Here’s something that rarely, if ever, happens in life: you read a bunch of raves about a spot, get excited because it sounds awesome, and then finally visit for yourself, only to find out that it really is just as fantastic as everyone says it is.
No, far more likely is this scenario: you visit and find yourself disappointed. It’s nice, but it was over-hyped and could never live up to expectations. It’s fine, but it wasn’t quite as magical as you were expecting. It’s fun, but you figured your mind would be blown and, sadly, it was not.
Luckily for me, visiting Borough Market was one of those elusive occasions where a place turned out to be just as amazing as I had hoped it would be. I had read a million blog posts about the market and was dying to go, so it was the very first stop of my weekend in London. I arrived bright and early and set out to exploring. Pro tip: you should arrive early too, as the market started to get really busy around lunchtime but was relatively peaceful in the morning.
Right away, it became apparent that Borough Market overwhelmed me, but in the best way possible. That is, there was so much foodie goodness around every corner that I couldn’t decide where to begin. Immediately, I understood I would never be able to try everything I wanted to try in just one visit. Which, of course, will necessitate future return trips to London. Naturally.
I did a few laps around the market, scoping out the situation. There were vendors selling cuisine from all over Europe, from France to Croatia to Turkey to Portugal. There were tables upon tables heaped with fresh produce, stands piled high with breads and cheeses, bowls filled with olives and nuts. There were serious shoppers having conversations with sellers about the merits of truffles and not-so-serious shoppers simply happy to snap colorful photos on their cameras. There were vendors who hung back, waiting for customers to come to them, and there were vendors who tried aggressive sales pitches (my favorite was the man who kept shouting, “3 pounds a pound them cherries!” in his delightful British accent).
Ultimately, I spent several hours at the market. I ate some food for breakfast, then wandered over to the Shard to visit the observation deck, and then came back for a second round of food for lunch. I had intended to visit a different market at lunchtime, but the pull of Borough Market was too great, so I happily stayed put. I think it was the correct choice, as I found plenty of delicious food to sample, including:
Mulled wine, which conveniently comes in a coffee cup so you can pretend you are not day drinking:
A spinach and feta croissant, which makes an excellent breakfast:
Paella, which I purchased primarily because there is a stand with absolutely gigantic paella pans and it totally sucked me in. The paella was good but not great:
Turkish delight, which I only bought because it features prominently in one of my favorite childhood books (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, of course) (stupid Edmund!), and I’ve always been curious what it tasted like. It turns out that what it tastes like is not great, in my opinion. I bought three pieces, had a tiny bite of one, and threw the rest away; they were WAY too sweet and I found the sticky, squishy texture off-putting. Just not my jam:
(As it turns out, I’m not the only one with a similar reaction to this stuff)
The chorizo sandwich from Brindisa, which I had read about in one of the aforementioned million blog posts and knew I had to try. Honestly, it was so tasty I could have wept. Not really, but you know what I mean:
Gluten-free miniature cupcakes – one red velvet, one tiramisu. The tiramisu one was so delicious I almost wished I had gone for the full-sized version – but I knew I had to conserve stomach space:
And finally, sea salt caramel fudge. This was incredibly, incredibly rich yet phenomenal in small doses:
If it is not yet clear, I completely enjoyed my time at Borough Market and would recommend everyone stop there on a trip to London. I know that the next time I’m lucky enough to return to the city, I will be paying the market another visit – and eating another chorizo sandwich, of course.