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london street food?


New Yorker visiting London next week for the 9th time. In NY we have good street food/little specialty restaurants:

- People queue up for hours at the 53rd and 6th rice, chicken/lamb cart
- A former chef of the russian tea room opens up a lamb kebab cart
- Good bahn mi cart on wall st.
- real smoked bbq cart on water st.
- great belgian style french fries in small shop in the east village
- we celebrate street food with the vendy awards http://streetvendor.org/vendys/

In london:



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  1. here's a similar thread:

    if you search using "stalls" you'll find reference to other specific places.

    1. in London ? is exactly right, thanks for coming over to our board and rubbing it in.

      12 Replies
      1. re: skut

        really? The time out article makes it sound like London is awash with vibrant street food. Do you not agree with the article?

        1. re: vinouspleasure

          It’s a very TimeOut-y article. Timeout often reports on emerging trends as if they are sweeping the city at such a rate that you couldn’t throw a stone without hitting a new street food stall / good coffee shop / vintage typewriter stall / nightclub painted lilac etc…

          TimeOut recommendations are usually flawless though and they are impeccable at spotting new things, so follow the content, but the hype is usually just that. Also, make sure you take a healthy appetite to Borough Market, it can be a bit touristy, but seriously fabulous.

          Seconded the Camden Lock markets for lunch, fabulous food and a nice wander, but no you’re not going to see food carts as prolific as you would in NY or SE Asia. This is for a number of reasons that people have already eloquently stated in the numerous London street food threads on this board; in addition to those reasons, to me they just don’t seem particularly British.

          1. re: Samuelinthekitchen

            There's a huge amount of street food in London. Whitecross Street during the week. (Hoxton Beach for their falafel is my favorite) and Brick Lane on Sundays. (Arepas & Co. my personal fave there.)

            The whole "London has no streetfood" debate was true when I first moved here in 2004, but since White X and Brick Lane have gotten organized, it's no longer the case. At all.

            Also good to try is the stands around Camden Lock Market on the weekends. (Where you'll also find Arepas & Co.)

            1. re: kristainlondon

              "The whole "London has no streetfood" debate was true when I first moved here in 2004,.......it's no longer the case"

              I wonder if the development will eventually creep out to the rest of the country where we no real experience of such things (except for the occasional health-hazardous burger van), even in markets.

              1. re: Harters

                Let's hope so. I think the street food scene is very exciting. Local councils need to get behind the potential traders.

                1. re: Harters

                  We had a few food stalls show up at our weekly outdoor market (a very small one), but I noticed they did not last for long.

                  I wonder about the rules in the UK regarding health safety of the carts. Does anyone official here check them for health standards, bacteria etc.? I'm sure most are fine, but the way they operate interest me.

                  1. re: zuriga1

                    They should be subject to Environmental Health Department checks by the local authority, as any food outlet. If they're trading at a market, they possibly have other constraints imposed by the local authority markets department.

                    Of the five main town markets near me (Ashton, Bolton, Bury, Oldham and Stockport), I can only think of a couple of stalls at Bury that are hot food sellers (apart from the burger vans). Both of them sell hot black puddings as part of their normal business of selling cold puddings for home.

                2. re: kristainlondon

                  Any particularly good stalls in Camden Lock to recommend?

                  1. re: limster

                    I had pierogies once - enjoyed them as I was in the mood for that sort of thing, and they were very tasty. He was near the entrance to Regent's Canal.

                    1. re: zuriga1

                      Thanks, will check it out the next time I'm there.

                      1. re: limster

                        Does anyone have a view on what percentage of street food in London is good? The UK is coming from a very low base, and I expect the majority of options are poor.

                        From all the commentary on the board a visitor may conclude all street food is good and it is part of a vibrant scene. But I suspect that the good ones are few and far between and it will pay to closely follow the advice of the board. Any thoughts?

                        1. re: PhilD

                          I would say, aside from many of the places/areas mentioned previously (Borough, Broadway Market, Whitecross St, Lower Marsh etc), most street stalls are pretty poor - it seems there is a direct correlation between the distance to a major tourist attraction and the quality of the food! Many of the 'hot dog', pizza, sandwich etc stalls near attractions such as the British Museum, Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge etc are awful.

                          It does seem you have to be in the know as to where to get decent street food - to say there is a vibrant street food scene is pretty optmistic! Yes, it's getting better but it's still got a long way to go to be on par with other cities.

