I am going to tell you a shaggy dog story. Have you heard this expression? It’s an English idiom meaning “a long story that is intended to be amusing and that has an intentionally silly or meaningless ending.” Well, this is ( probably… hopefully? ) not one of those. This is literally an actual story about a shaggy dog, But this is mostly about delicious adventures you have in Greenwich street food market.
It was Woofer’s time to get his hair cut, He was starting to resemble a sheep impersonator. Time to take a trip to the doggy groomer. As with
all most trips, my mind turned to food, As a confirmed and card-carrying foodie, my thoughts are never far from food,
Woofer’s groomers are in Greenwich centre, This historic site is famous for many things such as The Cutty Sark, The Maritime Museum, The Old Navel college, The Planetarium, The Royal Observatory, and the eponymous park. Greenwich is one of my favourite places. There is so much to do!
Wonderful and worthwhile as those attractions are, my mind was on food, Dropping Woofer off for the snip snips meant lunch at Greenwich market: home to arts and crafts and a whole lot of street food! I would have at least 2 hours for some quality time spent putting delicious things into my face hole,
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Greenwich Market History
“What is this “Greenwich village” in New York? A fake! Impostor! Stop copying us!”– Travels Belly
A little bit about the market and its history.
There has been a market in Greenwich since 1737! The original market was at a slightly different place near the water’s edge. However, the area was dangerous and dilapidated, no doubt full of nerdowells and ruffins! My imagination runs wild picturing that early market.
In an effort to clean up the dodgy riverside area and give the market a better home it was moved to its current location and by 1831 was full of traders. The market, owned by The Royal Naval College, spent large sums of money to build and move Greenwich Market to its present location. In recognition of this fact, Parliament passed an act that expanded on the original charter. I just love the wording!!!
How great is that!?
I think we should word our laws this way nowadays, It’s not only beautiful but would give anything gravitas. Maybe people would actually wear a flipping mask… But I digress.
The post World War 2 years saw a decline in the fortunes of the market until the 1980s saw it revitalised with an arts and crafts market. This is a great part of the market, actually, and probably worth a blog post in its own right. The arts and crafts section of Greenwich Market is packed full of wonderful independent traders selling all sorts of unexpected or unusual treasures and artworks.
The food part of the market has been a feature for many years but has grown along with the boom in street food. Once, not long ago, street food wasn’t really a thing in the UK, apart from the occasional burger van. Now, it’s hugely popular and still expanding with more street food markets popping up like delicious mushrooms.
Eventually street food got it’s own dedicated area ( although there are still food stalls in the main market ) with some limited seating options. Although at the moment there are no seating options and less traders because of Covid. There are also some food options lined along the side in shops such as Crosstown doughnuts, for example. So, as you can see this is a foodie paradise.
Here endith the history lesson. I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour. Next stop. Dinosaurs. ( not really )
Grazing at Greenwich Street Food Market
“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.”– Emma Bombeck
For me, on of the joys of street food is trying many dishes in just one day. It’s the have your cake and eat it… Well, actually more like have several cakes and eat them. We have all been there, my foodie friends, agonising over a menu full of mouth-watering wonders.
We have to settle on just one thing in a restaurant. With street food, there is no settling! You can try many things. My foodie partner in crime pretty much always comes along with me so we always share thus ensuring we have more room to try more things.
I love to wander among the various yummy offerings, the sounds, the sizzle, the scents that entice. I’ll always do a slow tour first. A foodie scouting mission bringing back tasty intel.
Foodie lunch in Greenwich Market
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”– Virginia Woolf
It was a warm day and so the pub built into the inside corner of the market naturally called to me with its cold refreshing boozy charms. There was a mini bar outside for convenience and I guess covid safety. I opted for a pint of cider: crisp, refreshing and fruity. My lunch in Greenwich market was off to a grand start!
Thirst now suitably quenched, I headed off to find food to put in my face. First up was an Argentinian empanada from Andes Empanadas.. I used to spend quite a bit of time in Spain. A relative of my good friend used to bake these tasty mini half moon shaped pies and bring them over. They were wonderful and a great first introduction to the savoury pastries.
I must confess I don’t know how Argentine empanadas differ from the ones I’ve had in Spain. What I do know was that the rows of bronzed pastries looked amazing. All the fillings sounded tempting but I chose a chicken and chorizo empanada. I brought it back like a prize to my little seating spot carved out amid the bustle.
Love at first bite. Chorizo is a wonderful ingredient but can be a bit of a bully. The chicken and the chorizo here though was perfectly balanced. The flavour was rich and intense with notes of coriander, tomato, and cumin. It sort of reminded me a little of a chilli con carne flavour profile. The first choice had been a winner. It was so good that I was tempted to go back again but I have more to explore and regrettably limited space in my travel belly.
