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Food market and "fast food" in London

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The hubster and I are planning a long weekend in London (coming from Denmark), but are mostly interested in hitting the food markets and doing some intense snacking while there. I have no idea yet where we'll be staying (would love recs). We're kind of burned out on fancy dining right now, but the idea isn't to go budget--just have some fun with exploring foods we might not usually have.

I've been scrounging the posts here and have been making notes, but thought I'd throw it out there for some specific ideas in this direction.

Any and all suggestions would be welcome!

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  1. There's plenty of markets that do food and the some dedicated street food markets here and there.

    In the evening there's:

    Street Feast is good and is held at the Camden Town Street Brewery every Friday evening http://www.streetfeastlondon.com

    Daytime markets:

    Maltby Street is a collection of under the arch units that sell all kinds of fresh produce and there's a few interesting places to eat, including a brewery (http://maltbystreet.com/

    )

    Borough Market, which divides opinion, has some cooked food places. http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk/ and it's open a few days

    If you're in South London, on a Saturday there's Brockley Market http://www.brockleymarket.com/, and if you're East there's Broadway Market http://www.broadwaymarket.co.uk/ and Netil Street Market. And Brick Lane has a market on the Sunday.

    Finally, there are a couple of lunch focussed markets, Exmouth Market, Leather Lane and Eat Street http://www.eat.st/

    I'd say that Street Feast is your best bet, has about 12 stalls and the beer is great (the brewery has a bar

    )

    Any particular fast food you're after, I may be able to recommend some stalls?

    5 Replies
    1. re: spli

      I'd also add Brixton Village to that list, most restaurants there are open every day.
      There's other threads on this elsewhere, but a fairly broad over view can be found here http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2012...

      1. re: pj26

        If you hit Brixton on a Sunday, there's a farmer's market on in the morning and all the restaurants will be open in Market Row and Brixton Village. The daily street market will be mostly closed though.

        1. re: greedygirl

          Thanks! I've noted this.

          Now I just have trouble waiting until we go!

      2. re: spli

        Wow! Thanks so much--this is just the kind of list I was hoping to have in my back pocket. We'll definitely hit Street Feast on our first night there (Friday) and the remainder you've listed should help fill out Sat and Sun (and our stomachs) quite well.

        No particular food we're after, we just want a walk by type of sampling weekend, although my husband is intrigued by hearing "going out for a curry" so much on the UK shows we see, and he wants to try fish & chips somewhere. We're both huge fans of cheeses and sausages, and I have had some of the small dairy and heritage cheeses from various spots in the UK that I'd love to try again.

        1. re: Transplant_DK

          Maltby Street and Borough are great places for cheese and sausages.

          If you're interested in a curry, then you could go to Needo (needoogrill.co.uk) or Tayyabs. They're both close to each other and are probably the best reasonably-priced indian food that doesn't require a journey to the outskirts of London. There's no booking as far as I know for Tayyabs, so the queues can get long. So I normally go Needo as you can book. I personally would avoid streets like Brick Lane, that are famous but not as good as they used to be.

      3. I would also add the street market at Royal Festival Hall. They have a great selection. Pitt Cue BBQ is close by also. You can actually go there and walk to Borough market and Maltby Street very easily.

        Re hotels really depends on your style and budget. I'm a big fan of Firmdale hotels, and also the Zetter and Zetter townhouse.

        4 Replies
        1. re: olly78

          Just check in advance about the market at Royal Festival Hall, it's only on Fri, Sat and Sun, and sometimes they are themed - rather annoying the other day when I needed some savoury stodge and they had a chocolate week on.

          1. re: olly78

            Thanks so much for the added suggestions--they are on my list as well.

            We both love BBQ and miss it terribly (I'm originally from the US), so that got our interest.

            Thanks for the hotel recs as well--that's on the agenda for today!

            1. re: Transplant_DK

              The BBQ at a chain called Bodean's is very good. I go for a 'fix' every once in awhile.. usually to the branch on Poland St., which is near Oxford Circus, Soho area. It's interesting what us ex-pats seem to miss most. :-)

              1. re: zuriga1

                It's on my list. I introduced my Danish hubbie to BBQ in TX several years ago, and his eyes light up when I even mention it now!

