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Nov 11, 2007 12:49 PM

London Street Food

List away with any street food or virtually hole in the wall institutions that you know. The only places that I consistently pass are a set of stands on Brixton Station Road and a meager (and quite expensive) arrangement on Goodge St. The former has 3 Jamaican carts, a Jamaican kiosk which does excellent business and has very high turn over among locals, a Portugese cart that makes fresh griddle cooked breads which are opened, lathered with herb butter and then sliced like a sandwich (a whole lunch for 2 quid if you like bread.) I've been meaning to try a Ghanan stall that I keep passing in one of the markets. It usually has at least a few people eating at any given time that I pass (I'm not exactly there for lunch time or dinner time so that seems like OK turn over.) The Goodge spot has a Thai stand which always has long lines, a Chinese stand which does OK, a crepe stand which is dead, a salad stand which is worse than dead and a burrito stand which occasionally has a sign of life. The burritos are -VERY- expensive (I would underline, make that red and italicize it if I could.)

I would be especially interested in Hispanic fare though I have doubts about being able to get it.

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  1. Arepas & Co. in Camden Lock Market. Delicious. Can't find a web site for them. Cross the little foot bridge and it's one of the stalls right there.

    13 Replies
    1. re: kristainlondon

      Tried them and they're delicious. I forgot that they're street food.

      Another spot is Southhall. Many of the bakeries and a few other storefronts have small chot poti and fuska stands set up outside. Some also fry desserts up.

      1. re: JFores

        Are these Venezuelan or Colombian arepas? A more direct way of asking that question... are these arepas stuffed or are they simply the corn arepa with cheese on top?

        1. re: glutton

          Venezuelan. You can get Colombian in Brixton.

      2. re: kristainlondon

        So I've been thinking about this all day...

        We did this thread before:

        See this post in The Guardian (but not much to suggest and although everyone loves the crepe cart in Hampstead, I'm not sure it counts.)

        1. re: kristainlondon

          'Luardos', Simon sells Mexican grub from his mint-green food van. Its great! Does a few festivals I think but you can find him during the week on Whitecross Street EC1.

          I'll have to hunt that one down. So basically markets provide London's street food scene. Ok, I'm cool with that. The stalls are somewhat meager at many that I go to. I need to get to the Bricklane market sometime soon. Do you know of any markets with high Chinese concentrations? Brixton market has around 8 food stalls of some sort not counting some hole in the wall joints that inhabit the indoor markets such as Brixton village. I can see a street food scene developing there for sure and it does good business.

          How much is Brindisa's grilled chorizo sandwich?

          * Creperie de Hampstead: authentic Brittany crepe served by a very French staff in a small cart just 2 minutes from Hamsptead tube station (turn left outside of the station).
          * Chinatown: there an old woman on Gerrard Street selling homemade steamed sticky rice with savory and sweet fillings wrapped in banana leaf. The Feng Shui restaurant has a stall outside selling authentic Chinese bearded candy with a peanut/sugar filling.
          * Leather Lane: in Clerkenwell, this long lane snakes between Clerkenwell Road and High Holborn with tons of street stalls, including some selling Thai food, Indian curries, and the only Mexican burrito stall I've seen in London.

          The last one is definitely within an easy shot of my place and I'll check it out. Goodge St also has a little collection of stalls. HOME MADE STICKY RICE YAY! Definitely going if I don't hit Brixton tomorrow. I need some Chinese groceries still anyway.

          The outdoor markets are full of small businesses such as Two Fishwives, which sells gourmet fishcakes and pies. Yum.
          Nearby, Robert Cooke still serves meat pies, mashed potatoes and jellied eels — an East End working-class specialty — at F. Cooke, the restaurant his great-grandfather opened in 1862. Outside the Nutritious Food Gallery, a Caribbean fish shop, a vendor sells sweet fried plantains and rice with peas. Shopper Franny Moyle says she loves running into all her neighbors on her weekly visit to the market. "It's brought this area to life again," she said. Hackney. Jollof Pot's tent dishes out spicy Ghanaian stews with rice, while Athill and his wife Tuyen Hong's Cà Phê VN serves strong Vietnamese coffee at low Asian-style tables with stools. Nearby, a whole hog roasts on a spit. Many of the street's restaurants and shops offer food at outdoor stalls. Middle Eastern-Mediterranean Moro sells paella, and Spanish deli Brindisa doles out chorizo sandwiches. Exmouth market.

          Thanks for the articles.

          1. re: JFores

            Hampstead is my hood and La Creperie is a longstanding favourite but in all honesty I wouldn't schlep up here just for that unless you fancy combining with say a stroll on the Heath (great at this time of year) or a visit to a couple of olde world boozers.

            More promising is the [outdoors] farmers market on Eaton Avenue (Swiss Cottage) which has a couple of food vendors including a Thai, Egyptian and Hungarian pancake one. I've yet to try them but the two Thai ladies busying themselves over the stove and the resulting aromas bode well. I will report back. This could be combined with your long awaited Jubilee Line day out to Kingsbury, Dollis Hill + Willesden :-)

            1. re: oonth

              That would be absolutely excellent. What days are the market? Both Sat and Sun? Closes at sunset? How would I get there if I started at the end of the Jubilee line and did the entire walk you suggested (which I'm very interested in doing and have written down in detail on little note cards that litter my desk.)

