Street food: the exponential growth of London’s scene
The street-food scene in London has expanded in an exponential way to facilitate access to a wealth of varied culinary delights. With the emergence of the Street Food Awards in 2009, food traders have every reason to turn up the volume on London’s unique offering. Portable metal contraptions for reheating hot dogs with overcooked onions for a topping are a distant memory of the past. Fresh, colourful and flavoursome street food is here to stay.
Here below are some street-food venues in London that raise the British flag high for tasty yet affordable cuisine.
Venture into Borough Market, Mon-Fri, 10am till 3pm, for a lunchtime treat. It’s also well known for comfortable provision of lunch for a fiver, and there are several options to gain plenty of food bangs for your buck. Prawn wraps, mouthwatering burgers and freshly ground coffee are some of the many options guaranteed to put an extra spring in your step. Thursday through Sunday is when the whole Borough Market experience is at your disposal: fresh food, vegetables, savoury and confectionery treats stretch as far as the eye can see. Borough Market has a long standing history of promoting British and international food excellence – 1,000 years to be precise. That’s also a millennium of wafting an alluring entanglement of aromas aimed to guide taste buds to a heightened state of satisfaction that words alone cannot express.
Brixton Village Market
In this indoor market, an array of food providers sit side by side in harmony. Every row of restaurants offers something unique to the trader next door, which likens Brixton Village to a kaleidoscopic adventure. Okan-flips Japanese pancakes made with cabbage called Okonomiyaki can be availed with a filling of your choice. Franco Manca’s speciality is sourdough pizza, straight from a wood-burning oven to a plate in front of you. Etta’s Kitchen takes locality extremely seriously by sourcing its ingredients from Brixton Market, which is a mere stone’s throw away, and secures catches of the day from Billingsgate Market. Oysters, lobsters, mussels are a few of the many seafood-based dishes on the menu, all laced with a distinctive Caribbean twist on taste. Brixton Village Market is open till midnight from Thursday to Saturday providing four extended opportunities to sample the culinary greats it houses.
Kerb traders are noted for their predominant role in highlighting the British offering to the worldwide street-food movement, and are based in four bustling locations: Kings Cross, the Gherkin, Spitalfields and Paddington. Kerb is dedicated to keeping things moving in an upward direction and involving anyone who likes food and the city. All Kerbanists have undergone a scrupulous vetting process based on food, energy, attitude and professionalism.
The Kerb trader of the week is Cast Iron Kitchen which demonstrates how versatile the Kerbanist can be. With a cast-iron-griddle-mobile, Cast Iron Kitchen plates up scotch sarnies and black pudding rolls. Their aim is to utilise the best Scottish cuts and tally up on the number of black pudding converts. Well Kneaded have worked a concern for the wellbeing of the community with organic ingredients to produce fresh handmade pizzas that wow every time. The Kerb following an exhaustive list of foodie traders will grow. Kerb is the spicy kick to London’s street food movement and one to be taken seriously.
There are no limits as to what the street-food scene in London can achieve. With a growing number of hands on deck in the rising number of food traders, standards are high and precedents are set to be exceeded. Street food and the approach to eating out in London are both changing. Fish and chips are no longer a singular feature to what Britain has to offer. Food is becoming as diverse as the cosmopolitan community that makes London unique and mouthwateringly special.
Ninette Osei Wilson