          2. Oh, yes... missing the carts of Manhattan, but lots to find of worth in London. I don't think anyone has mentioned the Camden area where are tons of street stalls, especially right off the Regent's Canal (makes for a lovely walk) and the Market there. I had great pierogies one day and eyed lots of other things to return for.

            It's all semantics. We don't have carts here but rather stalls, as suggested. :-) And don't forget the Borough Market.. open (partially) Thursday, Friday (best day to go) and Saturday.

            1. I sort of agree with skut. The scene here isn't THAT great (I'd kill for a halal cart like the one at 53rd and 6th...or one of the others. Anything like that).

              There are some good suggestions in this thread already though and I'll just add a couple.

              The Meatwagon:

              Buen Provecho:
              The area of Waterloo that Buen Provecho is in has a few other stalls, such as a French guy doing crepes and Thai food but I'm not sure how good they are.

              A website worth looking at/keeping an eye on:

              3 Replies
              1. re: Ibrahim.Salha

                Could you tell me exactly where near Waterloo I can find Buen Provecho? There are so many doors leading in and out of the station! I'd love to give this a try!

                1. re: zuriga1

                  It's a street called Lower Marsh, and it's the end near Waterloo Road. Just near the Greggs, opposite the park thing. He's not there often, but when he is there his food is great.

                  I've spoken about him far too much on here recently. Some people might think I was a shill or something!

                  1. re: zuriga1

                    Tried this place last Wednesday. So delicious. I had his 3 taco deal with one pork, one poblano chile and one beef. The salsas and guacamole were insanely good. You help yourself to those. I thought he was going to be at Elephant and Castle on Sunday so went along again but unfortunately he didn't show. I got the impression he was supposed to be at Lower Marsh five days a week. He also offered a hibiscus drink in a pint cup with ice.

                2. thank you for all the suggestions. I'm arriving on monday which I understand is a holiday. Will restaurants/stalls be open? We were thinking of starting things off with lahore.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: vinouspleasure

                    On the 1st thursdays of each month on vyner st in Hackney all of the galleries are open late. Last summer, there was this hippy who made a delicious concoction out of the back oh his hippy van and served it in a cone made out of junk mail. It was vaguely indian or thai; I can only remember sweet, sour and the crunch of rice krispies. I've been thinking about it all winter.

                  2. If you make it up to Hampstead, try the crepe stall outside the William IV pub on the High Street. Been there for years and years. They do superb savoury and sweet ones. Lines form at the weekend. Not sure of opening hours but definitely there at weekends.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: cathodetube

                      Second the crepe stand. They seem to offer galettes made with buckwheat/sarazin as well.

                      1. re: limster

                        Whitecross Street market has some good little places in the week also. Try the Italian at the end (North end).

                    2. Just wanted to make sure that those interested in London street food are following this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/706474

                      Pani poori and bhel stands in East Ham. Worth a trip.

                        1. re: cathodetube

                          Mien Tay on Kingsland Road sell the best Vietnamese 'street food' in London in my opinion. But if you want 'open air' definitely try Brick Lane on a Saturday, it is indoors but they are all stalls. Also Whitecross Street and Exmouth Market is really great but is open for lunch trade and is pricey

                        2. Arturo of Buen Provecho is at his pitch in Lower Marsh, Waterloo today, tomorrow and Wednesday. Saw him yesterday at the Elephant and Castle Market.

                          1. The first British Street Food Awards "ceremony" will be at this year's Ludlow Food Festival (always a great weekend)

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Harters

                              I read about the award in Delicious Magazine. I hope this will be encouragement (as it was in the States) for even more street food in the UK. The magazine article mentioned a few stalls that I don't think have been mentioned on the board here. Of course, right now I don't remember the names.

                              1. re: zuriga1

                                One contender is The Meatwagon, which I visited at a pub in Kennington after it had been mentioned on this site. He then moved to Peckham and is now a regular at The Florence pub in Herne Hill.

                                1. re: cathodetube

                                  I have no idea what the criteria is for the award. Does it have to be a cart or stall on a street. It sounds like The Meatwagon is inside a pub - does that count?

                                    1. re: Harters

                                      Thanks, John. Maybe we should go visit our friends near Ludlow around that time!

                                      1. re: zuriga1

                                        I'd thoroughly recommend it, June. We've been a few times and it's a great weekend. Whilst a couple of the top flight restaurants are no longer there, Mr Underhills and Becasse remain. Take an appetite.

                                    2. re: zuriga1

                                      The Meatwagon has their own little van. They park it up outside.