West Bank’s Open-Air Market Delights With International Food

Nawlins Market, the open-air flea market, located in West Bank is just nine miles from downtown New Orleans. There you can find many traditional cuisines from many Latin American places such as the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Colombia.

Located in Harvey, just behind a motel and industrial docks of the Harvey Canal, many enjoy this destination for its laid-back atmosphere for socializing, dining and shopping. A unique place, the shops are converted storage units and open-sided pavilions.

Nawlins Market opened in 2017 and became a hot spot after last year’s Pho Festival. Currently the market’s food vendors outnumber other tenants by two to one making it a thriving grubhub. This can be attributed to New Orleans rich multicultural heritage. Areas such as Jefferson Parish have seen the Hispanic population almost double over the last two decades.

To locals, Nawlins Market is also referred to as the Westbank Flea Market, La Pulga 2, “other flea market” or the “new flea market.” Its name stems from its location. Close to the old Algiers’ Market, Nawlins Market offers patrons everything from haircuts to items such as a used circular saw.

This small marketplace has become well known for its food such as Mexican soups,and Puerto Rican mofongo. People from all around the area come to this Latin food hub run by local families.

Originally the open-air market was a space for vendors to store their goods during the week.  “When we started out, this wasn’t the concept we had in mind. We thought we would be more of a flea market,” said Tri Cung, manager of Nawlins Market. “But we learned quickly that this is what people wanted. The food vendors kept coming to us. It grew from them.”

Most vendors offer table service at each stand which consist of a range from miniature diners with bar stools and counters, to folding tables, picnic tables and food court-style benches. Music can often be heard at different stands and there are even games for the kids.

At the market you will find Plátano Power, a Dominican food stand, run by Josefina and Jose Delacruz. Run out of a trailer, the Gretna couple offer home-cooked Dominican delicacies.

“There’s a lot of harmony here,” said Jose Delacruz, 66, who recently left his longtime job at a local refinery. “People come to find the food they grew up with and to try other people’s food, and it’s all right next to each other.”

Other vendors at the market offer quick service food and full dining dishes. Golden Gate Bistro serves Colombian food such as patacon Gloria which is a cutting board tray filled with fried plantain, topped with chicken, beef and pork and crisscrossed with creamy sauces. El Recoqueo DR serves Dominican food such as split langostinos and whole fried red snapper. The Puerto Rician Island stand serves great Mofongo and octopus salad.

This family-friendly marketplace does not sell alcohol and is opened weekends only from 10am – 6pm. Food is geared more toward a late breakfast, long lunch or early supper.

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