London overwhelms me. It’s so big and everyone is always so busy, rushing with purpose from one place to another. The underground is a particularly dreaded place as I inevitably have a massive suitcase to heave up the mountains of steps whilst people shuffle impatiently behind me, like cars waiting to overtake a huge tractor!
I think the thing I struggle with most is, as a once or twice a year visitor to London, I have done all the touristy things… And don’t know what to do now!
However, yesterday, as my husband and I strolled around the Thames riverbank enjoying the beautiful (if not somewhat surprising) weather, we stumbled across a Real Food street market. I have seen street markets like this before on TV foodie programmes, such as Lorraine Pascale and have always enjoyed watching the buzz and energy of them, but had never experienced one myself.
Well, it was amazing. The smells, the atmosphere, the freebies! It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon! Everyone was relaxed and happy, wandering around trying to decide what they should eat and I have to admit… It was a really tough decision to make!
There was food to suit everyone’s tastes from a huge range of countries and nationalities. Of course, we found the Arabic section and gazed adoringly at all the traditional sweets and pastries! Even our beloved sharwarma had been given a makeover, using free range chicken and marinated patiently in a variety of spices!
In the end I opted for Moroccan spiced chicken on a flatbread with lettuce and a yoghurt dressing. The chicken was spicy and flavoursome, with the yoghurt providing a cooling finish. Mark went for something from the ‘Frenchie‘ stall; a confit duck leg topped with truffle honey and goats cheese in a brioche bun. It was delicious. However, I clearly need more practise at eating street food as by the end of the morning I had an array of sauce marks and drips down my dress!
As we left and walked past a variety of standard chain restaurants, I felt like shouting out to the people in them and asking them to go and support the market and all the stall holders. Not only to help ensure that markets like this are able to be maintained but also to get a delicious meal, freshly made in front of you with quality produce.
The organisers of this market have an excellent website, www.realfoodfestival.co.uk which is well worth a visit. It provides a wealth of information about what they do and also gives more of an insight into the food producers and their products. It is definitely my new favourite spot in London!