The Farmer’s Market in downtown Hamilton has been part of our community for generations and while it’s seen many changes over the years it’s always remained a vibrant touchstone of our community.
In recent years, there’s been an increase in the number of vendors in the market taking things beyond the traditional concept of a farmer’s market where one comes to find their fresh produce, meats, flowers and baked goods to take home.
Now there is a slew of eateries that offer freshly made creations that you can hunker down and devour on the spot or take away for a quick lunch.
So, we spent one afternoon conducting a whirlwind taste test and we’ve come up with the Top 5 must-try food vendors at the Hamilton Farmer’s Market.
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5. Jamaican Patty Shack
The staff here are very friendly, helpful and efficient. It took no time at all getting our patty. And, just as their slogan says, they offer a little taste of sunshine. These patties are just delicious. We ordered the spicy beef. They have a nice kick to them but not so much that you can’t appreciate the flavour of the meaty stuffing and the flaky pastry. They’re also pretty filling so they’re ideal to grab if you’re on the go for lunch.
4. Lina’s Coffee and Baked Goods
Lina’s has been in the market for years and has been my go-to baked goods supplier for so long. I’m always down for one of her Belgian Cookies or her sugar cookies. Her Portuguese tarts and cannolis are just so perfect and if you can get your hands on one of her pies, for the love of god do yourself a favour and get it! It’s only in recent years that the coffee element has been thrown into Lina’s mix and it’s a wonderful complement to her incredible selection of sweets. On the day we wound up at Lina’s, it was as we were wrapping up our food tour so we needed a little post-lunch pick me up. Lina’s Hammer Blend hit the spot as did her Healthfood Cookie. Don’t worry, we picked up some other less healthy treats to snack on after we felt less full and they certainly didn’t disappoint; Lina’s rarely does.
3. The Flying G’Nosh
This little spot in the market is pretty popular come lunchtime. It’s easy to see why: everything is reasonably priced and the food is superb. We ordered the flying doubles: they’re like Indian tacos with chickpeas. They took a while to make because they were pretty busy the day we were there but they were so worth the wait. The flavour is that bold traditional Indian profile we all crave that is balanced against the deliciously fresh bread it’s served on. The pickled red onion was like a little red bow on this beautifully wrapped gift and provided a lovely tanginess to the doubles. These were just amazingly flavourful and filling and the chef, who serves everything up with a smile, is a delight.
2. Mystic Ramen
Mystic is relatively new to the Farmers’ Market scene. They’ve taken over from Slurp, another superb ramen joint whose owners have pursued other opportunities in Quebec. The new owners are also incredibly inviting and so very helpful. I don’t actually get ramen all that often — I mean, that was before I went to Mystic — and when I asked them what I should try, they walked me through the menu and even offered to customize my bowl. In the end, I went with pork belly in the spicy peanut broth. Not only is pretty much every bowl out of Mystic Instagram-worthy, but they’re also unbelievably tasty. One bite and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s the perfect comfort food with a twist. It’s savoury and slurpy and oh so filling.
Gosh, I don’t know where to begin with Pokeh. When they first set up shop in the Market, I couldn’t have been more excited — I’d recently been introduced to poke for the very first time in my life and fell instantly in love. The light, fresh, and bold flavours of poke are addictive. Unfortunately, I didn’t know many places in Hamilton that were tackling this kind of cuisine. And then I heard about Pokeh and immediately went to check them out. First off, the people who run the counter at the Market are so friendly and helpful and patient. Secondly, the food is out of this world. The flavours and textures are so vibrant and unique from almost anything else you can find in the city. I love their innovative features and their traditional offerings equally. I’ve indulged my Pokeh cravings dozens of times over the years and I’ve yet to be disappointed in the food or service.
Best on Bread
Where’s your favourite place to eat at the Farmers’ Market?