London Street Eats part 1
Good morning, good lookins! I am fresh off a lovely weekend gorging myself openly and often in foggy London town. I ate anything and everything I could get my paws on, y’all, truly exceeding all of your expectations and making myself ever so slightly bloated in the process.
Ordinarily I’d be all “avert your eyes thither, gaze not as I did shave food in mine own orifice,” because, you know, I’m classy, but this is becoming the norm for me. When I travel to London – as I so often do because of my British husband but also shopping – I tend to behave in a very advanced stage on the gluttony scale. Lochte-esque, if you will.
This wasn’t always the case.
You may or may not know that I lived in London for a couple of years before moving to Dublin. While I was endlessly appreciative of the locals’ commitment to adorable words to describe their food (ie “bubble and squeak,” “jammy biscuits,” “bacon butty” and the like) I failed to connect to the local cuisine. It didn’t help that I was so recently betrothed to New York City, the land that invented pizza (pipe down, Italy), and I couldn’t imagine getting that close to a city ever again. I practiced a snobbiness that would’ve made Countess Crawley plotz, y’all, and not a single clotted cream topped scone could change my mind. I was like, “meh. I’ve had better.”
Flash forward to 2016 and I’m pleased to announce that my snobbiness has been dishonorably discharged from its platoon (go with it). I never thought it possible, but street food showed me the way.
London has embraced street food in all its glory, allowing for dozens of vendors with exotic cuisines to sell cheap, delicious, innovative dishes that probs have Brooklyn quaking in its clogs. Their weekend markets seem to have multiplied overnight, offering dim sum and dosas and duck confit burgers (oh my)! I got the latter on Brick Lane a few weeks ago, and it has a truffled honey goat cheese and a brioche bun and tasted like a meaty donut (!!)
I adore Brick Lane so much. There’s a poutine truck that makes it socially acceptable to eat certifiable drunk food during the day, paella vendors, crepe stalls, a sausage stand that’s not even trying to be ironic, and a stand that just.serves.baklava. It’s incredible. Their indoors space called “Sunday UpMarket” has even more exotic options, mostly of the Asian persuasion. It’s a must for anyone who enjoys “shaving food in one’s orifice,” if you will.
I also checked out Maltby Street Market yesterday, the spin-off of Borough Market that opened just on the other side of Tower Bridge. In a word? Hummuna. Alright, I needed three words.
Anyways, Maltby Street is a cluster of food stands that are beyond specialized. I’ve never seen anything like it – they all seem to serve just one dish but executed to perfection.
They have oysters, brownies, a stand that just sells peanut butter shakes, a grilled cheese stand, and an adorable woman making a massive vat of tartiflette – see left.
I love everything about the innovative concept, and I was pretty ravenous when I arrived in the late afternoon. I wanted to shove all of the food in my face, y’all, but I showed some self restraint and just ended up getting a “gourmet sushi burger” for lunch.
This vietnamese pork belly sandwich was so tasty – it had peanuts, chilis, basil chutney, and the tastiest, lightest rice bun I ever did have. It dripped down my arm and dribbled onto my phone as I ate, but I managed to sneak one admiring photo beforehand. It’s even tastier in person.
Hummuna, am I right? London food is so very far from “meh.”