Situated in a vast but lovely neoclassical structure and first opened in 1933, the Mercado Municipal de São Paulo — known colloquially as the Mercadão — houses hundreds of stalls selling fresh fish, strange fruits and every other edible delectable you can imagine. Originally built near two rivers which allowed for the easy transport of goods from the agricultural interior of São Paulo state to market in the capital city, the Mercadão now sits in a built-up but run-down corner of central São Paulo. Still, the same glorious produce that once arrived by boat now gets trucked in, and many of the goodies come pre-packaged in glass jars for easy transport and subsequent gift-giving.
Some of the market’s most succulent fruits hail from all over Brazil, as well as tropical areas in Asia and Africa, while the famous bacalhau — salted codfish imported from Europe — is a highlight among the Mercadão’s already impressive inventory. The second floor dining area allows visitors to sample their recently-purchased items along with a bird’s eye view of the goings-on below, but a trip to the Mercadão is never complete without sampling the renowned Italian mortadella sandwich. You can expect a pretty long wait on weekends.