There has never been such a choice of street food in the capital. We’ve pounded the pavements to find the best and we are ready to reveal it to you.
On the streets of London there is a continuous swarm of street food trucks, food shops and pop-up restaurants. We have made some order and found the most interesting and good ones for you. There is something for everyone!
The brains behind brunch favourite Opso in Marylebone and two-Michelin-starred Funky Gourmet in Athens have brought their Greek street-food skills to Carnaby Street, dishing up homemade pitta breads filled with seasonal ingredients. There’s slow-cooked chicken thigh, panko-crusted cod and a traditional lamb shoulder topped with feta and roasted red peppers. Sides are fresh and salad-based, but we recommend ordering the PittaBun-spiced chips and tzatziki dipping sauce. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, they offer an apple-crumble pitta with vanilla ice cream, roasted apples and caramel fudge sauce – not for the faint-hearted.
Where: 4 Newburgh Street, Soho, London W1F 7RF
Something you’ve never tried before
London is awash with fish tacos right now but none are as tasty as Lemlem’s asa iyu fish Afro-taco. The Eritrean-inspired dish has been cooked up by the lovely Makda and Jack Harlow: crispy-beer-battered haddock or cod topped with awaze yogurt (like a chilli-spiked Marie Rose) and jalapenos on a traditional injera flatbread. There’s also beef shin braised in coffee and cardamom, slow-cooked lamb, and spicy split-pea timtimo (lentils with ginger and garlic), all served from a handsome curved shack in Netil Market modelled on a modernist garage in the Eritrean capital of Asmara. Makda also pours shots of punchy areki and ululates along with the pumping Afro-beats; this is surely the most happy-making street-food stall in town.
Where: 13c Downham Rd, Dalston, London N1 5AA
Chefs with serious credentials (Michelin-trained Karl Burdock, Patty & Bun’s Glen Leeson and Ed Baillieu and BAO’s George Clark) have teamed up to create tasty street-food chicken that’s less dude food, more fine dining – but still served from the back of a truck, of course. Label Rouge chicken (some of the best around) is seared and then roasted, skin on, before being popped into tear-drop shaped buns so there’s a bite of meat, not just bread, in every mouthful. Soups, seasonal hot pots and salads are also on the menu, and the chicken dinner (confit leg with mashed potato and gravy) beats any ready-made meal-for-one.
Where: roadgate Circle, London EC2M 2QS
The Kitchens are a huddle of black wooden street-food stalls that have been gathered together by London’s favourite Portuguese chef, Nuno Mendes, under the lovely iron roof of the Old Spitalfields market. You can’t really go wrong with any of them – from pastrami-heaped sandwiches at Monty’s Deli to tofu buns at Yum Bun – but the Dumpling Shack is a particular hit, with City workers queuing alongside food-obsessed Instagrammers for the pan-fried pork, leek and water-chestnut shengjianbao (soup dumplings). Just take our advice and try to resist popping them into your mouth straight away – those delicious soupy juices are really hot!
Where: Old Spitalfields Market, 16 Horner Square, London E1 6EW
Chips just taste better when you eat them on the street. And they taste even better when they are cheesy chips. This stall was set up by two Italians on Portobello Road Market in 2015. Since then, it’s been serving cones of nicely salted chunky chips topped with cheese (Cheddar, Parmesan or red Leicester) and all manner of sauces: barbecue; hot; curry (although we are not totally convinced by the pink garlic mayo). Load them up even further with meatballs, chorizo and goat’s cheese, or smashed avocado and roasted peppers.
Where: Boxpark Shoreditch, 2-10 Bethnal Green Rd, London E1 6GY; Boxpark Croydon, 99 George St, London CR0 1LD
FIN AND FLOUNDER
For fish lovers
This tiny fishmonger on Broadway Market – known for its super-friendly, salty-dog staff and brilliant selection of produce – now also has a stall at the street’s buzzing Saturday market. Join the queue for fresh-off-the-boat lemon-sole goujons with pea puree and calamari with tartare sauce, or, if they are on the white-chalk menu, lobster mac’n’cheese and the ‘sexy scallop sarnie’ with smoked-mackerel mayo. All the fish is sourced from sustainable boats, it’s all prepped right there in front of you and it’s all delicious.
Where: Broadway Market, London E8 4QJ
Fans of Caribbean food will have followed Mama’s Jerk spice-laced route around the city for the past six years, from Street Feast to summer festivals. They were tracking down its 24-hour-marinated jerk chicken wings (the original recipe is a family secret, created by the original Mama, Charlotte, in her farmhouse in Jamaica). But now it’s found its first permanent home at Pop Brixton. As well as wings and flame-grilled chicken wraps, there are veggie burgers (made with sweet potato, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, coconut and plantain), saltfish cakes and biriyardi, a jerk-spiced version of rice and peas. And hot-pepper pickle for real heat seekers.
Where: Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Rd, Brixton, London SW9 8PQ; Deptford Market Yard, Deptford Market Yard, London SE8 4BX
These outrageously gooey treats first popped up at a South London market a few years ago and then went on to win over a judge on Dragon’s Den. Bad Brownie has a stall at five markets around London, selling flavours including salted caramel, peanut butter, and Ferrero Rocher, and now has a store on Canary Wharf’s Reuters Plaza open seven days a week, too. Pick up a chef’s selection box to try out mini versions of the seasonal specials (rose, raspberry and pistachio; the super-popular Jaffa cake) or go for a chocolate whammy with a full-size fudgy slice all for yourself.
Where: One New Change, Friday; Maltby Street and Greenwich, Saturday and Sunday; Broadway Market and Venn Street, Clapham, Saturday
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