It’s got a bit of a rep, Green Street. Running right through the centre of Newham, this was West Ham United territory for more than a century until the team moved out of its Boleyn Ground stadium last year. It’s also been the site of football-related violence, especially against the Hammers’ traditional rivals Millwall: a 2005 film named after the street starred Elijah Wood as a wayward student who falls in with a group of notorious football hooligans.
Don’t let any of this put you off from visiting: there’s a hell of a lot more to Green Street than footie and fighting. Over the past few years this has become the UK’s standout destination for South Asian shopping, beauty parlours and authentic restaurants due to its large local Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani populations. The area is home to emerging and established designers who showcase their wares in more than 400 independent shops, making it a refreshing change from your average chain-filled London high street.
Green Street has a rep for something else, too: the ‘One Pound Fish Man’, a Queen’s Market fish trader named Shahid Nazir who thought up a catchy tune to entice shoppers. His song went viral and an up-tempo remix (complete with a glitzy video) hit the Top 40. Sadly he’s since been deported due to visa issues, but he’s still missed on Green Street.
Veggie South Indian fare at Vijay’s Chawalla. The family-run business has been drawing crowds ever since it opened in 1995.
Luxurious wagyu beef burgers at Brioche Burger – though if you’re on a budget it might be wise to stick to their spicy chicken wings and sweet potato fries.
Hearty pies at Pie Republic on Upton Lane, a stone’s throw away from Green Street. You can get a crusty pie plus two sides for less than a tenner.
Authentic and flavoursome Pakistani curries washed down with a cool mango lassi at Himalaya Restaurant.
Chicken and waffles at the newly opened Route 58 American diner.
A swift pint at traditional East End boozer The Queens. It’s a West Ham pub so if you support another team leave your football shirt at home.
Bargain booze at The Miller’s Well on nearby Barking Road. Yes, it is a Wetherspoon’s. No, that’s not a problem.
Mouthwatering milkshakes and smoothies at the Urban Chocolatier, part of a swish dessert-parlour chain.
Dazzling South Asian jewellery at Bees. This place reportedly has the largest collection of bangles for sale in Europe.
Anything from high-end bridalwear to stunning fabrics from the boutiques in the East Shopping Centre, Europe’s first purpose-built South Asian mall.
Deliciously sweet and soft milky gulab jamun from Alauddin – it’s tasty and addictive.
Get a selfie with the bronze Bobby Moore at the World Cup Sculpture, while it’s still on the corner of Barking Road and Green Street: WHUFC are planning to relocate it to the Olympic Park.
Take a slow saunter down Queen’s Market on a weekend – it’s like a bustling souk where you can pick up anything from fresh fish (prices from one pound) to clothing and footwear.
Treat yourself to a facial or head and neck massage at Neelam Hair & Beauty – you’re totally worth it.
And if you only do one thing…
Step into the Tardis and ogle props, artefacts and costumes from ‘Doctor Who’ at The Who Shop’s museum, by the former Boleyn Ground. Entrance is only three quid.