Fish, Chips, Markets, and Cider

An example of the ever-present Chip Shop

Anywhere you go in the UK (and Ireland, for that matter, too), you’ll notice the overwhelming abundance of Chip Shops.  There’s one on virtually every corner offering cheap, filling, and quick fare, although not the best for the waistline.  I’ve held off on indulging my hankering for Fish and Chips long enough, but now that I’m in London, the time has finally come:

Cod (the classic), Haddock, and Callimari versions, served up with ketchup, tartar sauce, and malt vinegar (and rolled in a newpaper cone if taken away)

Besides the classic English dish above, one great aspect to London’s food culture is the presence of several various excellent markets spread throughout the city.  These usually give you the best insight into that culture’s tastes and preferences, in addition to bringing in some of the best meat, seafood, and produce that can be had in the city.

A fruit and veg market in Soho

One of the more well-known markets is the Borrough Market, located across the River Thames, just South of the Tower of London:

The entrance to Borrough Market

Sausages and Cured Meats for sale

Enormous vats of simmering curries

Another shot of a fish stall – though beside this one, they’d happily shuck oysters for you on the spot!

Excuse me, but I believe I ordered the large oyster.

Turkish Delights in every conceivable flavor

Savory pies are another large part of English cuisine, though I’m not quite used to eating them cold yet

Another market called Old Spitalfields Market, across the river and a short hike from Borrough Market

Though Borrough Market was the most popular and most well-organized of the various places I visited and Old Spitalfields the most stylish and trendy (offering vintage clothes and artistic knick-knacks), my personal favorite happened to be the Broadway Market, a bit outside of the city center.  It was essentially just stalls thrown up along a street, but the food here couldn’t be beat as it took on an edgier, more international flavor.

Show me the way, o’ all knowing sign…

The market in action

Yay for Pork Buns!

I’ll always say yes when offered free samples of Iberico Ham

Scotch Eggs for Sale – a soft-boiled egg wrapped in sausage or bacon, then breaded and fried

I opted for the Black Pudding variety (blood sausage)

Mark and I with our Vietnamese Coffees (Ca Phe Sua), which they should just go ahead and rename “Crack”

A bowl of Pho Bo (one of my favorites) being prepared for me

A whole pig being roasted in plain sight? I guess that means I’ll have to check it out…

Oh yeah, that’s a nice close-up!

Another interesting aspect of London’s cuisine is the significant presence of Indian Restaurants.  From a historical perspective, I’m sure this is as a result of the fact that India was once under the control of Great Britain, and many of the English picked up a taste for curries at that time and have held on to it ever since.  Regardless, the culmination of the Indian cuisine in London lies along the Brick Lane neighborhood, otherwise known as “The Curry Mile.”  For several neon-lit city blocks, each storefront is another Indian restaurant serving various curries, vindaloos, tikki masalas, and copious amounts of naan bread.  And because there are so many so close, each has its own tout outside, offering deals to entice passerbys to enter their establishment and away from others.  It is a bit surreal to have this experience in downtown London, but it turned out to be a lot of fun seeing who could offer the best deal.  I’m not sure what the going rate was, but we finally settled on 30% off the total bill and 2 free drinks for each person (pretty good in my opinion).

The neon streets of Brick Lane

London also has quite a bit to offer for those looking to imbibe a few adult beverages.  And for the second straight country (if you consider Scotland a separate entity), I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the fantastic beer selection.  And for the first time, I’ve run across multiple pubs that stock full menus of Belgian Ales (some of my favorites), so I’ve been a happy camper.

Much like I found in Edinburgh, cask ales seem to dominate the scene

Despite the glass’s attempt to fool you, the beer on the left is actually a Trappiste Tripel (Chimay, to be exact)

The bottle selection at the Borrough Market

After our day out at Carnival, we decided to see what all the buzz what about and checked out a Cider Fest at a pub just down the street from where we were staying.  Although I didn’t snag any pictures, it was an eye-opener to try a large variety of craft ciders (though I’m probably still going to stick with ales, when given the chance).

A scene from several floors underground at Ye Old Cheshire Cheese, a pub founded in the mid-1500’s

Nightlife in the bustling Covent Garden neighborhood

About andrewamiet

I'm a 29 (now 31) year-old former desk jockey who is now making my way around the world, experiencing all of the sights, sounds, tastes, people, and culture that the world has to offer.

3 Responses to “Fish, Chips, Markets, and Cider”

  1. One thing that happens every time I read your updates is I get hungry! That piece of cod looked mouth watering (and huge).


  3. Hi I am a friend of your Mother and Grandmother, my name is Bev. Crafton. We just got back from visiting the British Isles and guernsey Island and Normandy. we found that the trip was most interesting with all the food and the history connected to that part of the world. I am really enjoy your blogs. Bev.

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