London is an amazing food city – but that doesn’t mean it's always an affordable one (bar our run-down of the city’s finest cheap eats, of course). If you’re a huge food fan but don’t have the disposable cash to get stuffed in London’s best restaurants, then street food is your saviour.
This town’s vibey, super-fun food markets are a proving ground for London’s up-and-coming chefs, bursting with stalls dishing up grub of sky-high standards in dinky disposable containers. So we’ve done the rounds and dug out the best street food stalls in London – they’re all listed below. If we’ve missed something amazing, let us know in the comments below.
Another thing: a fair few of London's best streetfood dishes can be found at Kerb's city-wide sites. Check out our video guide to the best eats at their Camden Market hub, as of October 2017, here:
London’s best street food: 50-41
House of Dodo
Born from a melting pot of cultures, Mauritian food is light, bright and packed with sunshine. Rebecca Lloyd-Wright went back to the island her dad grew up on to learn more about the cuisine before bringing the best of her family’s recipes back to London. Kingly slaw, fluffy rice, succulent stews and fiery sauces all make for a memorable lunchtime combination.
Don’t miss: Creole chicken rice box (£6)
But first check: @houseofdodo
The Vietnamese got their baguette habit from French invaders, and Bittenclub is bringing that full circle with a menu of banh mi sandwiches that have been given a French twist. A crisp white breadstick (baked by north London’s Celtic Bakers) is stuffed with crunchy veg, chilli and whichever protein takes your fancy. Honeyed duck confit comes highly recommended, especially on its bed of coriander and garlic pesto.
Don’t miss: Duck mi (£6)
Find it at: Flat Iron Square
But first check: @bittenclub
The options at Makatcha are those of an airline kitchen: beef, chicken or veg. Fortunately their rendang is so completely packed with fragrant flavours that it doesn’t matter which you go for. Here the coconut and lemongrass-packed Indonesian speciality comes with a pile of fluffy white rice and some crunchy, gently pickled veg. A billion times better than plane food.
Don't miss: Beef rendang (£6)
But first check: @Makatcha_Eats
Burger & Beyond
Even if you thought you’d reached peak burger back in 2014, you want to pay Burger & Beyond a mealtime visit. You can go super fancy and choose The Cliff, which is made from 90-day aged chuck and brisket, but all their beef is amazing; the stall was started by a farmer and a gamekeeper, so what do you expect?
Don’t Miss: Hot mess (£8.50)
Find it at: Kerb Camden
But first check: @burgerandbeyond
Top quality home-smoked fish is the star of Allihopa’s menu, and what a treat it is too. In proper Scandi style, their lunchboxes are fairly minimalist; your choice of fresh rye bread or crusty sourdough, some light potato salad, a few crunchy pickles. A light lunch where the ingredients pack punch.
Don’t miss: The open sandwiches (£6)
But first check: @Allihopa_LDN
Not unlike Willy Wonka’s three-course gum, these squishy soup dumplings (originally from Shanghai, hence the name) combine a meatball filling and chicken soup within a soft dumpling casing that’s heated until its bottom is crispy then served with dipping vinegar. Stall owner Felix has worked at Yauatcha and Hakkasan, and his dumplings are so moreish that it’s worth the inevitable drips down your favourite T-shirt.
Don’t miss: Shengjian bao (£6 for four)
But first check: @shenghighuk
It may be a trend of the past these days, but sometimes all that will truly fill your belly is a big, fat burrito. Luardos stuff theirs with flavour – the chicken option is poached in garlic and bay, the pork slow-cooked with fennel and orange – and traditional pico de gallo, smooth guacamole, crunchy lettuce and Monterey Jack cheese all join in to make this mealtime a food fiesta.
Don't miss: Chipotle brisket burrito (£5)
But first check: @Luardos
From a distance this bold little bun looks like your average burger, but its secret is that the patty isn’t a patty at all. It’s a pile of rich beef bourguignon, warmed and crisped on a hotplate then drenched in melted raclette cheese (or cheddar or blue, whichever you prefer). A bit of lettuce is the token greenery and a mystery ‘Patate sauce’ coats the top half of the brioche roll. Luscious as a velvet smoking jacket.
Don’t miss: Beef bourgignon cheese burger (£7)
But first check: @thepatateuk
How good can grilled vegetables be? Order the vegetarian bun from Lagom and find out, because they know how to max out a mushroom. Although you should also order the meat, cos it’s sticky, smoky, classy and massive. Their speciality is Swedish-style fire grill, which is a new one on us, but it’s helping them knock out dishes in a blaze of glory.
Don’t miss: Grilled portobello bun (£7)
Find it at: Dinerama
But first check: @eatlagom
Fire, meat and Asian barbecue combine to create a menu of big, sticky hunks o' lunch. Get it in a box and you also get exemplary slaw, plus Japanese-style creamy potato salad mash. But get it in a sandwich and you can eat greedily without getting char siu glaze in your hair.
