Think you know all the best street food markets in London? Think again. Beyond the frenzied hotspots such as KERB and Street Feast there are dozens of smaller, quirkier markets taking up tarmac across the city, often with smaller queues to boot.
Hugh Thomas, a food and drink writer and British Street Food Awards collaborator, is going to help you find them. Here is his guide to some of the stealthiest (and best) street food markets in town.
Around 20 stalls line up on Guildhalls’ front doorstep one Thursday each month. It’s arguably the prettiest setting for a street food market you’ll come across – historic, too, given the building’s bright white facade dates back to the 1400s. The food is forward-thinking, with tasty riffs on tartiflette, souvlaki, Korean dumplings, and jerk chicken. Our advice: go for anything from Cheeky Burger (who certainly live up to their name), or the confit duck with duck fat fries from The Frenchie.
The newest thing to set London vegan’s hearts aflutter, Soho Vegan Market pops up on Saturdays between 11am and 3pm and is run by the folks behind the thriving Rupert Street Market. Highlights include Spicebox, Vietnamese fusion scientists Eat Chay, and plant-based steak and ale pies from Young Vegans.
Here's a taste of EAT CHAY @eatchayclub joining us from the glorious 14th of April. A date to behold for all vegans and culinary adventurers alike! The most, just the most delicious Vegan Vietnamese Banh Mi. Super-fresh-chilli-🍋lemongrass. Pow. Save the date and tag a mate who'd evaporate this! 😁 #vegan #veganlondon #veganlife #veganstreetfood #vegansofldn #vegansofig #streetfood #vietnamese #banhmi #soho #instafood #londonfood
Wedged between Old Street and Barbican, traders at Whitecross market offer suited city workers salvation from Tesco meal deals Monday to Friday. This noble pursuit is undertaken by the likes of Luardos, who’s mint green and spraycan pink burrito vans (named Jesus and Mary respectively) will brighten up the drabbest of workdays. You might also seek out a wee bit of Scottish fare from The Wild Game Co – think venison steak sarnies with melted gouda – or stop by at Buddha Bowl for a massaman curry complete with carrot and kimchi pickle, green beans, steamed rice, and omega seeds.
There’s something pleasantly funfair-esque about the striped gazebos parked up outside British delicatessen Partridges. But what should be more alluring is what’s found underneath them: steamed parcels of joy from Ugly Dumplings, homely beef bourguignon and tartiflette from La Ferme, and the pick of yesterday’s leftovers from Bubble& (squeak). Market opens in Chelsea each Saturday.
There’s been a regular market at St Kats docks for a while now, but it wasn’t much good until Epicurean Events took over a couple years back. Every Friday, Tower Bridge tourists get spoiled with a rather impressive rotating roster, which has included The Gyoza Guys, BBQ Dreamz, Thunderbirds, Makatcha, and Crafty Pies. Behind which the rather handsome Dickens Inn – all three floors of it – beckons for a pint. As long as you buy a round, they’re not too fussy about you bringing in your own food.
Along with neighbouring The Cut, Lower Marsh is one of Britain’s best high streets (as was almost made official in 2016). Waterloo residents are even more smug when you mention their daily market, which takes place on this cobbled street and features all sorts of edible delights – from cakes to oysters to Cuban sandwiches. Communal tables and chairs (read: makeshift tables on wheels and plastic kegs) make lunching here a convivial affair.
Re-established by Clapton residents in 2010, Chatsworth Road Market is in the best state it’s been since before the war, when it hosted hundreds of stalls throughout most the week. Now only a Sunday happening, between 11am and 4pm, it’s currently in the hands of Hackney council. But not to worry – the food’s still good. Trot up to Sticky Bundit’s party-pink gazebo for sushi burgers, get some of Ghana’s best down your neck on behalf of Chalé Let’s Eat!, or get your hands dirty with Deeney’s haggis cheese toasties.