London’s street food explosion

Take your taste buds on a whirlwind tour of the British capital’s most vibrant and mouth-watering markets, and maybe find some fresh business inspiration while you’re there.

As one of the world's most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities, London is bursting with top-quality street food
As one of the world’s most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities, London is bursting with top-quality street food. Credit: iStock

Leather Lane Market

Thanks to its enviable assortment of cafes and eateries, Leather Lane is already a must-visit for foodies, and the street’s thriving daily market makes it even more irresistible.

As is the case with many street markets, the line-up of food producers changes regularly. However, staples here include Mexican burritos, Turkish flatbreads, Thai curries, Jamaican jerk chicken, and many more.

A short walk from Chancery Lane or Farringdon stations, Leather Lane Market is open 10am to 2pm on weekdays – just beware of the lunchtime rush.

Mercato Metropolitano

Sometimes, ‘street food’ really doesn’t do a market justice.

Take Mercato Metropolitano – this south-of-the-river gem offers mouth-watering delicacies so classy many could sneak onto a restaurant menu. From artisan cheese, bread, and meats to bubbly champagne and sumptuous wines, the food here is consistently high quality without being high maintenance.

The fancy fare goes hand-in-hand with Mercato Metropolitano’s philosophy of keeping things small-scale, fresh, and local. Alongside its food stalls is an ever-changing program of music performances, film screenings, art exhibitions, classes, tastings, and entrepreneurial talks. In many ways, it’s a case study on how to create a holistic, community-focused business.

If you appreciate cut-above ingredients and a buzzy but refined atmosphere, this place comes highly recommended. Mercato Metropolitano is a short walk from Borough and Elephant and Castle stations and is open until late every day.

Borough Market

No list of London markets would be complete without the gorgeous, inimitable Borough Market.  

Below its cavernous and wrought-iron rafters, trade has carried out here since at least 1014 – which might explain the old-fashioned atmosphere that takes hold as you wander through its wonderful labyrinth of stalls.

As both a retail and wholesale market, the focus here is very much on super-fresh produce. Take your senses on an enticing journey past the dazzling colors of the fruit and veg stalls, crackling meat on grills, and the oily scent of olives wafting from deli counters. The market’s globe-trotting selection of cheese is another specialty.

From the sublime to the unusual, if you want it, Borough Market probably has it. This mentality also extends to its delectable street food stands, where everything from vegan burgers to authentic Ethiopian dishes to goat’s milk ice cream can be enjoyed. If it’s not too busy, the traders often love a good chat too.


With its line-up of tasty, trendy food and drink options, Shoreditch’s Dinerama might be the perfect antidote to a long working day. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 5pm, this popular night market offers a small but carefully curated roster of street grub with flair to spare. Wood-fired pizzas, Taiwanese steamed buns, and delicious sliders, tacos, and kebabs are all up for grabs and can be washed down with wine, craft beer, or even a cocktail on Dinerama’s rooftop bar.

As you’d expect, the vibe is very East London – dogfriendly, tailor-made for your Instagram, and complete with DJs. Altogether, it’s a great example of how an ancient concept can be rebranded to appeal to a new urban audience. Perfect to explore and enjoy with a small group.

Camden Market

While it’s best known for its alternative clothing, the sprawling Camden Market also offers an excellent range of street food in one of the friendliest parts of London.

The best bites can be found up by Camden Lock, where you can choose from a smorgasbord of street food flavors from all over the world. Vegan wraps, meaty burgers, sweet treats; the more you explore, the more you’ll find. Once you’ve found the meal for you, grab a spot by the canal and watch the world go by.

If you’re on the hunt for a market with a wide variety of items – including arts and crafts, fun clothing and fabulous food – Camden might tick all your boxes.

Flat Iron Square

Nestled among the crumbling brickwork and railway arches of Bankside, Flat Iron Square is a new foodie hotspot with a premier selection of street food vendors.

The market, which opened in 2016, is small-scale enough to feel like a local secret but the nice mix of indoor and outdoor spaces combine to make it feel bigger than the sum of its parts. If you enjoy seeing old spaces injected with a fresh, new entrepreneurial spirit you’ll find a lot to love here, and plenty of inspiration. The market runs a calendar of cultural events including live music. Check its website to see what’s on.  

From gourmet fried chicken to luxurious pancakes, Flat Iron Square is one to tell your friends about, with its many renowned and exciting vendors. Just a short ride from Borough Market, it could make a perfect addition to your street food tour.

Greenwich Market

Historic Greenwich already has loads to offer visitors, and flavor fiends will certainly regret it if they miss out on Greenwich’s beautiful covered market. Boasting a sublime selection of traders, this market is passionate about showcasing some of the best artisanal and craft products London has to offer, and food is no exception.

On the souvenir side, you’ll find bottles of scorching hot sauce, luxurious handmade chocolates, flavor-packed jars of chutneys, and light, bright macarons waiting for your attention. We challenge you to resist the hearty street food on offer –  Punjabi-style Indian, vegetarian Ethiopian, Cuban sandwiches, vegan pizza, and even locally sourced oysters are just a handful of the appetizing meals you can enjoy.

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