The Food Junkie

Taste, texture & tales. Inside the mind of a chef.

Personal blog of The Food Junkie, Rebecca Clark. Discover stories of taste, texture and tales inside the mind of a chef that's travelled the globe in search of her next food hit. Bec sports a private cook book collection to rival the British Library and Harvard and shares her cooking wisdom with practical tips and humour. She's co-owner of Fish D'vine and The Rum Bar in Airlie Beach, Australia. An iconic award winning restaurant in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Soul of the City

To stumble, search and hunt for a food market in any city is like day care for me. I can spend literally hours and hours in them. Whether it’s a hustling market in Dubai, a street corner in France, a sheer adventure in Thailand or a leisurely stroll around Borough Market in London with a glass of wine in hand. I mean how civilized (bloody Australian fun police) on my last visit to Borough market I visited the oyster mam 13 times, matched with a crisp glass of Muscadet, (no, not as many visits to the wine stand!) The oysters were so fresh, chucked to order and I couldn’t get enough. Still I’m thinking of my next visit to slurp and slide some of these salty, sweet, creamy, treasures from the ocean. I even had the opportunity to try a fresh clam, OMG so hunting them out again next time.

Markets are the soul of any city.

Finding an array of Charcuterie in France and compiling a picnic lunch is absolute heaven. A divine selection of roulades, saucisson, foie gras, rillettes and some terrines. As for the French baguette, sorry nobody make one better. It’s usually a rolling lunch from one day to the next, adding and consuming these culinary delights it’s a sheer dose of pleasure. Oh and some fresh salad items and fruits are added to the daily spread.

The giggles and just bloody fun times of the markets in Thailand. The language barrier adds to the chuckling entertainment I enjoy. They are just so helpful, happy, vibrant and love to sell you their wares. So proud of the smile you give them as you taste their delicacies. The bright and beautiful displays, full of tropical, the unknown and just dam yum.

Victoria Markets in Melbourne, rows and rows of heaven. I grew up in Melbourne so I do try and visit often these markets often. Friends always ask about the shopping, did I do any? Of course, no shoes, handbags or clothes though… are you kidding? No room for this kind of stuff! Its always food and I’m always in fear of being over my weight allowance flying back to the Whitsundays.  Quail eggs, rabbit, cheese, wild mushrooms, black pudding, wagu steak, are a selection of all-time favourites. When I’m in Melbourne I also always visit my favourite shop in Johnston Street, Casa Iberica Deli to purchase a collection of dried chillies, quince paste, jamón ibérico, custard tarts and spices. Homewood bound with a case of accelerating times ahead. The problem I can have with the other markets of the world, is no kitchen to create with the fresh produce – which isn’t easy for a girl like me.

The gorgeous smiles from the men in Dubai... as I took phots of the lamb’s heads and hoofs, their ocean catch and beautiful produce. I think their smiles and laughter was the humour they found in my fascination for the hanging animals. I don’t expect they get many western women wandering around for hours, taking pics. The selection and taste of the dates still rings sweet in my mouth.


Meandering through the market squares in Italy, just wicked. Loudly raised selling techniques of the Italian vendors. The almost heated sounds of banter, which produce is the best and then how it should be used. Of course everyone’s Nona make the best.

It’s like an opera to my ears.

As Rick Stein says, to find a fantastic restaurant is to try one around a market square. This never rang as true as one we found in Florence. Where the locals go. It was here I fell in love with tripe - one ingredient I thought I never liked. Well the Italians set this right. This restaurant was just so bloody amazing, well a local market cafe really but Italian style.

Passing back through Florence on the train to Rome it was so good it was worth the gamble of missing the connecting train and then possibly the plane to run through the cobbled streets, suitcases in toe - we made it 10 longing minutes before they opened - had another hit and made it back to the train on time, just. Was it worth it - hell yeah!

So the Market songs are sung, the produce distributed, the community and restauranteurs come together in the lane way, squares, old market plots. The laughter, smiles, bargaining and deals have and will continue to carry on I hope forever. This is one little piggy who loves to go to market!