London is one big melting pot because it is a city that prides itself on its multicultural society. Undoubtedly one of the advantages of having such a diverse and unique cultural landscape is the food. Every corner of every street there is always something for everyone whether it’s Chinese, Indian, Mexican or Caribbean. The fantastic options that are open to us from this multicultural hub is that not only has it produced some of the best food around over the years but it also brings that community spirit that no other city has (in my opinion).
Portobello Market is a perfect example. Historically famous for its antique shops, vintage fashion boutiques and bootleg record stalls, it is now boasting some great food cooked up by locals that have brought over some of their culture and inspiration from all parts of the globe. There’s quaint Italian cafes hidden away inside traders bazaars, big fat American style donuts being sold on the streets and Thai restaurants nestled away just metres away from the main strip. Like most places in London, there’s so much to choose from and that’s what makes this City so bloody good for food.
On one end of the market-towards Ladbroke Grove-there are a number of street food stalls bunched up together serving a variety of vibrant and delicious food.
A particular welcome surprise is the charming ladies of Arepa e Quinoa. Now I am not one for eating healthier options, even though I should, but these girls make banging cornbread pancakes stuffed with tasty goodness including chicken, turtle beans, quinoa, avocado, red onion, plantain, kale, spinach and topped with guacamole. Oh on a side note I snuck in some cheese as well. Its fulfilling, warm and crammed with so many different tastes and textures. In the midst of January where everyone is eating a bit more healthier, these delicious Colombian inspired pancakes will certainly hit the spot and good news for those who do not eat meat or are trying to cut down on the stuff, Vegetarian and Vegan options are also available.
Sorry to say that’s an end to the healthy part of the blog as I’ve got to give a massive shout out to the Bratwurst Brats gang who cook traditional German sausages. Their spiced, smokey sausages are placed in a hot dog bun and loaded with a variety of toppings including slow cooked chilli beef but for me it’s all about having loads of grated cheddar, crispy onions, streaky bacon and a good drizzling of hot sauce. It’s messy stuff but damn it tastes so bloody good. Yes, not for the faint hearted but you know that old cliché saying, you only live once.
If street food isn’t on your agenda I recommend Boom Burger, Jamaican inspired burgers, chicken and fish bringing sunshine, spice and big, big flavours to Portobello Road. Right next door to Boom Burger is Makan, a brilliant Malaysian Café. I’ve sampled their food in the past and it may not look like much on the inside but the food makes up for it 100% and you never know you might bump into Damon Albarn. Makan is cheap, made from the heart and the closest thing to home for me.
Whatever you fancy, Portobello Road has it all. It’s easy to get drawn in by it and you can literally spend hours upon hours there and why wouldn’t you. The sight of seeing a Starbucks and a Subway there might be a bit of an eyesore but it hasn’t lost it’s charm and if the locals are producing good food on a regular basis, there’s no reason why it should lose it at all. There’s still so much more waiting to be discovered. Get out there and get stuck in peeps.