              The Hungarian pancake one sounds especially good. Oh wait, the Thai one does too.... and the Egyptian one.... food....

              Ok, time to go cook myself something Szechuan and do laundry.

              1. re: JFores

                Swiss Cottage street market is 8.30 - 5.00 Friday and Saturday I believe. I'm happy to try those stalls and report back as to whether it's worth making the effort. As you've already discovered, there's a lot of garbage Thai food over here (as indeed there is in NYC especially Manhattan) but I retain the hope that there is some better stuff out there. Maybe these two kindly Thai ladies will cook a few things to order if befriended. There used to be an annual Thai food + culture fair in Battersea Park that I went along to a few times and a few of the stalls there served up some high grade offerings but not exactly sure whether they were affiliated with restaurants or not. I think SW London (Sheen) may have some potential for Thai. I also have a longstanding tip for Addies in Earls Court, must try it out.

                Dollis Hill to Willesden is close, 20 minute walk. Not sure of Kingsbury to Dollis Hill, I would guess 45 min to 1hr walk, I haven't done it. You could also check out the Hindu mandir at Neasden which is on route from Kingsbury to Dollis Hill.

                1. re: oonth

                  We even have street food at my little town's weekly market. I noticed Thai and a crepe cart the other week. The Thai did not look appetizing, so I passed it by. I do enjoy when the French vendors come to town... that Normandy butter is yummy.

                  1. re: zuriga1

                    Yep there's a nice looking French deli stall takes part in the Swiss Cottage Street Market selling a variety of charcuterie, cheeses, pates etc If you haven't discovered it so far, check out a cheese called Vacherin Mont d'Or, cow's milk, Alpine. Good as is, delicious melted.

                    1. re: oonth

                      I'll look for the Vacherin. I'm eating so much more cheese than I ever did in the States.

                2. re: JFores

                  One further thought. Having read some of your posts in recent weeks, I'm not so sure that you're going to get that inspired by what you find on the Jubilee Line walk. Definitely Kingsbury for Gujurati fare if that's your thing but Dollis Hill/Willesden may prove to be underwhelming for you. A couple of the places look promising eg the Polish delis and the Brazilian place but other places may prove to be more run of the mill and maybe overpriced (eg the Romanian restaurant and the Indian options). Mangos aside the Pakistani stores won't come near to matching what you find at Pataks behind Euston or better still in Kingsbury/Southall/Taj Stores. No street food to talk of.

                  Of course there's only one way to find out and if nothing else you discover another swathe of London but just thought it wise to give you extra colour.

                  1. re: oonth

                    I need to get out more anyway. And any Romanian places are good Romanian places at this point.

        2. what about the latin american butchers on Pope's rd (very near corner of brixton station rd)
          it's a pretty authentic stand selling empanadas and other bits and pieces.. you can take our or eat at the bar.. bowls of chimmichurri sauce on hand...

          1 Reply
          1. re: foreignmuck

            Las Americas is Colombian and I go there whenever I go to Brixton. Their prices are very high, but they have good empandas and arepas. I usually get a packet of arepas for the week. I also get corn flour there. Don't order prepared sausage there, they cook it bone dry. I was shown that place by a Colombian friend of mine. It's good, but the Colombian butcher inside Brixton Village is better and cheaper (and carries things I need like banana leaves, skirt steak, various offal and tripe.

          2. Also, the Sunday Up Market off of Brick Lane has a nice area of food stalls--very international. There are Japanese pancakes, two Ethiopian places, cupcakes, and Spanish food. Plus others...

            5 Replies
            1. re: kristainlondon

              Off of Bricklane on what St? Closes at Sunset?

              1. re: JFores


                i only recall one ethiopian food stall, but i haven't been since 2005. vegetarian plates were £5 and quite good and filling.

                1. re: wleatherette

                  Was there a few Sundays back, there are lots and lots of food stalls now around both entrances. Can't comment on the quality as didn't try any of them. But keep an eye out for a stall manned by a Japanese woman and her larger than life Bosnian husband, they are recent acquaintances of mine and I have a sense that the yakitori, okonomi-yaki and tako-yaki they sell will be very worthwhile, I plan to try it out this Sunday if I get the chance.

                  1. re: oonth

                    I'm interested in the Japanese stand for sure. This might be my weekend endeavor. Or Croydon.... Or the Jubilee line finally!

                    1. re: JFores

                      Whoops, I overstated the Japanese place. They are not doing the items I listed though they hope to maybe have these on the menu moving forward. For the moment they are serving donburi ie rice with eg teriyaki, curry etc. I'm very likely to try it out this coming Sunday so will report back. Apparently their stall is popular and they often sell out by 2.30pm.

            2. Would you consider places in Borough market street food? I've eaten well in there.

              1. Lower Marsh Street - south of Waterloo station - has a brilliant curry cart: two women dish out fantastic fresh curry in generous portions. Lovely stuff. Only there half the week, but I'm not sure when, I'm afraid.

                2 Replies
                1. re: isabella_deste

                  Do you mean Marsh Ruby? They have permanent premises now and are open lunchtimes Monday-Friday.

                  1. re: Kake

                    I did! It's been a few years since I worked on that road - I should have checked my facts first!!