          2. Greenwich market - which, surprisingly, seems to never get any mention here from London based folk. Lots of snacking opportunities.

            http://www.shopgreenwich.co.uk/greenw...

            3 Replies
            1. re: Harters

              I think the food at Greenwich is generally not up to scratch, hence the lack of mention.

              1. re: brokentelephone

                Blimey. There must be some bloody high standards "dahn sarf".

                I'd be chuffed if we just had a couple of the Greenwich stalls anywhere within a 30 mile radius of Manchester

                1. re: brokentelephone

                  Hmm, well it's on the list as an alternative so many we can see for ourselves why it isn't mentioned more!

                  I have super high standards in some ways and next to no expectations on the other--these types of markets are rare here in DK, and the only one worth a visit is 3+ hours away.

              2. For what you're looking for, I would seriously consider the chaat stalls in East Ham. Heard from Jfores that a number of them have closed, but there's still several left which would satisfy a hungry explorer.

                And the Indonesian mini-mart on Charing Cross Road is definitely a place to go.

                More on the beaten track are Maltby Street Market (I'd try the stalls further out on Spa Road -- Little Bread Pedlar, London Honey Co. and Coleman Roasters for coffee) and Borough Market (favourites are La Tua Pasta's wild boar tortelli, Kappacaesin's grilled cheese sandwich, Ginger Pig's sausage roll, Gastronomica's porchetta or coppa di testa sandwiches).

                Also on the beaten track are Brixton Village and Brixton Market, but the papers and other media don't often cover some of the best stalls, such as Las Americas for bunelos/cheese bread or empanadas/puffs filled with meat, or El Rancho de Lalo for their chicharrĂ³n (and apparently their emapnadas are also excellent, any reports?). Casa Morita has the best Mexican food I've had in London, and it's actually pretty good in the grand scheme of things.

                At the Southbank Real Foods Market, my favourites are the handmade pasta at Beppino's, Churros Garcia and Naive chocolates.

                It's worth noting that stalls move from market to market. For example, Churros Garcia also has a presence in Broadway and Portebello Road Markets. I like the crepe guy at Exmouth and Broadway markets (good sarrasin galettes), Eat My Pies at Whitecross, Broadway and Brick Lane Markets (lovely custard tarts with just the right amount of nutmeg).

                1 Reply
                1. re: limster

                  oh geez. I'm drooling here. Thanks so much for this. I wish I didn't have to wait another 10 days for my trip!

                2. Wanted to give a little feedback now that we're back home!

                  We stayed near Borough's Market and went there 2-3 times for bites. It was really a pleasure to see so many local, organic/free range and hand crafted products, something we miss where we live. We also had some yummy nibbles--a cheese panini, some wild boar sausage, ice cream, cheeses, chocolates, and lots of free tastes.

                  We also went to Greenwich Market since it fit with our schedule. It was fine, as there were some non food stalls, and we shared a small serving of roast beef with melted cheese and Yorkshire pudding that was kind of fun. We also went to Brockley Market, which I really loved. Unfortunately, it was too soon after breakfast so we had to settle for a few tastes of the lovely cheeses, sausages, breads, and cake samples.

                  We never could find Street Feast, or maybe I misunderstood--there were several stalls of mall type ethnic foods, but nothing that looked too appealing. There was also too much hawking, which kind of turns me off. I had the sense we were in the wrong place, and no one we asked seemed to have heard of Street Feast.

                  We enjoyed Maltby Street and wished we could bring some of the produce home, or had access to a kitchen! We also hit Brick Lane and sampled 2 half dishes there--was very good and a step up from the mall type fast food.

                  We also ate at Fish! in Borough's Market because it was convenient--very good fish & chips. Finally, we ate at Tayyabs our last night there and really enjoyed 3 starters and 2 mains that were suggested by the waiter.

                  Bellies are full and I'm inspired to cook some curries now ;-)

                  Thanks for the suggestions. I wish we'd been able to visit more markets, but hard to get to more than a few each day and the stomach will only stretch so far!