One of the most famous places to visit in London, especially if you love to eat, is Borough Market.
The market was established in 1885, and it’s one of the most renowned markets in London for artisan prepared food, and fresh organic produce.
Though it mainly attracts tourists visiting London these days, it’s definitely worth a visit, especially for food lovers.
Things are not cheap at Borough Market, but they are high quality, and there is a good assortment of delicious things to try.
After attending the Chowzter.com awards in London, we had a few extra days in London, and headed straight for the market.
We arrived at 10 am on a Friday, and it was still very quiet; only about half the vendors were open, and the others were setting up.
As soon as we entered the gates of the market, the first shop to greet us was Bread Ahead, a bakery and school that produces great quality baked goods.
It looked like most things were savory, but there were a few sweet items as well.
Though I wanted to sample just about everything, like the different varieties of focaccia, I settled for one of their famous cheese and olive sticks, which were stacked up like a game of jenga.
Price – 2 GBP ($3.37)
I rarely eat any kind of bread products, one because I didn’t grow up eating too much bread, and two because I live in Asia where bread is often not up to the quality (or quantity) as it is in Europe.
Being in London, it was a joy to eat really good baked products.
The olive and cheese stick was awesome, extremely crusty, and filled with bits of crunchy baked cheese and salty olives. Good way to start eating at Borough Market.
While waiting for more of the main food vendors to open, we headed outside to the extra section of the market (it’s the part outside the gates, looks sort of like the overflow section), and found a vendor selling Portuguese egg tarts.
It had been years, since the last time I was in Macau, when I had eaten an egg tart.
The Pastel de Nata was good, but it was cold, so I think it would have been much better had it been warm, which would have made it softer and more custardy.
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Price – 1.5 GBP ($2.53)
I’m personally not a big sweets fan, so after a mouthful of sweetness, I immediately needed something salty.
A few strides away, we stumbled into Boston Sausages, a stall selling sausages on a stick, among other things, like burgers. Similar to eating Thai sai krok (video), the sausage was served on a skewer stick and piping hot.
The sausage was quite fatty, but really tasty.
I lathered it up with English mustard, which really made the sausage burst with flavor. I loved that hit of horseradish from the English mustard, I think I could eat it on anything.
Price – 1.50 ($2.53)
Still waiting for the other main vendors to open up, we browsed through the fresh produce areas of the market.
The produce was beautiful, so beautiful that I wanted to just sit down and start munching away on the fruits and vegetables.
Everything looked amazing, but I think the most impressive items were the piles of heirloom tomatoes, which looked incredible.
I would have loved to sit right there and eat them all.
Also, being a mushroom lover, the selection of fresh mushrooms looked great too.
At Borough Market you’ll also find plenty of purveyors of fine English cheeses, which you can walk around and often get samples of, and many European styles of cured meats like chorizo, ham, or prosciutto.
There were also a number of seafood vendors, with a beautiful selection of crabs and lobsters, oysters, scallops, and fish.
Being a seafood lover, I would have loved to purchase everything, but buying seafood comes at a serious price in London.
A couple vendors in the market were selling fresh oysters to eat, and one vendor sold fried scallops with vegetables and bacon – something that really tempted me.
On the edge of Borough Market, though there was scaffolding blocking the sign as they were doing some renovation when I visited, is the very famous Monmouth Coffee shop, a place that’s famous for coffee.
Ying had a cafe au lait, and I decided to go for a macchiato.
The line was about 20 people deep, but since we got takeaway, it only took about 10 minutes to get our coffees.
I loved the macchiato, it was great quality, and woke me up nicely. Highly recommended if you love coffee.
Price – 2.5 GBP ($4.21) cafe au lait, 1.5 GBP ($2.52) macchiato
There were a lot of delicious things I would have loved to eat at the market, but if you eat everything, you could honestly run through a small bank account.
So I just had to choose a few small items to consume.
The next thing I decided to go for was the chorizo sandwich from Brindisa.
Brindisa is an entire small grocery store that sells all sorts of Spanish foods, and on the far left hand side, they serve up grilled chorizo sandwiches.
The chorizo was sliced in half, fried lightly, then filled into a toasted bun along with a fragrantly roasted red chili, and a handful of fresh rocket.
The chorizo itself was excellent, nice and salty, and bursting with flavor.
I think the sandwich could have been improved with some slices of red onion though, but then again, I have a bit of an addiction to strong tasting ingredients.
Price – 3.75 GBP ($6.32), you can order double chorizo for 4.50 GBP ($7.58), which in hindsight, I would have done, because there was way too much bread to chorizo)
Walking around, I didn’t know what to eat next…
I admired the rib of beef sandwich from Roast, the salt beef sandwich from Nana Fanny’s, the freshly made pastas, the game meat burgers and sandwiches, and some incredible looking burgers, but finally I settled on the famous duck confit sandwich from Le Marché du Quartier.
The duck was sizzling away on a hot plate in its own grease, and smelled beautiful.
The vendor took a ciabatta roll, lightly buttered it, added a few sprigs of rocket, and then filled it up with a good amount of the tender duck confit.
It was amazing, for sure one of the highlights of eating through Borough for myself.
The duck was fall apart tender, salty, and oozing with flavor and grease.
The duck itself didn’t have a strong ducky flavor actually, and to me it almost had a similar smoked pulled pork texture and flavor to it. Really good stuff.
I think I would have loved it even more with a generous hit of English mustard spread all over it.
Price – 5 GBP ($8.43)
Again, there were many delicious things eat at the market, and I didn’t get to taste nearly all of them. So next time I go back, I’m heading straight for the salt beef sandwich, and the rib of beef sandwich from Roast (available only on Fridays and Saturdays).
There are quite a few markets in London, like Broadway Market and Brockley Market, but one of the most well known and historically significant is Borough Market.
When you’re in London, spending a few hours eating through Borough Market is a great idea.
Here’s the eating video…
(If you can’t see it, check it out here: http://youtu.be/G9ZMEilRPBY)
Visit Borough Market
- Open for lunch on Monday – Tuesday from 11 am – 5 pm
- Full market is open on Wednesday – Thursday from 11 am – 5 pm, Friday from 10 am – 6 pm, and Saturday from 8 am – 5 pm (closed on Sunday)
Prices: You could easily spend 20 GBP per person
How to get to Borough Market: There are many ways to get to the market, but one of the easiest ways is to take the Underground to London Bridge Station, and follow the exit signs for Borough Market. Head up the stairs, and you’ll see the entrance to the market right there.