It’s arguably the most famous public market in the nation.
It’s also one of the oldest, continuously running markets, running since 1907.
Pike Place Market is one of the few places I visit every single time I come back to Seattle.
It’s a food lover’s paradise. Not only are there stands after stands of gorgeous (and sometimes exotic) produce, the seafood is phenomenal and so much cheaper than what I’d pay in Boston (at least for salmon!).
There’s no doubt the place is teeming with tourists, craning their necks to get a glimpse of the famous fish market guys who throw fish at each other.
But these places are not just touristy without substance. They actually offer really, really good seafood.
In fact, Bryan and I bought an entire Copper River King salmon at one of these fish markets, and we’ve been insanely pleased with our purchase.
The market cleaned, de-boned, and cut up the entire fish for us into 1-2 lb pieces. They vacuum-packed each piece and packed them all in ice for us to bring on the plane. No extra charge.
Honestly, we have never had better salmon in our entire lives.
Around the market there are all sorts of other vendors selling everything from dried pasta and artisanal olive oil to kitchen supplies and even clothing. A lot of places will offer free samples, so come with an open mind!
How about some fun flavored pastas? This place like to pass out chocolate pasta for people to sample. Orange Szechuan linguini anyone?
Or maybe this delectable Russian pastry called a “piroshky”?
The original Starbucks is here too, and there’s always a line out of the door, even though the coffee is pretty much the same as in any other Starbucks (though there was a time when the Pike Place Roast was only available at this store).
Seems like the folks at Starbucks are getting the “throwing” fever too.
If you’re a super coffee geek, consider visiting Seattle Coffee Works instead. On top of offering your typical authentic espresso drinks (e.g., cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos, and cortados), you can order a drink from the “Slow Bar”, where you can sit at an actual coffee bar and watch the baristas brew up coffee in a number of different slow ways, such as “vacuum pot,” “pour-over”, “chemex”, or “French press.”
Unfortunately the day I went, they were severely understaffed (apparently the owners were on vacation), and therefore the slow bar was closed. I got a cappuccino, which was still delicious.
I love getting the dried apple chips from the market. My favorites are the ones made from Granny Smith apples. I find that they crisp up the best – resulting in a dry, tart, and crispy chip that’s not too chewy or soft.
Pike Place Market has plenty of normal fruits and vegetables, but it also has one of the most diverse selections of interesting produce I’ve ever seen. How often does one get to see morel mushrooms, sea beans, purple artichoke, and garlic spears at a market?
I was so intrigued by the garlic spears that I bought two bunches to take home. They are different from garlic scapes (a lot of people get them confused) because they come from the elephant garlic, which is technically not really garlic. They cook up much more like a vegetable (reminds me of Chinese long beans or asparagus), and much less like a true allium. I made a fantastic dish at home combining these garlic spears with some gorgeous halibut I had also bought at Pike Place Market.
And the weirdest thing we saw at the market? Ostrich and emu eggs. No joke – you can see them displayed next to the goose, duck, and chicken eggs. Would you pay $25 for an ostrich egg? Or $13 for an emu egg?
All in all, Pike Place Market is definitely a fun place to visit and I think it’s a must-visit for any food lover. Oh, I almost forgot to mention – don’t miss the house-smoked salmon at the fish market, which is incredibly delicious too. They are happy to give out free samples, but it’s dangerous. You will most likely purchase some after tasting it, and it’s not cheap! I think we ended up buying a few fillets of those as well to bring back with us.
Bryan carrying our 30 lb salmon onto the plane.
Awww, the Seattle mini-series is over. Hope you enjoyed it. Sorry there weren’t more posts. I guess my trip was just too short. I can’t wait to go back!
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