All food markets are distinct. Whether it be the smell, ingredients, the building, or the people. However, some things are the same. Understanding how to shop at food markets around the world is one of them.

1. Know what's in season - it's different for each country and depends on the time of year.

2. Even if you are not an early riser, get to the market in the morning - it's always best to go to the markets early to have the freshest choices

3. Walk around the market at least one time to fully get a sense of the different stalls - the second time around, pick what first looked best to you and most importantly, what you are craving.

4. Bring your own shopping bag - this is to reduced the amount of plastic bags used and it is way more environmentally friendly.

5. For sweets and teas at spice markets, don't be afraid to ask if you can try each flavor or smell the tea - many times the owner will let you.

6. Always look for fish with clear eyes, smell like the ocean, and feel firm at fish markets - those are signs the fish are fresh. 

With all of these market tips, put them into action at these 10 amazing food markets around the world. 

1. Union Square Greenmarket: New York, New York

Union Square Greenmarket

Phil Roeder on Flickr

The mission of this market is to create a community in New York City that educates citizens about a clean and healthy environment, recycling, and gardening. Open year-round every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8am - 6pm, Union Square is named a 'greenmarket' to refer to the more than 140 local farmers, fishmongers, butchers, and bakers who sell what they harvest, catch, raise, or bake. Nothing can get any fresher as you will only find what can be grown in the region. Sometimes you can even watch a famous chef giving cooking demonstrations or schools nearby getting tours to teach their students about healthy eating. 

2. La Boqueria: Barcelona, Spain

Katelynn Budzich

La Rambla is a famous street in the costal city of Barcelona where the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria originated in 1217 with mainly butcher stalls. Today, it is designed so the fishmongers and butchers are located in the center. That way, the ice can melt slower and have a place to drain, while not contaminating the produce, nuts, turrón (nougat), and all the other goodies. You will find locals and tourists alike picking up groceries and sweets every Tuesday to Thursday from 8am - 3pm and Friday and Saturday from 8am - 5pm. At the end of your long day picking up Catalan delicacies, be sure to nudge your way onto one of the few barstools at Bar Pinotxo for authentic Spanish tapas prepared with whatever ingredients are fresh at La Boqueria that day. 

3. Marché Bastille: Paris, France

Marché Bastille | May 25, 2014

on Flickr

One of the largest Parisian markets is set up on the boulevard Richard Lenoir near the famous Place de la Bastille every Thursday from 7am - 2:30pm and Sunday from 7am - 3pm. As you walk along the European streets and pass by the historic square where the Bastille prison once stood in the eighteenth century, begin to admire the artisanal cheeses and pastries, the vibrant seasonal fruits and vegetables, organic eggs, fish, and meats, and speciality jams, olives, wine and lavender. Enjoy some of the already prepared and classic dishes of France such as steaming boeuf bourguignon in the winter time, terrine (coarse pâté) if you are feeling adventurous, or a warm and flaky pain au chocolat from an irresistible boulangerie (bakery).  

4. Tsukiji Fish Market: Tokyo, Japan

Japan - Tsukiji Fish Market - Tokyo-11

Anna & Michal on Flickr

This fast-paced market is not only the largest fish market in the world, but it may also be the earliest one to open at 3:30am. Fishermen bring the catch of the day straight from their boats to the cramped stalls in the wholesale area. By 5am, you may be able to watch the live tuna auction take place. If you are not one of the few aloud to watch, no worries because bright orange salmon roe, briny uni (sea urchin), fatty tuna, sweet king crab and nearly everything else in the ocean are dispersed at other stalls. The outer market has shops and restaurants where you can pick up chopsticks, matcha, ornately decorated bowls, Japanese confections, or Japanese knives and where breakfast may consist of sashimi, sushi, or ramen. 

5. Central Market: Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster Central Market

Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue on Flickr

Established in 1730, this sprawling public market is the oldest continuously operated farmers' market in the United States. 12 years later, King George II declared this a permanent establishment. In the middle of Amish country stands a beautiful red brick building full of fresh ingredients, homemade sweets, just picked flowers, and prepared foods. Locals and tourists shop at a three century old market on Tuesdays and Fridays from as early as 6am - 4pm and on Saturdays from 6am - 2pm. There are many Pennsylvania Dutch finds, but there are also many other ethnic foods and goods to purchase. The three oldest stands are Stoner's Homegrown Vegetables for over 100 years, Thomas Produce for about 80 years and Long's Horseradish for more than 60 years. 

