If you’re visiting London and are still planning to enjoy all your meals in brick-and-mortar restaurants, consider veering off course. These days, you’re liable to find some of the capital’s most delectable eats dished out of vans, trucks and other pavement-based venues. From a hot cheese toastie at Kappacasein and lightning fast Napolis at Fundi Pizza to the meatiest burgers this side of the USA, our pick of the top London street food traders can be found all over town.
Just because it’s sold on the street doesn’t mean it’ll be packed with artery-clogging greasiness. It doesn’t get much fresher, lighter or more flavourful than Eat Chay. The specialists in Vietnamese vegan fare dish up noodle salads and a plump selection of bao as well as satisfying báhn mì and, the definitive highlight, fried tofu.
One of Borough Market’s most ingenious street food vendors, Kappacasein has perfected the art of a cheese toastie. It’s stuffed with melted Montgomery cheddar and spruced up with chopped onions and garlic on sourdough, making this the most memorable sandwich you’ll likely ever encounter. It competes fiercely with the Swiss raclette, where oozing Ogleshield is slathered over a bundle of new potatoes and gherkins for a plate that more than explains the consistent queues.
Almost single-handedly saving London from the scourge of mediocre Mexican fare is the stellar Luardos. A regular participant in markets and pop-ups across the city the taco and burrito slinger’s cheery magenta truck is wonderfully easy to spot.
Korean flavours are clearly enjoying their time in the sun. Additional evidence? Kimchinary, one of the best London street food traders in the business. The vendor marries ingredients like kimchi with burritos and other Mexican-inspired fare, making for a happy, cross-cultural marriage.
The secret to success for the street-side pizzaiolo? An oven that’s as serious as it is portable. At Fundi Pizza, the vendors haven’t only perfected their own dough recipe, but they’ve also built their wood-fired ovens from scratch. The temperatures are hot enough to blister a freshly stretched pizza in 90 seconds flat, meaning no long waits between ordering and sampling.
These days, London is famous for its burgers—but even amidst the beef-and-bun saturation, Tongue ’n Cheek’s lusty Heartbreaker stands out. Using a patty made from ground chuck and ox heart, it’s a gloriously meaty concoction. But even if you’re looking to go beyond the burger, their porky sub is gloriously moreish, while the cheekily named No Lobster Roll subs out the crustaceans for tender cod cheeks.
It’s no secret that some of the best London street food can be found in Borough Market, and BOB’s Lobster is no exception. Thread through the crowds and make a beeline for the 1950s Volkswagen van. Though lobster mac and cheese and ahi tuna tacos are worth trying, it’s the generously filled lobster roll—certainly one of the city’s best—that’s worth seeking out.
There’s no artifice with Yum Bun: the vendor trades in, yes, yummy buns. These are hirata-style, East Asian buns, specifically, which hide fillings from slowly roasted pork belly with hoi sin sauce to pieces of roast duck and duck scratchings.
Market Hall Victoria serves the smartest street food in London. Head inside its sleek interiors to seek out the eternal favourite, Gopal’s Corner, on the first floor. These curries, served Tamil thali-style on a banana leaf, guarantee a consistent flow of keen foodies to this particular corner of London. For a lighter snack, the Thosai is equally delicious.
London is the queen of cosmopolitanism, and nowhere is this better expressed than in its cuisine. A London street food trader that beautifully embodies the capital’s cultural diversity is Lovely Bunch of Coconuts. Creole street food is what this lovely bunch serves up from various outposts around the city. Inspired by the spices of Mauritian cuisine, the biryani really hits the spot for worldly appetites.