Our food markets are almost unrecognisable compared with a few years ago. There were just a handful of farmers’ markets, each one with a few stalls to grab a quick feed, but it was a bit of a lottery. Now food markets are all over Sydney, and each new addition (and the existing ones) are increasingly more localised and quality-focused.

Hoppers at Hopper Kadé
There’s hardly anywhere in Sydney you’ll find fresh hoppers (Sri Lankan, bowl-shaped pancakes made with a fermented batter of rice flour and coconut). Hopper Kade has some of the best, but they’re different to what you’ll find in Sri Lanka. Ruvanie De Zoysa and MasterChef’s Kumar Pereira have teamed up to produce Sydney’s first range of red-rice-flour hoppers made with a sourdough starter. “It has a slightly tangy taste. It’s taken [Pereira] four years to come up with his master batter,” says De Zoysa. Instead of the traditional lunumiris (a Sri Lankan sambal), these are served with caramelised bacon bits, poached egg and roasted tomatoes; or organic yoghurt, treacle, seasonal fruit and cashew crumbs. “It's a modern take on the Sri Lankan table.”

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Burgers at Bush Sydney
Grant Lawn’s first market was in Woolloomooloo under the Harbour Bridge. He made double cheeseburgers and handed them out to homeless people for free. He called it Bush because it was his idea of what Australia can be – “[The] food we have here, the way we consume food, our food processes and all the positive ideals that comes with that”. Now almost a year after opening he’s still making some of the best nomadic cheeseburgers in town. His stall isn’t as easy to catch as some of the others on this list, but it’s worth it for his speck-infused double cheeseburger and his kangaroo tail with beer bread made with a herb, pea and lemon-blended sauce.

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Nepalese food is a bit misunderstood in Sydney according to Shiddhanta Rajbhandari. Mostly it’s confused with Indian cuisine. Rajbhandari is on a mission to give Nepalese cuisine its own identity here. “Nepalese food can be very different and distinct from Indian food,” he says. The definitive dish for most Nepalese is momos, soft, wheat dumplings pinched at the top and filled with chicken and spices. “It’s the national food of Nepal, you’ll find them on every corner of the country.” Also commonly eaten is dal bhat, a traditional dish of stewed lentils and rice; or chat phat, a puffed-rice and potato salad, which are available too.

Avoca Markets: Fourth Sunday of the month 9am–2pm

Redfern Night Markets: First Friday of the month 4.30pm – 9.30pm

Dessert Makers
Dessert Makers is by Merna Taouk, an ex hotel chef who switched to the market (and wholesale) world so she could better explore her passion for food transparency, simplicity and locality. “The philosophy has always been about using locally sourced, good-quality ingredients and flavours that I grew up with,” she says. Like her classic, ready-made desserts (which are served at Billy Kwong and Deus Sydney Bar & Kitchen), her pancakes and porridge rely on the best ingredients. The pancakes are made with Pepe Saya buttermilk and NSW flour. The porridge has Country Valley milk and Whispering Pines oats. Both are topped with Pepe Saya Crème Fraiche and natural beekeeping guru Tim Malfroy's honeycomb.

Carriageworks Markets: Sat 8am–1pm

Bar Pho
Pho’s founder and head-chef Tina Do refuses to cut corners with her pho. All the ex-fashion designer’s soups are done just as her mum taught her, but fresher and more produce-focused. “I find pho is like making any dessert. It has to be precise to make it good. If you make shortcuts – if the onions aren't charred or smashed, or the spices aren't getting released, or the water isn't clarified – then that'll make it a bad bowl of pho,” she says.

For stall times check here

Brooklyn Boy Bagels
There are few bagel connoisseurs who haven’t tried Brooklyn Boy Bagels. The stall pops up everywhere and as far as NYC-style bagels go, this is as good as it gets without actually visiting the US. Owner Michael Shafran is like a religious zealot about bagels; the proving, moulding, boiling and schmearing is all done according to Brooklyn rules. Bagels aren’t the only thing he’s brought from his hometown, either. The stalls always have a range of Jewish treats such as chocolate babka, challah (like Jewish brioche), cinnamon scrolls and, most recently, rugelach. “It’s a pastry in a croissant shape. There are different versions. We’ve started with a chocolate version,” says Shafran.

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Arepas Australia
Arepas are the sandwiches or toast of Colombia and Venezuela. “It's a very typical food in my country,” says Arepas Australia co-owner Ybrahim Camero. “We can have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” The crunchy-edged maize-flour pancakes haven’t quite had the same impact here, but Camero is trying to do something about that. The stall, run by a double-couple team, makes arepas the way it’s done in Venezuela – with whatever can be found in the kitchen, such as spiced, shredded beef; black beans; sweet plantains; salty white cheese; and smoked pork.

For stall times check here

Birgitta’s Kitchen
Birgitta Koomen has been in the market-stall business for 11 years. Her specialty is celebrating the untrendy cakes more common at Country Women’s Association meetings and in decades-old cookbooks – brownies, quiches, apple pies and cupcakes. “My aim is to keep things like how my mum made them at home.” Over the years she’s stuck to one philosophy: keep it simple, keep it good and keep it old-school. “It's not the most healthy product but it's homemade and very retro.”

Kings Cross Markets: Sat 8am–2pm
Marrickville Market: Sun 8.30am–3pm