Day 6: The Fordsburg Night Market

The Fordsburg Night Market takes place every Friday and Saturday in Fordsburg square and around Mint street.

My visit to the market was’t for direct research purposes, I just wanted to get a feel for the nightlife of the area and try out some food.

I arrived early as I had tickets to watch Vumani Oedipus (Read my review here) at The Market Theatre. After three rounds around the block I managed to find parking across Albertina Sisulu road, a block from the market. The short walk gave me time to see some of the shops that had remained open.

On the corner of Albertina Sisulu and Central road is House of Shwarma. The pavement outside the resturant has five small red tables, a couples sits at the table right on the corner. In the dime light of the street lamp a man kneeds dough on a stainless steel table.

A family of four comes out of the alley-like entrance of the market, helping me to find it. The smell of spices wafts tantalizingly from the first stall. Diagonally across the passage I see the familiar orange lettering of The Juice Den, a local juice bar that sells fresh sugar cane and fruit juices. I tried the almost neon green avo and sugar cane juice on the walking tour and it was delicious. Making a mental note to get a juice after seeing what else there was for sale, I carried on into the main area of the market.

The market is an array of food, dvd, trinket and clothing stalls. I was glad I had arrived early as the walking space between the stalls is only wide enough for two people and I don’t like getting caught in big crowds.

There were a few couples and families walking around, passing a shoe store I saw a teenage boy take a quick photo of a pair of electric blue takkies with his smartphone before going off to show his friend in another aisle.

The night is sticky and hot so it is not long before I find myself walking back towards The Juice Den. A pile of 2 meter tall sugar cane sticks leans against the back wall in front of them is a green antique fruit pulper. I order an mango juice, it is poured from a blue kitchen jug into a polystyrene cup. It is thick and sweet, I swirl the ice around trying to make the juice as cold as possible before taking another sip.

A mother is selling a collection of samosas, rotis and palak pakora (fried spinach fritters). I order two cheese and sweetcorn and one chicken samosa and a palak pakora. She squeezes a blob of homemade chilli sauce on a plastic tray and hands me my packet of snacks. The chilli is hotter than I anticipate and I smother my samosa in it. I take a gulp of juice to soothe my burning mouth. I am less enthusiastic with the chilli sauce on my next bite.

I unfortunately had to leave before the market got too busy but I will definitely be back.

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