At the end of April I posted a large gallery of photographs taken at London’s Borough Market. In the shadow of Southwark Cathedral and right by London Bridge, Borough Market is a tourist attraction in its own right and the photographs from that first gallery may have given you some sense of how crowded it is on most days. You may have also got the sense that the Borough Market—unlike Montreal’s Jean-Talon market—is not really a farmers’ market: there are in fact very few produce vendors there. What the market is really good for is retail product from small-scale and artisanal producers as well as local fish and meat. It’s also very good for casual eating; of this it may have more than Jean-Talon (though we were, of course, at Jean-Talon at the end of October). The first gallery was focused almost entirely on retail establishments. This gallery—which is even larger—focuses almost entirely on the vendors selling prepared food.
The pictures were taken on two separate visits a few weeks apart. The first visit was on a Friday when the market was just jammed—it was quite difficult to move around in some parts of it on account of the crush. Our second visit was on a Monday, when not all traders are present (not everyone trades on all days of the week), and it was a much more manageable experience (I had a much nicer time at the Neal’s Yard Dairy branch on this occasion as well and will probably put up a separate post about that later). This is a double-edged sword, of course, for both vendors and shoppers. For the vendors who do open in the first half of the week there are fewer customers; and customers who go on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays miss a lot of what makes the market special—very few of the small-scale cheese-makers are there, for example and also missing (tragically for me) is Mrs. King’s Pork Pies.
Still, whichever day you go, you are likely to find enough food options to make you happy. We were certainly very happy on both occasions—and it was all quite reasonably priced too. If you dare, launch the slideshow below for a captioned walk through most of the market’s food. The things we actually ate are towards the end of each broad category of food.
This looked very good .
One of a few vendors selling Indian food–vegetarian.
This was on the Friday visit.
Far less crowded.
This stall is inside the market proper–I noted in on our first visit and made a note to stop by on our next visit. But, alas, they only open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
This artisanal scotch egg purveyor didn’t seem to be getting much custom on either day we were there.
Nor was this purveyor of vegetarian Balkan snacks.
Vegans are also catered to at Borough Market.
Various Asian street foods featuring garlic.
Quite good. Picture taken after most of it had been devoured.
German and Thai food in close proximity.
Thai street food stall popular for coconut pancakes and pad thai.
We got some pad thai (extra chilli flakes added by the missus).
Indian and Sri Lankan food that’s both delicious and socially progressive.
I didn’t get any of these.
But I did get these very nice mutton rolls (a good deal at £4.50). A mutton roll in Sri Lanka apparently is what we could call a mutton cutlet in India—more croquette-like.
There were long lines here for wraps and boxes of curry and rice.
Wrap in progress.
I got the lamb curry with rice.
Not bad at all.
But there’s also hearty rice-based food in the market proper. The paella is the star of the prepared food offerings at Furness Fish and Game.
It’s hard to walk past without being tempted by a sample.
When we got there the second time the paella was down to the last bits—it looked good to us, actually, but they insisted we wait for a fresh batch.
Shellfish go in.
And served. Rather a lot of it…
…and rather good.
They also have a rotating offering of curries. Only tried samples on both trips but both this Malaysian curry…
…and this Indian karahi chicken were pretty good for a stall with no Indians or Malaysians in evidence.
They also serve meat and bread-based stuff. The boys enjoyed their burger and hot dog.
And we enjoyed the Spanish uni.
£10 for four sea urchins, opened, cleaned and served.
Grab some juice from across the way (the orange-mango is quite nice) and head out for things to take home for later.
A counter from the renowned British charcutiers.
Oh yes. You can sample freely before you buy—but do buy if you eat a lot of samples.
We got some of the duck and sichuan pepper (there’s pork in there too).
And some of this.
I was also tempted by the pancetta…
…and the nduja.
We ate cheese and salami for dinner back home. The one in the middle is made from rabbit, figs and port and is very good.
Blood, wine and chocolate.
Soft and tasty.
Duck and Sichuan peppercorn.
Also very good.
You can also purchase fruit preserves.
Savouries and pastries to take home for tea.
Or perhaps you’d prefer some liquorice?
We got our sweets from Comptoir Gourmand.
We resisted the macarons.
And the meringues.
And got the almond tart thing in the middle here.
And the apricot-pistachio thing in the middle here.
So good with tea later in the evening.
But if you want to eat something sweet at the market you could do worse than goat milk ice cream.
I know two boys who loved their ice cream.
My plan had been to go back to Borough Market one more time before our time in London ends (just a week and a half now) both to buy some turbot and sole to cook and to score a couple of Mrs King’s pies. But in the wake of the raised terror alert currently in place I’m not certain that it’s the best idea to visit such a densely crowded place. It’s not that the city in general feels very different than it had before the Manchester attack but perhaps because we’re here with our kids (and also with responsibility for other people’s far older kids), or perhaps because we’ve been living in a small town in semi-rural Minnesota for 10 years now, we’re a bit more cautious than we otherwise might be. Let’s see how it goes.