Reclaim Your Lunch Hour - London’s best street food markets
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Your lunch hour. It's a thing of importance. It happens five days a week and spending it slumped over your emails, slopping mayo all over your keyboard will have a profound effect on your mental state. We're all for ditching the desk, going for a mosey, copping some street food and savouring every bite.
In fact, our in-house psychiatrist (Dr Dojo) has found that half an hour of mindful eating can increase concentration and generally helps keep your dementia at bay. Yep, you heard it here first.
You'd be forgiven for letting your patronage to Old Spitalfields Market slide in the last year or so. It all got a bit samey, didn't it? Well now it's stuffed to the brim with London's finest street food. Whether you're on the bao buns, dumplings, fresh pasta or slow-cooked meats; flavours are all kinds of tasty, prices fair and faces friendly.
Stuffed into the backstreets of Soho, Berwick Street Market is very popular with the lunchtime office crowd. Keep your eyes peeled for souvlaki wraps or juicy burgers. If you're the good, honest meat-fearing type, your hunt for plant-based pleasure stops at Savage Salads. Their halloumi-topped mounds of veg are pretty darn satisfying if you ask us. Oh yeah, that's why you're here.
This lane contains all manner of street food stalls, making decisions mind-numbingly hard. In fact, if your day job requires lots of decisive action we'd avoid this spot altogether; or spin a bottle? We're much enamoured with the jerk chicken, Indonesian curry and the old reliable jacket potato van. Salads are colourful, curries are cheap and falafel comes with the biggest smile you'll see this week.
This street food market is v popular with the worker bees of East London, and for good reason too. Sandwiched between hectic Old Street and the minimal world of the Barbican, it's a pretty charming little spot. We tend to gobble a buddha bowl of massaman curry, carrot and homemade kimchi pickle, kale, brown rice, seeds and halloumi and leave feeling most enlightened.
One doesn't just pop to Camden Market for a quick lunch, but if you do find yourself in the area and manage to keep your calm amongst throngs of tourists, the resulting bounty is definitely worth it. Succulent fried chicken, crispy halloumi fries, aromatic curries... we could go on but then this tasty corn arepa, stuffed with pork, tomatoes, avo and cheese, would go cold.
Exmouth Market balances scenic and lively perfectly. It kinda makes you believe in 'village London' with its independent stores and fairy lights. And the market stalls? They have us salivating all over the shop. When Spinach & Agushi are there, we get their delicious Ghanaian curry with plantain and a cheeky dab of their ruthless chilli sauce. Veggie options can be found if you're precocious enough but BBQ meats reign the roost here.
This London classic has a strong cult following but it's still worth a roam despite the hoards of tourists. Winning lunch offerings include hog roasts, British pies, Ethiopian stews and a life changing cheese toastie from Kappacasein. It comes filled with Montgomery cheddar, Ogleshield, Comte cheese, five types of onion and packs a cheesy punch.
Waterloo can be a bit of dead zone in terms of local community spirit, that is until you turn the corner into Lower Marsh. You'll soon be swallowed up by stalls selling everything from exotic street food to crafts and records. On weekdays you'll catch us hitting up Moroccan, Senegalese, Chinese or falafel stalls. Keep an eye out for Lagniappe's Trinidad-inspired curries - their vegan option is healthful and erotic.
Whatever you're doing in the futuristic world of Canary Wharf, at least there's this street food-shaped silver lining to keep your spirits up. Stall numbers are growing, choices are becoming harder and flavours are getting more delicious. We're partial to Cally Munchy's Afro-Caribbean flavours but you could just close your eyes, follow your nose and see where it takes ya. Best of luck.