Borough Market is London's oldest food market, dating back over 1000 years. You can feel the history and heritage as you meander around the food stalls, but that doesn't take away from the bustling and dynamic energy of this ever-evolving market. I've not been anywhere else in the world that brings together so many regional cuisines and cultures from around the globe. It's something I highly recommend to anyone visiting London, and if you're a local like me, this is a treasure you should take advantage of as often as you can.
A Vegan Guide to Borough Market
Coming to Borough Market as a vegan may seem a little daunting at first glance - there are a lot of stalls selling meats, fish, cheese, and meaty street food. But spend a little time exploring and you'll soon realise that there's more vegan food available than you could possibly sample even if you came every day for a week. And if, like me, you worry that you might panic buy from the first vegan stall you see - and then get food envy as you discover all the other cuisines you could've gone for - then you should find this vegan guide to the food stalls at Borough Market pretty useful.
One of the first vegan stalls you may see, partly because the queue usually snakes well around the corner, is The Big V. Selling incredible 100% vegan seitan mushroom burgers (with optional vegan cheese and fake bacon, aka 'facon'). These vegan burgers are famous and it's understandable why people line up to get their hands on one for lunch - the burger patties look and taste incredibly 'meaty' and topped with slow roasted tomato relish, house burger sauce, pickles and red onion, they really are the perfect burger experience. They also sell vegan hotdogs (classic garlic sausage or chimichurri) and 'v-bowls' so there's something for everyone.
Koshari Street, as the name implies, sells koshari - a delicious vegan staple in Egypt that consists of a pot of rice, pasta, lentils and chickpeas topped with zesty tomato sauce, caramelised onions and doqqa... a crumbly spicy mix. Sold on roadside stalls and restaurants throughout Egypt, this national dish is one you have to try! Everything Koshari Street sells at Borough Market is vegan or vegetarian, with other options including delicious Egyptian salads and falafels. The staff are super-friendly and very happy to answer any questions you have about their ingredients.
For something to really warm your soul there's Gujarati Rasoi - a vegetarian Indian street food stall where most of their dishes are in fact vegan. Their food is best described as Indian with a twist, and you can tell how much love and attention they put into their dishes. My favourites here are their chaat (a delicious black chickpea dish), the warming-dhal made with split mung beans, and their koftas served in a rich, spicy tomato sauce.
There's also amazing middle-eastern meze served at Arabica - they have a restaurant in the market but outside they serve mouth-watering fresh meze dishes. The best lunches from here consist of a couple of dips (like their hummus and babaganoush), a couple of salads (roasted artichoke salad, tabbouleh, butterbeans in tomato sauce are favourites) and a couple of 'finger foods' (like stuffed vine leaves and Beiruti falafels).
For something to satisfy your sweet tooth, why not try Sweet Roots for a vegan liquorice treat - they have a vast array of delectable liquorice sweets with the ingredients clearly displayed so you can opt for the vegan ones. You can even buy a stick of raw liquorice root to chew on! Or you could try an award winning baked treat from the Free From Bakehouse - not all their products are dairy and egg free, but they're selling an increasing number of vegan goodies so you'll find some rich and decadent vegan cakes, cookies, and brownies.
To wash everything down? There are a few places serving up freshly-made vibrant juices and smoothies, and there's even a free fresh water fountain designed for topping up your water bottle to help keep you hydrated.
Don't forget, you can continue stuffing your face when you get home by picking up some treats to take away with you. Loads of fresh fruit and vegetables, bakeries making fresh, warm, rustic loaves of bread in all shapes and sizes, artisan nut butters, amazing Greek olives, spices and oils, to name just a few of the products on offer.
It's incredible to see so many new vegan options are appearing all the time - as with most places in the world, the demand for vegan food is fast-growing and it's clear that it's a movement that's here to stay and will continue to grow exponentially as more and more people realise that it's one of the healthiest and most compassionate ways to live.
You might also be impressed with the amazing vegan food available at Broadway Vegan Market. Or planning a trip to beautiful Bath? Check out my guide to the vegan and vegetarian restaurants, cafes and shops in Bath.