Borough Market, London

October 1, 2011

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I’m a sucker for food markets when travelling. That’s probably the first thing I look up when planning a trip. Ever since I heard of the glorious food at Borough Market, and the lengths that the committee goes through to make sure only the best producers get a spot near the Thames in South East London, I couldn’t wait to experience this fresh food market at its peak in summer. ‘Excited’ isn’t a strong enough word to express how I felt when I walked into the market.

Producers from all over the country bring in a wide variety of fresh produce to the market, and there are food stalls cakes and patisseries, too. It’s a riot of colours at the market. Vendors hand out free samples, locals and tourists queue up for juicy burgers with enormous jar of pickles and condiments. You can witness ingredients that cover the spectrum from wonderful to weird. I spotted a cheese called Stinking Bishop (oh! it even has a Wikipedia page). Meandering through the lanes of the market and nibbling on Turkish delights along the way is just what one should do on a Saturday morning.

We ate hot dogs, burgers, and lots of pies (loved steak and Stilton) from Pie Minister (so easy to get drawn to a stall with a name like that). I also got pretty obsessed with flavoured waters. I tried Elderflower water for the first time, and loved the mellow, floral flavour of it (this looks like a great recipe if you’re up for making yourself some). The other thing that was new to me was the flavoured water. An excellent excuse not to drink regular water (my favourite was the blueberry and pomergranate sparkling water that I’d buy from the food shops at the train stations.) And for dessert we ate banoffee pie and goat milk ice cream.

The market’s a bit overpriced. So just go there with your camera and snack about at the various food stalls over a couple of hours. And if you’re really interested in discounted prices, go after 4 pm. Also, on Thursday afternoons, they usually have cooking demos that might be fun to catch.

I’m a huge fan of community magazines, and Borough market releases one each season. It’s thoughtfully put together showcasing what’s new in the market, telling stories of the people behind the food, customer favourites, and recipes all of which come together with candid photos and exquisite paper. I’ve especially instructed my cousin to pick one up for me for when I won’t be in London. With another trip next month, I’ll be only to happy to add the autumn 2011 edition to my tiny, but growing collection.

Because we were leaving for The Lake District soon after, I couldn’t buy too much produce to cook with. But I did buy a big block of unpasteurised fleur de sel butter and a dense loaf of walnut sourdough. Toasted bread and a smear of this butter – heaven.

But did it beat La Boqueria? Not quite.

Borough Market
Borough High Street, Borough, London SE1 9DE.


  • Reply Anita Menon October 1, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    WOW, such a refresher for me. I visited Borough Mkt in May this year. Had my fill of all the delicious food. It is such a lively market and so much to shop. I went crazy shopping for all sorts of knick knacks.

    Lake district is breathtakingly beautiful but might be quite cold now as it is oct now.

    Have a fun trip

  • Reply Debjani October 1, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    A Saturday spent at Borough market eating venison burgers in front of the cathedral and spending a week’s salary on a small jar of mushroom pate is one of mine and Ria’s favourite sister-bonding-time activities. Thanks for reminding me of it! I’m going to see her in Kolkata in December, can’t wait!

  • Reply Shéa MacLeod October 1, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    I do love the Borough Market, but you’re right. It’s really overpriced. Still, it’s a great place for people watching and trying interesting and unusual foods like wild boar sausage. I especially love Apple Day (October Plenty) in October.

  • Reply Simran October 1, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    Borough Market’s my absolutely favorite way to spend a saturday morning. It’s crowded, its touristy but then it’s so much fun :)

  • Reply Mike@The Culinary Lens October 2, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    I have to add this to my list for when I eventually get back to Lonon

  • Reply Sailesh Ghelani October 2, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    I love the flavoured water too! Will visit this market next time. Did Camden Market this time around. Happy eating!

  • Reply Pam October 3, 2011 at 3:24 AM

    Stunning slide show. Especially liked the portabellos (7) and patés (17), I haven’t seen boar since I was in the Ardennes.

    I love your farmer’s market enthusiasm.

  • Reply thelittleloaf October 3, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    I adore Borough Market…it’s so fun to wander round and taste new things, and I find it provides so much inspiration for my cooking. Agree, nothing quite compares to La Boqueria in Barcelona though…that place is incredible :-)

  • Reply Tori (@eat-tori) October 3, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    My local! Wandering around Borough is one of my favourite things in London (and indeed, one of the things that inspired us to move from Sydney to London). Thursday afternoons are my favourite. There’s a shorter queue at Monmouth coffee but still enough buzz around the stalls. From there to a cheeky glass of rose and some tomato bread at Brindisa. Happy times…

  • Reply meru October 3, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    Amazing..!! So many new and colorful things to discover.. loved every bit of it.. Really tooOOo awesome PICS…:) U are so lucky to ave visited this place… :)

  • Reply zareen October 4, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    hey shaheen…. thanks alot for posting soo much on ur blog.. love reading it .. specially about london. im joining LCB from jan. really excited about it.

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  • Reply Anonymous December 19, 2011 at 5:28 AM

    I love this post and all of the pictures! I just came across your blog from a google search for ginger/chocolate chip banana bread (it’s in the oven right now!). I lived a few blocks down from Borough Market for three months in 2009 and it’s one of my favorite places. It was the first place where I’d ever had truly local and fresh fruits and vegetables and the difference was literally life-changing. (I know, I sound like an infomercial.) It’s what made me want to learn to cook, which is now one of my favorite hobbies.

    The center parts of the market are pretty pricey (although so many places give delicious samples) but there are always cheaper produce sellers around the outskirts. There was a guy who sold different things each week for a pound a bowl right across from Monmouth Coffee Roasters.

    I haven’t been back to the UK since that spring, and I miss it so much!

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