Whether it’s slurping on hot noodle soup by a roadside in Thailand or grabbing a falafel from a street cart in New York, street food isn’t just about the food—it’s about transporting a sense of community to urban areas and creating an interconnected hub of public space and activity, for everyone. In London, the street food culture has been spurred on by overcrowding and the need to put wasted space to good use. Not to mention it can also be pretty fun sampling some beer surrounded by sculptures in an abandoned multi-story parking garage in the back streets of London.
1. Frank’s Café in a deserted parking garage
In tough times, creativity thrives. And you can’t get more creative than enjoying larger than life sculptures from the backdrop of a multi-story parking garage in London’s vibrant artistic district of Peckham. The pop-up sculpture gallery on the top four floors of the usually deserted car park displays new art by international artists, amongst a setting of urban grunge. The garage’s rooftop is home to Frank’s Cafe, which is part of the Bold Tendencies Sculpture Project. Frank’s Cafe occupies a temporary building amongst the sculptures, serving up street-style food and drinks to residents and visitors.
2. Street Feast at Dalston Yard
Inspired by the Asian night food scene and its lively senses, Street Feast attracts a bustling community of activity to Dalston Yard on Friday and Saturday nights, when street food is served up overflowing with London-cockney style. In particular, Singapore’s lively Hawker Centre and its esteemed Chili crab are the inspiration behind Hawker House. The traders are imperative to the atmosphere of the market, giving the venue a unique and vibrant personality. And you can’t stroll by BBQ Lab without trying the wildest tacos of Hickory Smoked Peanut Butter Jelly Pork Belly.
3. Real Food Market on the Thames
Convenience and quality go hand in hand at the Real Food Market on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the Southbank, where you can grab a bite to eat from one of the many food vendors, then pick up groceries from the producers who grow or source sustainable and ethical food. It’s a great way to avoid those bright lights of big chain supermarkets while supporting independent traders and small producers. We recommend Bob’s Lobster rolls, served out of a bright red and whiteVW camper van by waiters wearing crisp white shirts and bow ties. No need for swanky top-notch dining while visiting London, this is a whole new level of casual eateries you can enjoy on any budget.
4. Food, Jewelry and more on Leather Lane
It might be a bit rough around the edges, but Leather Lane Market is the epitome of London Town street life. It’s smack bang in the middle of London’s legal, creative and jewelry hub, so you can sample some of the sights and sounds while wandering up one of London’s most notorious street markets. Grab some Japanese dumplings and don’t let the weather get you down, you can find a grassy patch in one of the district’s many squares while enjoying some top London nosh.
5. KERB Life Wandering Market
KERB Food is a meandering street food market with loads of energy, visiting different locations in London throughout the week. It pops up at Canary Wharf for a two day lunch residency, and has a daily pitch at Kings Cross, then heads over to the Southbank on the weekend for the summer. It’s a smorgasbord of opportunities for new businesses, as the organizers offer workshops to help get a mobile food truck up and running. It’s where independent businesses prosper, community thrives, and great food happens.
Megan McAuliffe is a writer and journalist, exploring ethical and sustainable lifestyles and culture. She also writes for ethical businesses such as www.vwheritage.com. You can find her on Twitter @MeganEditorial.