22 February 2024

From books to barbecue meats, variety is the spice of life at new Capital Food Market

| Morgan Kenyon
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Shop owner with Korean produce

There’s just something about the market experience that keeps Canberrans coming back for more. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Following its long-awaited reopening in December, Belconnen’s Capital Food Market is buzzing with life and patrons are spoiled for choice.

There’s certainly a lot of food on the table, but it’s not just fresh produce up for grabs. Taking inspiration from European food halls, Capital Food Market features speciality delicatessen, butchery, baked goods, healthy snacks and sweet treats, as well as international food stores, a bookshop and a florist.

Two existing stores are Bestore and Book Passion, while new vendors continue to open throughout the summer season.

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Bestore was established in Mitchell more than a decade ago. The new shopfront in Belconnen offers a more intimate, streamlined shopping experience, thanks to a complete custom fitout by local specialists Moltus Construction.

Co-owner Eun Kyoung Jo, who also goes by Jamie, worked as a chef for many years in high class hotels across Australia and overseas. Her background in hospitality gives her unique insight into the importance of quality ingredients when creating good food.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re cooking something simple or complex – ingredients are the most fundamental items in the kitchen,” she says.

“What we put in our bodies should be healthy and tasty.”

As Korean food continues to grow in popularity across the ACT, Jamie says she is proud to promote the beauty of her community with the new store.

“The spirit of Korea is very special, with far reach and vast influence,” she says.

“We have a term called ‘jeong‘, which means the feeling of affection, concern, warmth and love.

“By making sure every product in Bestore is of the highest quality, freshness and best variety, we act as ambassadors of Korean food and culture and help to spread jeong throughout Canberra.”

In addition to its Korean selection, Bestore has a huge range of products from Japan, China and Southeast Asia. Kimchi, barbecue meats, fresh Asian vegetables and fungi, seasonings, sauces and spices, seaweed, bonito, dashi, tofu, biscuits, ice cream and soft drinks are on offer.

Jamie also says Bestore has its liquor licence on the way, so shoppers can expect to see Korean liquors including soju and maekju on the shelves by April.

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Another fitout under Moltus Construction’s care, independent retailer Book Passion has also received a top-to-bottom refurbishment, improving access and taking better advantage of space while preserving the shop’s warm, otherworldly atmosphere.

Having been an institution at the markets for eight years, owner Leisha Sutton says, like many of its neighbors, the shop was well overdue for a refresh.

“Market buildings were outdated and the old infrastructure couldn’t keep up with traffic. We had a lot of trouble when it rained,” Leisha says.

“Now we have a space that’s not only functional, but beautiful.

“People come in and say it’s like being in their dream home library, which is just what we want. There’s a real buzz in the air.”

The family owned shop specialises in children’s literature, run by staff dedicated to keeping the bookshop experience alive.

“I’m an early childhood teacher, so kids’ books are my thing, but we have plenty of other fiction and non fiction genres for older readers to discover,” Leisha says.

“A bookshop is a place of community where all interests come together. It’s so important to keep that alive, especially for young readers as they learn to connect with their world through stories.

“There’s nothing like browsing real shelves and getting that little tingle as you find your next book obsession. Plus, we take interest in your tastes and can make far better recommendations than any online algorithm.”

Director of Moltus Construction, Mayukah Senanayake says working with Bestore and Book Passion was a pleasure.

“Custom fitouts are always fun to design and build,” he says.

“Every business has its own needs. We like to get to know the owners and keep them involved every step of the way.

“Seeing the Capital Food Market come back to life is great – we’re really proud we could be a part of it.”

If your business could use a refresh, get in touch with Moltus Construction or drop in to Bestore and Book Passion at Capital Food Market, 10 Market Street Belconnen, to see their work for yourself.


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How to take an interesting outdoor market and turn it into a boring and expensive indoor shopping centre. This was a puff piece for it. It does not look like a euro market at all. Also massively hot in summer, no air-conditioning and ceiling fans too high up. No free parking during week. Thankfully Fyshwick markets still exists.

Margaret Freemantle10:31 pm 25 Feb 24

Spoilt for choice?? One, just one, fruit and vegetable merchant . No competition and such high prices.

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