For someone like me, who’s obsessed with food and drink, there’s nothing as exciting as a food market. And in London, there’s nowhere better than Borough Market.
When we’re travelling, Dave and I love to venture out to the nearest food market because what the vendors are selling can say a lot about the country and its traditions. In Portugal, you can find many pigs’ hooves – the locals are quite a fan of all things pork. In Morocco, you can choose a live lamb and they will slaughter it on the spot, facing Mecca so that it is Halal meat.
In France, there are many cloves of garlic to be found, and as if to smother the smell, an abundance of flowers.
But in London, the emphasis seems to be on the cheese, wine and anything gourmet. This is evident at Borough Market, where you can taste endless amounts of olives, fois gras and freshly brewed Chai tea. Although perhaps not all together…
There’s something for all tastes. If you’re a health nut, there are many freshly squeezed juices. If coffee is your thing, one of the best coffee joints in London, Monmouth Coffee, corners the market. And if you’re after good old British grub, I’ve tasted one of the best pork pies I’ve ever eaten at Borough Market.
If you’re hosting a dinner party, Borough Market the perfect place to come to purchase your food because the produce is guaranteed to be fresh and of the highest quality. But if you have a weak stomach, beware – some sights at the Borough Market can be a bit much.
The fish are very fresh. So fresh the lobsters are still swimming in the tanks and you can pick what you fancy. I wish I could say the same for the rabbits. Unfortunately these are certainly dead, suspended by their feet, blood pooling out of their heads and dripping from their bunny ears. These bunnies are certainly freshly slaughtered, and probably not the best view for a vegetarian.
But I’m no vegetarian and so I went hunting for meat. I found my fix at the Exotic Meat Company. You can taste most animals you’re probably more used to seeing at a zoo or an African safari, rather than in a counter fridge. There’s ostrich, water buffalo, springbok, kudu, bison, zebra, impala and crocodile.
But I settled on something a little more close to home – a kangaroo burger. I’ve heard that kangaroo is a lean meat and although I’m an Aussie, it’s not something I’m used to eating much of back home. Although it was the dish of choice for my dog.
Geez, my dog Oscar had a good life! I used to walk him through the bush near my house and he loved to chase the kangaroos. Unfortunately, one day a kangaroo fell and broke its leg. When the bone popped out of its skin, Oscar went crazy for the taste of blood. My placid Labrador had morphed into a wild beast, trying to gnaw at the poor kangaroo.
I managed to pull Oscar away, yelling for help. Two residents from a nearby home found us and promised to call the RSPCA.
But even though this is still a nightmare in my mind, it hasn’t putting me off eating a kangaroo burger. And at Borough Market, the kangaroo burger was delicious.
What you need to know:
Cost: Borough Market is a great place to visit if you’re on a budget because it’s free to explore. Although be careful not to get too wrapped up in the experience because you might end up spending a lot of money on cheese and other gourmet delights like we did.
When to go: The market is undercover, protecting it from the unpredictable British weather, meaning you can visit come rain or shine. Borough Market is open for lunch 10am-3pm Monday-Wednesday and the full market is open longer hours on Thursday-Saturday. The market is closed on Sundays.
How to get there: Borough Market is in South East London and the closest tube and train station is London Bridge. If you want to make a day of it, why not tie in your visit with a trip to The Globe Theatre? Borough Market is right next door to this little slice of Shakespearean history.