It would be way too facile to call the Buford Hwy Farmers Market a simple ethnic store, nor is it really a 'Chinatown', or a 'Little Havana', the market serves several cultures, and even if your not from one of the cultures; this place is an object of cultish adoration for all obsessive food types. (ie, me!)
The market is off Buford Highway, outside of Atlanta, Georgia, and Buford Highway itself, is a dingy, unremarkable, seven-lane expressway, lined with strip malls. You could zip fast past this 6 mile stretch, (in an air conditioned SUV, with a mediocre, deli sandwich) intent on some other parts unknown, (the road connects Atlanta to points northeast), and not notice the incredible food that lies here, and is far better than anything you could purchase at any well meaning, but pretty ordinary, deli.
Like a Vietnamese place, for instance, that makes the most delectable spicy vermicelli noodle soup with pork blood, pork foot and crab meat, that you might miss, because maybe it's hidden between a Transmission Store and a now closed Burlington Coat Factory. Or a Mexican place that makes killer taco's, and whole fried tilapia, that might lie between a a 'Dollar and Change' and a Pawn Mart.
Inside the Buford market, though, is everything you could ever wish for, and the list of countries represented is endless. From Korean, to Bangladeshi, Russian, Mexican, Vietnamese, Central and South American, West Africa, the Philipines, and many more. There is a huge produce section, with an array of herbs and spices unlike any you've ever seen, and while a lot of the names are in the language of their home country, there are managers on hand to guide you through, should you need translations. There is also a bakery, where they sell Mexican Lechuza, Tavasquena, and Stik de piña (both 79c) and many other things. And a seafood and meat counter, which has soft shell turtles, and salted fried pig skins, amongst other things.
I was lucky to visit this market through a tour offered by the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, which I attended this last weekend in Georgia. To learn more about the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, click here.
IAIN BAGWELL is an Atlanta, Georgia, based food photographer who was born in Twickenham, England. (The home of Rugby!). His favorite childhood food was Shepherd's Pie, but on birthdays it was Big Mac, Fries, and a Chocolate Milkshake from McDonald's. (And I love that he told me this!) His favorite restaurant is Pricci, where he loves their risotto. His client's include Cooking Light, Kraft Foods, Sunset Magazine, Southern Living mag, Publix supermarkets, Coastal Living, Clarkson Potter, Woman's Day, and Weight Watchers. Iain once DJ'd in techno clubs, where he had the opportunity to play for 10,000 people in Budapest, Hungary.
CHECK OUT HIS WORK, HERE.
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