Oh food how I love thee, let me count the ways… well, I won’t count them all, but trust me, there are many! I’ve tried a food tour in Prague, a cooking class in Mexico City, a combination of both in Bogota, and even when I’m in my home country of England I love trying local specialities and finding the best places to chow down on different dishes and familiar favourites. When I was in my own capital city of London with Wombat’s City Hostels I was intrigued to see how British food would be portrayed so I joined a Secret Food Tour in London, to taste the best of British food in the city.
Our Secret Food Tour in London
I joined the tour with fellow #WombatsTraveller Helene, and an American father & daughter. With my three companions being from the USA, and our tour guide originally from France, I felt like I had to be a proud advocate of British food, but our tour guide Ella was as passionate about British food as she was about French cuisine, so I needn’t have worried.
Our meeting point was close to the Shard, that huge pointy landmark that you can’t miss in London. It was walking distance from our hostel (the awesome Wombat’s London) but as we had just finished a walking tour, we jumped in a black cab to arrive there just in time.
Borough Market Food Tour
Our first stop was Borough Market, a must for any foodie in London, and a popular place to grab a bite for lunch for locals too. I later learned from a friend of mine who lives in London that after the terrorist attack in London in 2017, people were afraid to return to Borough Market, but after this tragedy Borough Market has gradually returned to form, with stalls selling amazing produce like cheese, bread, fudge, cured meats, and plenty of hot food stalls to grab a bite to eat. The stalls sell all kinds of international foods which are now a part of British food culture from Indian to Ethiopian and Thai, and of course, British food too.
Ella told us that 50% of all the cooked food sold in the market must be made from ingredients bought in the market, which is a wonderful way of supporting the local economy, keeping the food local, and creating a food community in the market. But the stall owners aren’t the only ones who buy their produce here – chefs from all over London come to Borough Market to buy for their restaurants, including Jamie Oliver.
We started with the typical English breakfast, in sandwich form. A bacon & egg butty (or bread roll for those unfamiliar with the lingo). Crispy bacon and a gooey fried egg in a brioche style bread roll was a great way to start the day. After polishing off our breakfast bun, we walked through the market to the best fish & chip shop in London. We agreed to meet back here in 15 minutes, while Ella ordered our freshly cooked fish & chips, so we had time to explore the market and sample as much as we could!
I loved wandering around the market, it was a good way to use the time while waiting for our fish, and we got to try more nibbles of food on offer, and I bought some fudge to eat later too.
When we met back at the chippy we collected our fish & chips and found a seat inside to sit while we ate. The fish was delicious, moist and perfectly cooked, with a crispy batter to die for. I’d sprinkled on salt & vinegar of course, as you HAVE to have salt & vinegar on your fish & chips! The chips were tasty too, although personally, I prefer soggy chips, but these weren’t bad. Everyone agreed that the fish was lovely – so to all the haters out there, don’t diss the fish & chips!
We stayed in the market for our next tasting too, trying possibly the best sausage roll I have ever had. Now I have had a lot of sausage rolls in my life, but a fair few of them have come from Greggs. For those of you who have never been to the UK or had a Greggs’ sausage roll, they are delicious but very greasy, and the amount of actual meat in them is probably negligible. But this sausage roll from the Market was packed full of pork, delicately flavoured with herbs and spices and enveloped in a flaky pastry. Seriously, you need this sausage roll in your life. Sorry vegetarians, I forgot to mention that you can request a vegetarian alternative tour so don’t fret!
Leaving Borough Market for more of East London
From here we left the market, Ella pointing out a couple of cool spots along the way – like Bridget Jones’ flat from the film, and a filming location for Lock Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels, as well as a kick-ass oyster bar we could come back and try and some cool street art.
We headed towards the Thames, stopping off at a historical point to try some honey mead. Supping this medieval beverage in the middle of London was pretty cool, I was glad to see Ella was pulling out all the stops to show that British cuisine has something to please everyone! Our next stop was a dark little pub where we tried some beautiful British cheeses. I adore cheese, and this was also served with cider and beer, which made it even better!
We went back into the sunshine to walk through to a spot on the South Bank where we had fabulous views of the iconic Tower Bridge. Here Ella surprised us with a treat she’s bought in the market earlier, a scrumptious custard filled doughnut. NOM! Have you ever tried to eat a sugar-covered doughnut without licking your lips? Try a custard-filled, sugar-covered doughnut. It is actually impossible. But fun to try!
We strolled along the river to our final stop. Well, I say strolled, at this point, I was starting to waddle. And then we were presented with my Achilles heel. Sticky. Toffee. Pudding. Served with clotted cream and a caramel toffee sauce, and a cup of English tea. I skipped the tea, as I’m an English person who bizarrely doesn’t drink tea. That said, I don’t think anything else would have fit in my stomach, not even a cup of tea. Luckily we ended the tour just across the river from our hostel, so it was a short waddle back to the hostel for a much-needed post food nap!
I was impressed at the tour. Even though none of the dishes we tried were new to me, I loved the variety of food and drink we tried, and the quality and taste of everything were fabulous. Although British food often gets a bad press, I am so glad there are tours like this to show visitors to London that British food really is the bomb! I love British food and have no hesitation in recommending this food tour for you to try the best of British food on this Secret Food Tour in London. You can book your tour here or check out these other options for food tours in London:
If you are looking for more things to do in London check out my post on How to Fall in Love with London in 2 Days.
Where to Stay in London
I stayed at the awesome Wombat’s London, close to Tower Bridge – a perfect location for exploring all areas of London. Wombat’s London is full of history with the building being a hostel since it was built in 1865, housing sailors from the Merchant Navy. Now it is a haven for travellers and there is a fun, sociable vibe here, with a Wombar on site where you can have a drink and get to know fellow travellers, or just chill out in a hammock on the terrace. There are dorms and private rooms available.
What do you think about British Food? Would you take a food tour in London to see what British food is really like? I would love to read your comments below!
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This post was brought to you as a result of the #wombatsTraveller blog trip, created and managed by iambassador in partnership with wombat’s CITY HOSTELS. However, as always, all opinions are my own and I maintain full editorial control of the content published here on Tales of a Backpacker.
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