How had the Abattoir market slipped under my radar for so long? Located in Anderlecht just outside the centre of Brussels, the weekly Abattoir market is easily reached by metro and makes quite an impression on arrival. Visitors are greeted by two large bull statues that guard the Abattoir entrance which gives way to a sea of colourful multicultural stalls that surround the main (heritage listed) building and several outbuildings.
In addition to the stalls offering a wide range of products, from fresh produce and snacks to homewares and travel goods, the market recently added a covered food market, the FOODMET, comprising over 50 stores that sell only food products. A range of delicatessens, spice stores, fromageries and bakeries sell their wares alongside fresh meat butchers, poultry shops and fish markets. Fresh fruits and vegetables and specialty food items are also in abundant supply.
It’s no wonder that the chefs of some of Brussels’ top restaurants are regular customers here. Aside from the range and quality of produce available, these busy markets are incredibly inviting, with vendors offering some beautiful displays at their stalls and enthusiastically spruiking their wares. Open from Friday through Sunday, the Abattoir offers a great market atmosphere that is bustling and cheerful – definitely worthy of a visit.
I’ve never really been into markets, so when a friend introduced me to the markets on the site of the Anderlecht Abattoir, I wasn’t expecting much. Little did I know that this visit would not only be thoroughly enjoyable, but also change some of my shopping habits – for the better.
The markets are huge with several sections that can keep you busy for hours. The first thing to make an impact are the seemingly unlimited stalls selling fresh fruits and vegetables. Further on is the flea market selling all sorts of used goods, from cooking utensils, electrical goods, clothing and jewellery, just to name a few. But given the market’s name, my main focus for the visit was meat! So I made my way to the indoor market hall where the butchers are located, and could barely believe the range on offer. From stalls specialising in pork or beef, or sausages or poultry, not to mention the deli’s and charcuteries. I was really spoilt for choice.
I came away with more meat than the two of us could eat in a month! The huge pork belly turned out to be great for roasting (hello, crackling!) and some gourmet sausages made a great midnight snack. The produce at these markets is some of the best I’ve come across in Brussels, super fresh and at prices that can’t be beaten by the supermarket chains. I’ve become a regular at the Abattoir, which is now part of my regular grocery shopping routine. As an added bonus, carrying the those heavy meat-filled grocery bags home also makes for an excellent workout!
Rue Ropsy Chaudron 24, 1070 Anderlecht