As a true foodie, you probably wonder which London markets have the best street food offers. The artisanal fare at Borough Market, the curries from Brick Lane, and the ethnic foods offered by the countless markets that pop up around Southbank all have their merits, but your taste buds crave new sensations. Round up your friends for a journey into the best street food that London markets have to offer.
When you stroll down the colourful pedestrian road known as Exmouth Market, you find yourself in the midst of Islington’s hidden culinary haven. The enticing restaurants and cosy indie cafés serve some truly inventive cuisine, while a handful of boutiques sell anything from bikes to jewellery. Every weekday, street food vendors open their stalls for a couple of hours around lunchtime, so don’t arrive too late. When you see hungry locals rushing back to their offices with takeaway boxes, you’ll know you’re in the right place. A cup of steaming Italian tomato soup or a serving of hearty Spanish meatballs with tortillas and fresh salad fills you up for the rest of the day. And if you miss the market, or arrive on a rainy day, you still have all the local eateries. Grab a seat at the bar in Morito and share some small plates with your friends. Tangy goat’s cheese drizzled with honey on a crunchy toast instantly adds a ray of sunny mood to the London gloom.
As far as London markets go, the one in Greenwich is an institution with a history that goes as far back as the 18th century. A quick stroll south from the Cutty Sark takes you to Greenwich Market, which occupies a cobbled courtyard within a ring of elegant Georgian town houses and independent boutiques. The latter lure you in with colourful apparel, artwork, and souvenirs, while the market stalls offer a range of vintage finds and high-quality handcrafted goodies. As if to remind you that you are here for the food, one of the vendors calls you over, inviting you to try a bite of warm calzone filled with delicious mozzarella cheese and a sweet tomato sauce. While you wonder whether to snack on delicate sushi rolls or Sicilian arancini, chewy rice balls filled with cheese and ham, your vegetarian friend is drawn to the vegan stall. Spicy vegetable soups and polenta slices topped with zesty lentils and crunchy beetroot salad are just a few of the meat-free dishes on offer. The homemade cakes might look just as tempting as the ones your grandmother makes, but you want to be adventurous and you try something new, like the chewy Brazilian brigadeiros. These cocoa and condensed milk bonbons come in a dozen varieties of melt-in-the-mouth deliciousness, from sumptuous dark chocolate to nutty pistachio.
Maltby Street Market
If you’re still looking for the perfect weekend brunch for your entire gang, look no further than Maltby Street Market. This hidden gem is tucked in a narrow, pedestrian alley by a railway bridge under whose arches fashionable cafés and bars have found their home. On weekends storage nooks turn into temporary eateries, while stalls and tables fill the street. Stroll down between the stalls on a Saturday or Sunday morning and you’re taken on a culinary journey from Mexico to India. Smoke rises from grills laid with sizzling steaks and burgers. The heady mix of sweet, pungent, and spicy aromas make you want to try a bit of everything. Grab a hot cup of spiced apple juice or a freshly brewed coffee for a proper morning warm-up and take a seat at one of the many street-side tables. It’s best to get here early, as these fill up quickly! There’s something for every taste here—juicy steaks and crispy chips for those who love simple food; smoked salmon and oysters with champagne for your more sophisticated friends; and warm falafel matched with sweet, fried aubergines for the vegetarians. Whatever your friends pick, you finish it all off with freshly baked waffles topped with chocolate, fruit, or southern fried chicken. It’s a weekend, after all, so why not spoil yourself a little.