Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lunching in London: Borough Market

I love visiting food shops and markets, especially when I travel. It's always a great way to taste and explore local foods and cultures and get a glimpse of the bustling day to day lives of the people who live in that city. New York has its own Union Square Greenmarket, Los Angeles has the Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax (near The Grove). And last year I visited Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona which was one of the best (and tastiest) experiences on my entire Spain trip. So I entered Borough Market on a Saturday afternoon with high anticipation and an empty belly, eager to participate in another food market experience for the ages.

The market was more like La Boqueria than Union Square, in that it's in an large warehouse like structure that still feels very open and airy. It was the weekend so was packed with throngs of people who were all just as hungry as I was. Luckily I found my first meal before even entering the market, a chorizo sandwich stand with a long but fast moving line in a corner outside the main market area. The sandwich was simple: chorizo, rocket (arugula), roasted peppers and a drizzle of olive oil. The chorizos were plump and juicy and just the right level of spicy and the arugula and peppers were fresh and perfect companions for the meat. An excellent start to my gorge fest.

Next stop, Maria's Market Cafe where they apparently have the best bacon sandwiches and breakfast offerings. This place had a few small tables clustered around a small kitchen and ordering counter. Again, a long line but I persevered, studying the menu while I waited, finally deciding on the egg, bacon and chips AND the bacon, bubble and cheese both on baps. A bap is a square roll and chips and bubble & squeak are, fried and mashed potatoes respectively. Yes, the potatoes go INSIDE the sandwich itself, not on the side! The bacon was the star indeed, it's not the fried up crispy skinny bacon we get in the US but larger slabs of juicy pork, more like a ham steak but thinner. Perfect breakfast of champions and now I am so starched/carbed up I can run the NYC Marathon twice over.

After that, it was all a gastro-blur to me. We had mulled wine and I walked past vendor after vendor of delicious meat pies, olives, breads, pastries. It was a never ending maze of unbelievable looking food. The best food vendors sold Thai seafood curry, wild boar sausage, fish and chips. I will let the pictures say the thousand words.

We loved Borough Market so much that we had to take some of its essence home. And what's more Borough Market than Neal's Yard cheese? Some cheddar and stilton hunks in tow, we toasted the market goodbye with a beer at a pub called The Rake and then headed off to our day's adventure, bellies full and satisfied!

1 comment:

  1. Borough Market was my favorite place in all of London... pork sausages, fresh fish and chips, delicious fall apples, the Uto Beer Stall and a pint of Anchor Steam for homesickness' sake at the Rake... great memories :)