There has been a market located in this spot since (approximately) 1014. This latest incarnation, which has witnessed an incredible renaissance over the past 15 years, is spread under the arches and railroad tracks leading to London Bridge station and is home to the stalls of some of London’s best food sellers. Fresh coffees, gorgeous cheeses, olives, and baked goods complement the organically farmed meats, fresh fish, fruits, and vegetables. Always teeming with foodies, wide-eyed tourists and local Londoners picking up necessities for dinner, Borough Market is a must for anyone’s London itinerary. While in London last month, I popped into Borough Market to have a wander and some lunch before heading over to the Tate Modern. I can’t get enough of a good market, and it had been a few years since I last sampled London’s best.
What I love about Borough Market is the fact that everyone involved is profoundly enamored with food. You can ask traders about a specific aroma or taste, and they will happily teach you how it is produced or let you in on secret anecdotes about the ingredients. Things are not cheap at the market (or anywhere in London let’s be real), but everything is of high quality with lots of assortment in what you can try. All in all, as long as you bring an empty stomach, Borough Market is a fantastic experience. Grab yourself a cloth shopping bag to fill with Argentinian empanadas and Calabrian red pepper-spiked pork sausages for later and, as always, happy eating!
What to Eat
The market specializes in high-end fresh products; but, there are also plenty of takeaway stalls, fantastic cafés, and restaurants (such as Padella or Arabica Bar & Kitchen), and craft beer & wine stands to pair with your buys. To make it easier to find your way to a specific ingredient or a recommended vendor, check the Borough Market Map. To start the process of dealing with my rumbling stomach, I headed to Richard Haward’s Oysters. The Haward family of oystermen are in their eighth generation of business, which dates back to the 1700s. They farm the oyster beds of Mersea Island in Essex and produce some of the finest oysters available. Legend has it that the Romans described this type of oysters as “the only good thing to come out of Britain.” Fair enough. Two thousand years on, the slow-growing mollusks with their distinctive flat shells are now slurped up by browsers at the stalls of farmers’ markets and business travelers in airport champagne bars.I, for one, can never get enough of the slimy things. Here they were incredibly fresh, best enjoyed shucked on the spot with a dash of lemon and Tabasco.
Next up was a stop at The Exotic Meat Company. Throughout my travels (especially in China) I have tried and *mostly* enjoyed lots and lots of different types of exotic meats. As a gluten-free foodie, I get my culinary excitement from creative meat and savory dishes rather than pastries and desserts. So, imagine my rather shocked delight at finding a trio of mini crocodile, ostrich, and zebra burgers on one skewer! I had a couple of crocodile steaks while in Phuket, Thailand earlier this year, but I had never had the opportunity to try the other two types. To be honest, I forgot the order with which they were on the skewer; but, dunking each of them into mayo, cranberry, or spicy mustard sauce took the level of deliciousness over the edge. Refraining from indulging in a very tempting Prosecco Spritzer or Pimm’s, I instead went for a Masala Chai from Tea2You. These guys are specialists in fine, Indian tea and bring to the market the greatest of Darjeeling varieties. My cup had just the right combination of ginger, black pepper, and honey.
More of the best stalls at Borough Market
Here are six more stalls that come highly recommended from my friends in the city.
Mrs. King’s Pork Pies – For a truly British experience, one of the more humble-looking stalls has you covered. Since 1853, Mrs. King’s Pork Pies has been producing hand-made award-winning pork pies. Mouth-watering pastry, delicately flavored jelly, and succulent meat have led these pies to receive a special status — they can only be made in a specific way, in a particular part of Nottinghamshire.
Bread Ahead – Known for their cheese & olive sticks and (apparently) incredible doughnuts, Bread Ahead is one of the most famous stalls at the market. Opened in 2013, Bread Ahead seeks to bring quality baking to London’s masses. In 2014, the guys opened the Bread Ahead Bakery School, where the world-class Master Bakers offer their experience and expertise in the art of baking. Half-day courses include Croissant workshops, Gluten Free Christmas Baking workshops (!!!) and Great British Baking workshops.
Kappacasein – If cheese is what you are after, then Kappacasein is for you. Formerly a one-man operation, due to its popularity it has now expanded into a small Raclette factory (raclette is a Swiss cheese dish served with small waxy potatoes and pickles.) That is not all; they also serve classic cheese toasties, using three kinds of cheese, onions and sourdough bread. Both snacks are ready to eat on the spot!
Chegworth Valley – The Chegworth Valley stall is among the most attractive at Borough Market, selling a colorful and beautifully arranged array of organic farm products, fruit, vegetables, and salads, all from the family-run farm in Kent. Winners of the Slow Food London ‘Best Greengrocer’ award twice in a row, they have a range of award-winning fruit juices including different apple varieties, rhubarb, and beetroot.
Spice Mountain – is an independent company that specializes in spices, seasonings, and dried herbs. The depth and variety of their product range are huge, with spices available from Ethiopia, Japan, Thailand, Mexico, India and more. They offer a number of unique spice blends such as Moroccan Fish Tagine or Lebanese 7 Spice.
Monmouth Coffee Company – In between strolling around the vendors, grab a coffee from Monmouth Coffee Company, before continuing to stuff your face with more samples and more food.
When To Go
The market is open Monday to Saturday 10:00 – 17:00 (18:00 on Saturday). However, on Monday and Tuesday not all the traders are present. As London’s biggest market, the crowds can often be overwhelming. I suggest arriving after lunch-time on a weekday afternoon so that you have the time and the space to peruse the stalls, chat with the vendors and take lots of photos of your eats.
Address: Borough Market, 8 Southwark St, London, SE1 1TL
Price: You can easily spend £20.00 per person
How To Get There: The easiest way is to take the underground to London Bridge Station and follow the exit signs for Borough Market. Head up the stairs and you will see the entrance to the market right there.
Originally published on Sep 27th, 2016