Chania Central Market
Never been to Marseilles?  No problem, you can get an idea of what it might be like right here in Chania by visiting the Central Market, situated right on the edge of the old town and near the harbour.
This place bustles! Built on the site of the old Turkish market the present one takes the shape of a cross and is modeled on the one in Marseilles.  Chania is not really big enough to support separate food markets, so here they all are under the one, very high, glass roof with it's ornate ironwork.  Until a couple of years back the news stand occupied the centre of the cross beneath the suspended clock.  It caused so much congestion that it was moved to a stall nearby.  Don't be put off by the action though all the traders are well used to tourists and many speak a little of more than one language.  And before you ask, yes, Cretans are honest and helpful - no short-changing here!  Lets have a closer look....
From the front door one of the two main knaves runs south to north. This shot is looking south towards the front door.  The stalls lining either side sell everything - though each is a specialist.  Bakers; Cheese shops; magnificent vegetable vendors; olives; oils; salted and frozen fish; wines; spirits; nuts; herbs and spices; even a little in the gift shop line.
The east - west knaves contain mainly the meat and fish stalls.  Meat largely on the east knave, though there are a couple of small market cafes selling meat and fish dishes in both.  In the predominantly fish west knave - much of it caught last night - is a specialist fish cafe selling dishes which would make the average English fish and chip shop proprietor turn green with envy.  Try one of these cafes - remember the locals eat there too.  If you are on a package holiday this may be your best chance of sampling real Cretan food.
The meat stalls sell superb fresh meat, most of it with the fat totally removed.  Remember though, that lots of bits you won't see in an English butcher shop, including entrails - and maybe a head or two from sheep, goats or pigs are for sale and you might find the display a bit gruesome!
The fish market sells every type imaginable - beautifully presented; very fresh and at good prices.  I particularly like Whitebait; Swordfish; Tonos and Barbounia (red mullet).  From Astratigos, home of this site, I can sometimes watch the entire fishing fleet at night in the bay below, lights twinkling on a sometimes moonlit  sea as they work as a body taking tomorrows catch.  They work in foul and seriously cold wet nights too in winter, but, as you can see, the fish mongers are keen to enjoy selling their catch.
The fresh Vegetables really are amazing.  We regularly buy radish as big as apples and they taste better than the smaller ones we are used to in the UK.  Much the same for the vast assortment available.  My wife recently overheard a young English couple, utterly lost to the sights; smells and sounds spending a little of their holiday in front of a stall discussing in unbelieving tones the contents of a Cretan vegetable stall...  Is it real?  It most certainly is!