Okay, world. Here's my personal declaration: London is now a foodie town. In my humble opinion, you can find more creative and diverse food in London than you can in Paris or Chicago.
Yep. I wrote it.
Don't believe me? Read on to learn all about London's best food markets I discovered during my three weeks in the Smoke.
I ventured to all of these markets under the shrewd guidance of my friend and fellow travel blogger Amanda. Amanda knows all about where to find the best eats in London; she's even writing her dissertation on London's up-and-coming craft beer scene!
What's up: Netil Market is a tiny market located nearby larger and more frenetic Broadway Market. Its aesthetics are delightfully hipster-friendly with clapboard stalls, green pinstripe awnings and picnic benches. And despite its small size, Netil Market has lots of great eats.
What I loved: Um, this bao from Bao London. The only dish on the menu, this classic gua bao is filled with slow-braised pork belly, pickles and cilantro, and dusted with peanut powder.
It took everything in my power not to order a second one.
Also, the market offers lots of childhood classics like cupcakes and grilled cheese (which kind of goes with the hipster theme, no?). And I always thought grilled cheese was an American thing! Where to find it: Every Saturday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. at 23 Westgate Street, E8 3RL. Website: netilmarket.tumblr.com
What's up: Craving London's best ethnic food? Get ready to queue up at Broadway Market, the sprawling market located only a stone's throw from London Fields.
The market offers up quintessentially British eats like Scotch egg and stilton cheese, as well as a kaleidoscope of ethnic cuisines, from Italian to Indian.
What I loved: At Hanoi Kitchen I had some of the best Vietnamese I've had outside of Saigon; I was in heaven over my barbecued pork and my beloved Vietnamese coffee. I even went back for a second coffee… whoops.
Where to find it: Every Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:oo p.m. at Broadway Market, E8 4PH
What's up: Brixton Village is a covered arcade market boasting the kind of fresh-off-the-boat fare that foodies dream of, from jerk chicken to traditional Japanese. It's located in Brixton, a rougher immigrant neighborhood that's a bit out of the way; but this food is worth the hike, I promise.
What I loved: We beelined to Okan, a tiny Japanese eatery for my first taste of okonomiyaki. Um, yeah, how have I never had this AMAZING dish before?
Okonomiyaki is a savory pork and scallion pancake topped with fish flakes and spicy mayonnaise. Drool. And because it's always beer o'clock in Ashley and Amanda world, we cracked open some icy Japanese brews to accompany.
As we wandered around the market after lunch I cursed my stomach for not having more room; everything looked so good! I did find space for some frozen Greek yogurt that I tried in Greece a few years ago. It was as delicious as I remembered!
Brixton Market also seemed like a great place to buy inexpensive groceries; I saw tons of fishmongers and vegetable stalls in the area.
Where to find it: Brixton Village is open 8 a.m. – 11.30 p.m. every day except Monday, when it shuts at 6 p.m. The directions are complicated so check the website below.
What's up: Borough Market is a food market located in Central London, right on the Thames. Although a bit pricey, it's the perfect spot to stop while sightseeing. The baked good selection is particularly tempting!
And as I so eloquently wrote last year, spit roast pork sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies and sangria all in one sitting? Yes please.
What I loved: While in town I stopped by Borought Market on at least four occasions. But the best thing I discovered this year was La tua pasta, a pasta stall that sells some of the tastiest black truffle tortellini in existence. My mouth is literally watering just writing about it.
Where to find it: Borough Market is open for lunch Monday and Tuesday (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and offers a full market Wednesday and Thursday (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.), Friday (10 a.m. – 6 p.m) and Saturday (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.). It's located at 8 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TL, right outside the London Bridge tube station.
Here is a map I made to help you find all the markets!
View London Food Markets in a larger map