Walk out of Upton Park tube station and turn left: Queen’s Market sprawls out to your right. This is arguably the most ‘London’ of London’s markets, a heady collision of different immigrant communities – Afro-Caribbean, Indian, Bangladeshi, south-east Asian – under one roof. The fruit and vegetables are some of the best and cheapest you’ll find in the capital: pick up whole chickens (never mind pleading for giblets, here you get the whole bird save its feathers), a kilo of beetroot for a quid, or nearly-flapping fish from one of the half dozen fishmongers. But it’s the added extras you get here that keep us coming back. Enthusiastic home chefs will love the kitchenware: the stockpot we purchased for £12 at Casio Cookwere [sic] (6 Queen’s Market; 0794 0200479) six years ago still looks – give or take – brand new. On the corner nearest Upton Park tube, men queue outside Top of the Line Braid Salon (404 Green St; 8471 1400) for sharp cornrows while, immediately inside the market, women can get their eyebrows threaded for £2 at Dees (47 Queen’s Market).
When you get peckish, visit Queen’s Tropical Takeaway, a friendly Jamaican van out the front of the market (Green Street side) which is open from 7am-6pm on market days and does a great line in salt-cod patties and jerk chicken.