Gourmet street food in London
Red Market hosts some of London’s best guerilla grillers and roaming food stalls. (Malika Dalamal)
Not long ago, street food in London was fairly greasy fare. But thanks to a trend that had roots in Los Angeles and New York, gourmet food trucks have found a welcome home in London attracting chefs, critics and serious foodies to festivals, markets and events around the city.
East London’s Red Market is one of the most exciting of these events. Recently reopened for the summer period, the pop-up market is located in a 20,000sqft disused car park on Old Street and hosts some of London’s best guerilla grillers and roaming food stalls.
Expect a culinary tour around the world. From New York-style sliders to artisan pasta, Malaysian gyoza (dumplings) and Indian bhel pur (a traditional roadside savoury snack made from puffed rice, potato, onion and spices) the standards are high and the ingredients are fresh. Creative dishes like the Mexican-Indian burritos at Chula Fused Foods or takoyaki, Japanese deep fried octopus dumplings at Yumi Takoyaki Co, are made by friendly vendors always happy to chat while they cook.
Before you attempt to eat and run, the fully licensed market (with extended opening hours from noon until11 pm every day this summer in honour of the Olympics and Paralympics) features a cocktail bar, urban beach (a sandpit for adults), hammocks, ping-pong tables and a live DJ. The outdoor space is also an unofficial graffiti exhibition with two works by British street artist Banksy and local artists working on walls around the market.
And if you’re worried about missing out on the Olympic action, three large TV screens are a new addition, so sports fans can watch while they eat and drink.
Red Market is scheduled to close on 2nd September when the site will be turned into a luxury hotel There is a possibility organisers will be able to keep the market open on winter weekends until building work starts, but this hasn’t been confirmed yet by the new developers. Either way, Red Market will pop back up next summer in a new location. Keep an eye on the Red Market website and follow @RedMarketLondon on Twitter for updates.
Malika Dalamal is the London Localite for BBC Travel