely display of fruits and vegetables making us anxious for Spring and Summer’s fresh produce. Cafe Rosso was our coffee stop for the evening and wow I’m glad I tried it. I enjoyed their cappuccino so much I sought them out the next day. Well Juicery awakened our taste buds with a cold pressed juice made with beets. Jane Bond Grill made us believers with their mango bruschetta, (going to be making this one soon) and prawn/chorizo skewers. The only bite we didn’t get to try was from the Naaco Truck as we had to get going, and they were set up outside. But I’ve tried the Naaco Truck before and the food is worth tracking them down for.
With each Hawkers Market you will experience an interesting mix of vendors. I think this was the perfect setting for the first ever Calgary Hawkers Market and with any first time gigs there were a few hiccups along the way. In speaking with Chris, we found out more Calgary Hawkers Markets were in the works for this year, with a bigger and possibly partial outdoor venue in mind. I think Chris did a great job for the first one in Calgary, and they can only go up from here.
Following this brief but memorable experience I composed a list of 6 things to remember when going to a Hawkers Market.
1. Come hungry
2. Bring cash
3. Collect business cards from the vendors since chances are you are going to love the food and in the process of good fun, forget where you got certain bites from
4. Dress for the weather and the venue as smaller venues can have you getting quite friendly with the person you are trying to pass in a crowd
5. Arrange for alternate transportation if you plan on trying all the libations
6. Loud music, that’s all
Special thanks to local photographer Kelly Hofer, who provided me with many of the gorgeous photographs in this post.
Tickets are already on sale for the next Hawkers Market in Calgary in May. You can find out more about being a Vendor or being an attendee at the next one by clicking here on their website Hawkers Market.