Whether you’re a regular visitor to the iconic South Melbourne Market or just occasionally popping in for artisanal and seasonal produce, there’s always something new (or old) to taste, discover and take home. Here are a few stalls you should visit in the coming months as we make up for lost time after the lockdown.
Mama Tran Dumpling
Stall 35, Deli Aisle
Mama Tran serves over 20 varieties of handmade Chinese dumplings. On the menu you will find shumai and shrimp dumplings, sweet and salty BBQ pork buns, steamed and fried dim sims and sesame shrimp toast. Run by Tran (the eponymous Mama Tran) and her husband Dieu Ky, the couple started Mama Tran Dumpling in the early ’80s. The market is their second home and their son Andy Ky and his wife Em will soon be taking over the longstanding institution. Find the snack stall in the center of the store, or grab some of their takeout packs to steam or bake at home.
Stall 67, Aisle B
Michael Samarasinghe has been selling these beautiful little miniature gardens on the market since 2015. He offers foliage plants, cacti or succulent terrariums, along with hanging kokedama plants. They all require a certain level of maintenance such as pruning, watering and sunlight – but that’s part of the fun too, and there are plenty of different sizes to choose from, starting at $50. You can even BYO a craft or have Samarasinghe make something that suits you. Very neat.
Stall 79, Aisle B
Diana Chen designs, cuts and makes Freckly Ollie’s clothing in her studio in regional Victoria, creating pieces for children from three months to seven years old. Each piece is made in limited editions of natural linen, vintage cotton and excess fabric – think rompers and florals in shades of brick, sandstone stripes and blossoms. Freckly Ollie also stocks a curated collection of Australian labels with the same ethos, making it a one-stop shop for sustainable outfits, toys, shoes, bath and food accessories and home furnishings.
Stall 45, Coventry Street
La Central is a deli and bodega in one, much like you would find in the Spanish markets of Barcelona and Madrid. Inside the shop, chatting with owner Alberto Andres will tell you all about the story behind the food and wine it sells, as you pick up olives, anchovies, cheeses, jamon iberico and dried Serrano hams. There are also freshly roasted Basque cheesecakes from local maker Senor Simon and croquetas from La Croqueteria. As for the menu, there are warm pastry empanadillas and bocadillos sandwiches with a selection of fillings, such as thinly sliced jamon serrano and traditional manchego cheese. Stay a while for a drink to go with traditional tapas and platters of cured meats, cheeses and other accompaniments.
Luna & Soul
Stall 155, So:me Space
What you wear should not be at the expense of the environment. Luna & Soul founder Raja Soltani-Parker is a yoga teacher who believes that you can look good and move as well in a sustainable and ethical way. So much so that she started her chic yogi warrior brand after a 10-year stint as a fast-fashion product developer in London. Using only natural fibers such as Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton and non-toxic vegetable dyes, Luna & Soul makes yoga pants, bras, jumpsuits, tanks and sweaters for women. The stall also has everything you need for a zen and mindful yoga space or practice, such as palo santo, crystals, yoga mats, rollers, and props.
This story was produced by pamphlet in partnership with South Melbourne Market.