In my personal opinion, the best thing about studying abroad is the food. However, if you’re studying abroad in London then you’re in for a treat: street food. In America, you’ve probably grown accustomed to avoiding these type of foods. But in London, it might be some of the best food the city has to offer. Food ranges from Lithuanian dumplings to boeuf bourguignon burgers. Whatever it is, it’s sure to be amazing. Here are a few of my favorite street eats from some of London’s best markets.
Raclette from Kappacasein
Borough Market is known for being London’s biggest and baddest market, so it’s no surprise you can get raclette here. For those of you who don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, the Webster Dictionary defines it as “a Swiss dish consisting of cheese melted over a fire and then scraped onto bread or boiled potatoes.” This may sound average, but when you get a bite of that crispy cheese and soft potato, you’re going to want to thank me. So, you’re welcome.
Any pastry from Comptoir Gourmand
Overwhelmed by the copious amounts of sweets, I quickly decided on this lemon meringue tart and boy did I make the right call. I recently discovered my love for meringue (reminds me of a toasted marshmallows) and all it’s glory.
Side note: Borough Market has street food vendors, but a majority of the food is meant to be cooked at home, such as cheeses, raw meat and fresh produce. So if you’re studying abroad in London, definitely do your grocery shopping here, and don’t forget to pick up a mushroom pâté.
Nothing is better than homemade pasta. Since I have a problem and am the most indecisive person ever, I got two different kinds: pesto gnocchi and carbonara tortellini. I’m glad I did because I couldn’t decide which one I liked more. This homemade Italian food stand also has arancini balls larger than a baseball. It’s a go-to stop.
Ramen burger from Pimp My Ramen
Let me start by saying this was my first ever ramen burger. I didn’t know what to expect so being the crazy person that I am, I got it with both a burger and pulled pork. I know, I’m nuts. But, wow, was this good. I didn’t expect the noodles to be so chewy, yet crispy. And with a name like “Pimp My Ramen,” this place makes your feel like the coolest person in the whole market. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can make your own ramen burger with this recipe.
Dutch Pancakes from Planet Pancake
Wipe your face because I know you’re drooling. If you have a sweet tooth than this place is a must. These fluffy little round delights can only be made on a special stove top with molds for each pancake. Nutella and raspberries (or any fruit) is the perfect way to make them even sweeter. Why not start your day with these mini pancakes since they’re considered “breakfast?”
Boeuf Bourguignon Burger from The Frenchie
I ate a lot of food in London, but this, hands down, was the best sandwich/burger I had. You know when a bun is cooked in meat juices and fat, you’re about to have something amazing. But the real kicker here was the fact that they grilled their cheese. Since I only eat melted cheese, this burger was made for me.
Mac and Cheese from The Mac Factory
There’s not much I have to say about this, other than the fact that it’s insane. I’m not usually one for breadcrumb toppings on my mac, but whatever this was made out of made me a breadcrumb-lover. If you don’t think you could eat all of this, don’t worry: they give out free samples. Over the course of one of my visits to Camden Lock, I think I got samples at least five times (not sorry).
Bao from Belly N Bao
I am a huge sucker for steamed buns, so when I saw this larger-than-life bao I knew I needed it.
Grilled Cheese from Grill My Cheese
This is everything. I only dream about that kind of cheese pull and crispy-bread-to cheese ratio. Grill My Cheese has a few other market locations so market sure you get one of their sandwiches. They even dabble with the rainbow grilled cheese.
London is known for being a hub of cultures. Consequently, the food is just as ethnic. So I had a lot (and I mean a lot) of Asian food. However, the Pad Thai I had at Southbank Centre Market was the best I had while abroad. Not to mention this market is right on the water and next to the London Eye. Hey, you could even take it to go and bring it with you on the London Eye.
Spicy Tuna Temaki from Temaki Bros
Sushi ice cream cone? I can dig that. I’ve never been one to master the art of chopsticks, so I think I found my new favorite sushi. These guys really were “bros” because they gave us free mochi. If you don’t know what that is, you should probably read about why mochi it is the next big thing.
Steamed Buns from Le Bao
As I mentioned, I love steamed buns. This place not only had the classic Asian steamed buns I loved, but they also put their own flair on them. The bun on top was a lamb patty with pomegranate seeds and arugula. Since these are bite-sized, it’s okay if you eat a few.
Soup Dumplings from Dumpling Shack
I don’t know if you’re seeing a theme, but Broadway Market has an insane about of trendy Asian foods. The one day I went to this market I waited for these dumplings twice for over 20 minutes. They are different than the classic soup dumplings because the outside is thick and almost like a steamed bun. Luckily, they serve them in a little soup bowl so you can drink up all that extra broth. If you are still confused as to how these even exist, read this article to uncover the myth about soup dumplings.
Meringues from The Meringue Girls
I never knew I loved meringues until I tried these. They may be the most beautiful little bite-sized desserts I’ve ever seen, but they are also tasty. They have flavors from passion fruit-blueberry to brownie batter. You can also go on their website and order these amazing treats all the way from the UK. You can also make your own vegan rainbow meringues with this recipe.
Any Donut from Crosstown Donuts
I saved the best for last. I am one of those many people that have jumped on the matcha bandwagon. You probably should too after reading these 9 shocking facts about matcha. Obviously, when I saw this matcha donut, I needed it. It was everything I ever hoped for. It was even filled with a matcha cream. Like, c’mon, can a donut get any better?
Clearly Broadway Market was my favorite. It’s only open on Saturday’s so make sure you make time to get there. However, London’s markets were by far my favorite part of the city. People always say the food in London isn’t good, I just tell those people they are not going to the right places. So here are a few food stops to prove to you that London is your next food destination.