“Don't miss the "stomach" of Riga, the market hall, where you could literally spend a whole day just looking and tasting, and in addition to traditional food and drinks such as kvass and black bread, you can also find rarities that you probably won’t have tasted before. The legendary market hall of Riga was made out of decommissioned zeppelin hangars.
The hall – even in the leanest Soviet times – symbolized wealth and prosperity, and you’ll find everything that a well-stocked pantry should contain: a wide variety of freshwater and saltwater fish – live, raw, smoked, or marinated – eggs, the most expensive caviar, the meat and offal of wild and domestic animals, an unbeatable selection of cheeses, mainly from the farms of local producers, huge imports of sweet or savory baked goods, countless spices (not native to Latvia), medicinal and culinary herbs, honey, seeds, berries, fruits, and plenty of vegetables, raw or pickled. Then there are the cavalcades of florists, clothing shops, and various jumble-sale type kitchenware sellers, but I won’t list those in detail.
One – slightly nauseating – a novelty for me was the eel-like fish which, after being pickled in black tea and then jellied, is consumed as a delicacy by the locals – you can see how popular it is with them: they eat it like sweets. I also saw, for the first time, jam made from cannabis seeds, as well as something I’d happily buy back home as well: a fruit originally from Japan, called Rubus illecebrosus, also known as the strawberry-raspberry, which is tart but sweet, rather like a cross between those two kinds of fruit.
Riga – Shopping Market
“I can think of few more authentic places where one can really integrate into the everyday life of another country than the market, and so visiting one is a must wherever we go. But this is especially true for Riga, where you’ll find the largest market is in Europe, which is also a World Heritage Site. The building itself consists of four huge, “recycled” Zeppelin hangars, and the bustle and activity inside have to be seen to be believed.
As far as the eye can see there are endless rows of authentic products, divine cheeses, butter, yogurts, rye bread, salmon, and caviar, as well as a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. They also sell fresh cranberries and cranberry juice, but be warned: a 200ml glass of this stuff is a concentrated source of antioxidants, which is great, but it’s unbelievably, almost unbearably sour, so be prepared! At the same time, it’s part of the experience, so give it a go!”