From Argentina to Italy and by Italy. Mama Mia sells arancino di riso which is a ball of breaded baked risotto stuffed with all kinds of delicious goodies. Let that sink in… Oh yes! I most certainly want one in my face. But wait, it gets better.
The risotto balls are covered with a rich tomato sauce and then… and then… they ask if you want it covered with cheese sauce. for free. Of course, the answer is yes! Do you want cheese is always a yes unless you are lactose intolerant. I’m not lactose intolerant and would be fine with a dairy product marrying my daughter ( if I had one ).
They offer various flavour choices. Although ham and cheese sounded a fine option, it was the bolognese that enticed most of all. My oven baked saucy cheesy drenched ball of risotto would have a heart beef mince cooked with wine and tomatoes! Mama mia, indeed!
The rice yielded right away to the plastic cutlery. I have to say the arancini probably my favourite thing. What’s not to love? The crisp shell gives way to warm risotto rice. Digging in deeper I find its flavour packed bolognese heart which is everything I would want.
One of the best, if not the finest, British food traditions, is the Sunday roast dinner, This consists of a roasted meat ( commonly beef, pork, chicken, or lamb ) with duck fat roasted potatoes, vegetable sides, yorkshire pudding ( a puffed up savoury pancake of sorts ) all bound together by the glory that is gravy. What could be finer.? Well, according to Red’s Cavery, it’s taking that Sunday roast, placing it in a container and dumping a lot of melted cheese on top of it.
… I’ll take one, please!
I’ve actually sampled this one’s delights quite a few times before. As you can imagine, it’s tasty AF. The gravy that binds is rich and glossy like liquid beefy gold. The potatoes are crisp and crunchy triagles of carb-tastic joy. The yorkshire pudding is nice and puffy. The beef is charred ( in a good way ) and well seasoned.
The cheese they add is a nice bit of food theatre while you wait. They have a HUGE block of cheese which they place under a grill and then slide the melted cheese onto your container. There are various sauces to choose from. I normally get little something of everything because I am a saucy fellow. It’s great!
There is always room for dessert, right?! It’s scientific fact we have a second belly for desserts. There is a scientific paper. It’s been peer reviewed. I think the one in Brighton reviewed it.
Our final destination is our Greenwich Market culinary tour is Portugal. Pastel de nata are one of my favourite pastries but it was the doughnuts that caught my avaricious eye. In particular I was eyeing up the vanilla custard.
Who doesn’t love a doughnut and these ones were beauts. The bronzed outside glittering with encrusted sugar makes me feel like a kid again. There is something so fun and naughty feeling biting into a big sugary doughnut. The custard is a joy. It’s thick and creamy but not too sweet and rich with vanilla. I’m totally sated and finish things off with a coffee in the sunshine by the river while I wait for Woofer.
How to Get to Greenwich Market
Greenwich is well served by numerous transport options. You can get a bus, train, DLR, or even boat!
- Mainline train station – Greenwich
- DLR ( dockland light railway ) – Cutty Sark
- Bus routes into Greenwich – 129, 177, 180, 188, 199, 286 and 386
- Greenwich by boat – Greenwich Pier
Getting to the street food market in Greenwich isn’t really recommended. Greenwich centre is really busy with few places to park. Getting to the market is much easier by public transport.
Greenwich Market opening times
Greenwich Market is open 7 days a week except on bank holidays. Greenwich market is open from 10am to 5;30pm
“The only thing I like better than talking about food is eating food,”– John Walters
Greenwich is a great destination for tourists and foodies alike, I’m lucky that I have it pretty much on my metaphorical doorstep. As you can see the market has a lot of great options for food. I particularly recommend the Ideal espresso in the market for a coffee
There are a lot of more options for yummy street food than the one I listed so you’ll bound to find something that fits your fancy. Vegans are catered for too. There’s a ramen burger ( the “buns” are ramen noodles ), pimped out hot dogs, Thai food, Ethiopian food, fish burgers, Cuban sandwiches, boozy ice cream, sushi, baos, and more.
Additionally, on weekends,there are also street food stalls outside by the Cutty Sark or inside the grounds of the old naval college (beside the Cutty Sark ) so you are really spoilt for choice. There are some great pubs and restaurants too but that’s a topic for another time.
It feels so good to be able to go out on trips now. Plus I actually have some foodie travel to blog about! If you enjoyed this then you might enjoy my recent post about the fabulous fusion bakery, Arome. Hopefully, there will be plenty more trips out -although just London based for now but who knows what the future will bring? All we can do right now is make the most of the time we are given. And if covid19 teaches us anything this is it. Our time is precious, life is uncertain, enjoy it right now,
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Stay safe, Stay hungry.