6. Ferry Building Marketplace: San Francisco, California

San Francisco Ferry Building, San Francisco, California

Ken Lund on Flickr

An iconic building noticed for the soaring clock tower, this market is stationed in San Francisco's financial, banking and transportation district. It originated as a train station in 1898. Until the Gold Rush to the 1930s, when people could reach this hilly city only by ferryboat. Once the Golden Gate Bridge was built, cars became widely used and the Ferry Building became idle until 2003, when the marketplace was organized. Now, merchants span all culinary genres, from desserts and eateries, book stores and ceramic shops, juice bars and tea courts, to seafood products and olive oil stands. Due to the products being of such high quality, about 40,000 shoppers roam under the high ceilings and through the arched walls of this marketplace. Therefore, it is not unlikely to see well know chefs of the area scoping out newly stocked ingredients to create an innovated meal with. 

7. Borough Market: London, England

Borough Market

Magnus D on Flickr

Located near the London Bridge, this is the oldest food market in London, dating back to the viking era about 1,000 years ago. With a lot of history and change through out those many years, today, this market is known for all the fresh fruits and vegetables harvested by British farmers as well as both local and foreign street food vendors and artisans. Through Sri Lankan tea, Argentine sweets, a Turkish mezze counter, Switzerland cheeses, free-range British meats, Greek olive oil, Mexican spices, Jamaican sauces, Italian truffles, and Punjabi chutneys, you can travel the globe though the food and products sourced here. This food market is a real melting pot of the best of Britain and introducing consumers to other countries specialities. All is available to immerse yourself in Monday through Saturday. 

8. Khari Baoli: Delhi, India

Indian Spices

sara marlowe on Flickr

If you smell and almost taste cardamon, cumin, turmeric, chilies, garam masala, fenugreek, star anise and all the spices in a masala dabba (spice) box, there is no doubt you are walking the ancient streets of Khari Baoli in sweltering and crowded India. The largest spice market in all of Asia is opened everyday except Sunday from 10am - 8pm. The name literally translates to salty step well, referring to the water used to bathe animals in during the 17th century. Products range from teas, rice, dried fruit, Indian wares, and a plethora of seasonings. It is not uncommon to see people hauling burlap sacks full of colorful and fragrant spices to their stalls. Follow them to get all the ingredients you need to make the best curry or samosas ever. 

9. Mercado de San Juan: Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City, Mexico 172

Design for Health on Flickr

Referred to as the "chefs market" because so many exotic fruits like lychee and passion fruit, game meats such as armadillo and lion, and traditional hispanic delicacies, for example escamoles (ant eggs) and mole a dark, rich sauce usually made with over fifty ingredients can be found in the historic heart of Mexico City. There are indigenous and traditional ingredients here. The most bizarre are the meats and seafood. Alligator, iguana, scorpions and eels are some that fill the stands. As you stroll through the many aisles every day from 7am - 5pm, not sure what half of the products are, you will get lost on a culinary adventure. Coming upon stalls brimming with ingredients and colorful wares from Central Mexico, products imported from Korea, the Caribbean, and Africa, and finally smiling vendors making homemade corn tortillas or frying flautas. The aromas will leave you in a trance as you continue to discover the magnitude of food this market is not short on.  

10. West Side Market: Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland West Side Market

EDrost88 on Flickr

A 44-foot high brick ceiling and tiled walls, this historic building is one of Ohio's oldest food markets. Fare from different cultures are represented here. First catering to the large immigrant population in 1912, this market has continued with the recipes and products brought from other countries over 100 years ago. Today, many vendors are continuing on with the second generation of family members, like Pierogi Palace making traditional eastern European dishes. While others are making new traditions, like Piccadilly Artisan, which is making ice cream and frozen yogurt with local ingredients by using liquid nitrogen. With so many stalls containing fruits and vegetables, prepared foods, baked goods, dairy products, and meats and seafood, it is a good thing this market is opened 5 days a week year round. 

If you really want to know what an exotic country, bustling city, or quaint town is like, the local food market is always a great place to go in order to find out. Whether your hometown, study abroad location, or vacation destination is known for fresh produce, aromatic spices, quality proteins, or all three, there is no restaurant you could go to with a better menu than a food market with local farmers and artisans pitched out at small stalls overflowing with the food they worked hard to cultivate, grid, catch, raise, or bake. Whatever town, state, or country you live in or are traveling to, there is always a food market full of hidden gems and local favorites that city is known for, waiting for you to discover.