We have markets at home. A lot of them, all different shapes and sizes. My good friend from work, for instance, refers to all grocery stores as “the market.” (Apparently this is a California thing). We have “farmers markets” that consist of one stall outside popular restaurant chains that are trying to underscore their commitment to the local, ‘happy’ movement. We have humungous, multi-location traveling farmers markets that attract people come from all over the tri-state area who distribute their local produce, meat and dairy to the immensely amenable DC residents. Small neighborhoods even have their own day, where local purveyors of restaurants and gift stores set up stalls and outdoor seating so that residents can get outside and meet their neighbors. Famous Eastern Market is probably as close as we get to a European “market.”
I’ve never seen anything like what London has to offer. A quick Google search of “London Market” pulls up a map with more dots than I can count, a whole list of markets Google suggests, and more than 9 sites dedicated to helping you–the excited marketer–determine which market you should visit today. Apparently, I have my work cut out for me.
I’ve only been to two so far, but they were about as opposite as you could imagine and as satisfying as any experience can be. I’ve included a lot of photos below for you to scroll through, but I’ll walk you through the entire experience of my first London Market.
According to Wikipedia, this famous Market “was first mentioned in 1276, although the market itself claims to have existed since 1014 ‘and probably much earlier.'” Borough Market is home to two types of markets: a wholesale market with enough fresh produce, meat, dairy, fine wines, exotic cheeses (and more) that you can stock up for a week. Heck, you could probably stock up for Christmas Dinner and Thanksgiving in one go. Secondly, it has a retail food market with enough stalls of prepared-on-the-spot lunch options that my entire extended family could show up, walk around the winding lanes a few times, debate for an hour, all make a decision and eat different foods, and still meet up in the center for some fresh mulled pear cider.
I went with Kansas and a few other kids from our dorm, after a 2+ hour walking tour of the few blocks that separate us from the Market. Located on the south side of London Bridge, the Market is a great destination after a leisurely stroll through many of the tourist attractions that line the Thames. I know you’re all here for the food, so I would be remiss to not tell you what we ate:
- Kansas: Omelet/Frittata fresh out of the oven, easily 3 inches thick with a few whole eggs still visible. Contained spinach, onions, peppers, joy.
- Our friend: The famous “egg burger” that brings so many to Borough (including my friend who calls grocery stores ‘markets’!!) Includes delicious roll, fresh ground beef, fried egg, optional Canadian bacon situation.
- Me: Elk burger (yes, elk burger). Topped with rocket (aka arugula for you less UK-food educated), fresh cranberry chutney, whole grain mustard and a few fried onions.
I nearly died. Kansas and I had some mulled apple cider and pear cider while we waited for her omelet to cook and watched as the juice bar ground out enough wheatgrass shots to strengthen an army through a few civil war winters. Something about wheatgrass shots feels more like a 90+ day in the sun, not a shady 50-ish day with overcast skies, but to each their own. After the market, we headed along the Thames and back over my favorite pedestrian bridge in the world, Millenium Bridge. Leading directly to the base of St. Paul’s Cathedral, we ended our adventure that day by enjoying a spontaneous concert on the Cathedral’s front stairs.