London’s best alternative markets for amazing street eats

August 11, 2016
Julia D'Orazio

London’s love affair with street food is one to savour. From the long-standing tourist favourite Borough Markets to the quirky world-on-a-platter Camden Lock Markets, the options for snacking are enormous. There are plenty of delights waiting to be devoured at the street food markets in London, and, even better, they’re all for mostly under 10 quid!

Broadway Markets

Nestled between the picturesque Regent’s Canal and the fairy tale of London Fields is Broadway Market. Come Saturday, this popular restaurant and bar strip bearing the same name is closed off for buskers strumming their stuff, vintage clothes on show, local goods proudly on display, and lip-smacking street eats from all corners of the globe.

With its popularity booming, the market has sprawled into a nearby schoolyard around the corner. From German hot dogs to duck confit burgers, and plenty of vegetable dips and wraps in between, this place pulls off a harmonious vibe that really does capture the heart of this colourful and lively Hackney borough.

Broadway Market E8 4QJ. Open every Saturday 9am–5pm.

Maltby Markets

Crowd at the Maltby Market in London

It may be new, but it’s loaded with great foodie finds

Fitting in like a perfect jigsaw piece stationed under the railway arches of Bermondsey is the small but bustling Maltby Markets. A relative newcomer to the scene, this offbeat South East London market is full of gastronomic pleasures from wine tastings and speciality gins to freshly baked goods, fried chicken and waffles, and (a British staple) Scotch Eggs with a twist. Combining the best of both worlds, my personal guilty pleasure is the bacon and chocolate brownies — but be warned, while they taste great at the time, a sugar coma is pretty much guaranteed! Located a tube stop away from London Bridge, this is the place to go if you are seeking street food flair without the tourist fanfare.

Maltby Street Market Ropewalk, London SE1 3PA. Open: Saturday 9–4am and Sunday 11am–4pm.

Brick Lane Food Market

Tico's stand at the London Brick Lane Markets

So many flavours… what to choose?!

London’s famous spice strip bursts with new flavours and smells on the weekend, with stretches of Brick Lane closed off to make way for hawker eats at both Boiler House Food Hall and Backyard Market (part of the larger Truman Markets). The vibe of these markets goes unmatched along Shoreditch’s most notable strip. Mixed in with the lanes’ legendary Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine offerings are the usual street food suspects (falafel wraps, kebabs, burgers). If you’re particularly famished, grab a jampacked takeaway box of hearty Ethiopian or Chinese cuisine. This is the place where you truly do get more bang for your buck!

Brick Lane, The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane E1 6QL. Open: 11am–6pm Saturday and Sunday 10am–5pm.

Sunday UpMarket

desserts on display at the market

Free tastings? Yes, please!

Among the sea of street food markets located on and around Brick Lane is the trendy Sunday UpMarket in the iconic Old Truman Brewery. The hiving markets presents not only a varied crowd but an eclectic mix of stalls including vintage and locally designed goods, and gourmet eats from tapas to dim sum to artisan food stalls. This popular market is ever so generous in offering free tasters, with vendors vying for you to let them put their heavenly prepared cuisines onto your fork. If all the laps of food hunting around the market tires you out, head to the outdoor area to kick back on one of the lounge areas supplied by a few vendor operators, or on a stoop located opposite outside.

Brick Lane, The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane E1 6QL. Open: Every Sunday 10am–5pm.

Pop Brixton

Having celebrated its milestone 1st birthday recently, Pop Brixton is getting bigger, better, tastier, and more vibrant every day. Housed in bright and colourful shipping containers, the stalls serve up a variety of international street eats, from Japanese bites (gzoyas for the soul) to Ghanaian flair (okra fries, anyone?). You’ll find the flavours in a mix of pop-up vendors and proper hole-in-the-wall container-sized seated restaurants.

These street eats are fused between bars and lifestyle stores in the two-storey box maze, making it the perfect place to unwind come the weekend. It isn’t all about the taste buds here either, with multiple community well-being classes, creative workshops, and multiple live gigs staged weekly.

Pop Brixton 49 Brixton Station Road SW9 8PQ. Open: Everyday from 9–11pm with Thursday to Saturday open until midnight.

Primrose Hill Markets

People shopping at Primrose Hill market

Award-winning farmers have their goods for sale here

There are two things to savour here: the food and the views. At the bottom of Primrose Hill sits the Primrose Hill Markets, featuring award-winning farmers and producers showcasing the best of London’s food scene.

With freshly caught fish, baked breads, and local produce traders mixed in with innovative street food vendors whipping up the likes of shrimp and bacon burgers, ice cream sandwiches, and gourmet toasties, it really is a market that serves London’s finest eats. Throw in the grand view of Regent’s Park and you couldn’t ask for a better market setting. Great for celebrity-spotting, too!

Primrose Hill on the grounds of St Paul’s School, NW3 3DS. Open: Every Saturday 10am–3pm.