Don't miss: 8hr slow smoked char siu ribs (£8)
Find it at: Kerb King's Cross
But first check: @smokin_lotus
London’s best street food: 40-31
Banh Mi 11
One of the London street food scene’s original stars, Banh Mi 11 is still cooking up a storm, and their Vietnamese baguettes are brimming with big flavours. Ask them what new fillings are on offer – they’re never short of utterly delicious.
Don’t miss: Imperial BBQ pork banh mi (£5)
Find it at: Broadway Market
But first check: @Banhmi11uk
Remember when you didn’t know what tabbouleh was? Luckily Levantine cuisine is everyday fare in London these days, though there’s nothing everyday about Oli Baba’s lunchboxes. Big piles of fresh, herby salads, crunchy sweet potato fries, smoky Turkish-style flatbreads and a big pile of super creamy hummus make up the sort of meal that would make even a butcher consider going veggie.
Don't miss: Sababa box (£6).
Find it at: Kerb Camden
But first check: @Oli_Babas
Taking your street food lunch to new levels of fancy, Stakehaus are grilling hot, pink, juicy slabs of beef and serving them up with the crispiest chips, a dash of salad and some very impressive sauces. The chimichurri is intensely herby and has just the right acidity to complement the rich chunks of meat. And all for less than a tenner. This one calls for a stake-out.
Don’t miss: Steak and chimichurri (£8)
Find it at: Kerb Camden
But first check: @STAKEhaus
The Piadina Project
Italy’s got plenty of food inventions to boast about as it is without adding the piadina to the roster, but their version of the quesadilla is definitely worth making space for. Jack Padoan’s grandad Gianni introduced him to the northern Italian speciality, and Jack has given it a British twist. Look out for his Lincolnshire special, which involves sausage, pancetta, burrata and a mushroom glaze.
Don’t miss: Bresaola (£6)
But first check: @thepiadinaproject
You wouldn’t want to encounter a prawn this size in the wild – it looks like it could have your baby toe off. But on a bed of fries and drenched in szechuan butter, its soft pink flesh suddenly looks like the sea’s gift to your belly. Thousand island dressing, although essentially posh burger sauce, is a fun alt to your usual chip condiments, but as the name suggests, this stand is all about the prawn.
Don’t miss: XL prawn with szechuan butter and chips (£10)
Find it at: Dinerama
But first check: @PrawnographyLDN
Sometimes all it takes is one person to do something brilliantly to put everyone else’s efforts to shame. Such is the case with Scotchtails – take one bite of their generously meaty, perfectly gooey scotch eggs and you’ll shun the lesser offerings of your local pub for life. There are 15 varieties to choose from and their crisp sweet potato fries make ideal soldiers for that bright orange yolk.
Don't miss: Cumberland sausage scotch egg with sweet potato fries (£6.90)
Find it at: Borough Market
But first check: @Scotchtails
Bill or Beak
Fortunately no birds’ mouths were used in the making of Bill or Beak’s stonking pair of sandwiches, both of which are innovative versions of much-loved poultry classics. The Beak option involves grilled corn-fed chicken thigh topped with caesar dressing, tempura capers, rosemary and garlic croutons and parmesan, which certainly puts the ubiquitous salad it’s inspired by to shame.
Signature dish: Bill – braised duck and pork in viet dressing with mint, coriander, spring onions and tempura shallots (£7).
But first check: @BillorBeak
They’ve referred to their carayaca arepa as ‘the Venezuelan chip butty’, but that’s kind of like calling Rio Carnival the Brazilian version of a village fete. Freshly made cornbread pockets (arepas) get stuffed with family recipes for refried black beans, guava-glazed chicken, fried plantain and plenty more. As well as their perfect avocado salsa, the little pocket of hot, salty queso fresco will certainly get us back for more.
Don’t miss: Venezuelan chip butty (£6)
Find it at: Hawker House
But first check: @petareuk
This stall is mainly a chance for Freddie Janssen to sell jars of excellent pickles, but there’s no better use for her homemade kimchi than in a kimchi and stilton toastie. It’s hot and buttery on the outside, melty and salty in the middle, with just a little crunch from the fermented cabbage. Sandwich of dreams.
Don’t miss: Stilton and kimchi toastie (£7 large)
Find it at: Druid Street Market
But first check: @Freddielookatme
For what looks like a stir-fry made with leftover crepes, Sri Lankan street speciality kothu roti sure has a lot going on. Strips of a flatbread called godhamba roti are piled with vegetables, egg and curry on a hotplate and chopped up using a pair of metal blades, resulting in lightly curried comfort food that brings a new flavour with every mouthful.
Don't miss: Mutton kothu roti (£6.50)
Find it at: Boxpark Croydon
But first check: @Kothu_Kothu
London’s best street food: 30-21
These Persian-inspired vegetarian curries are so rich with flavour that they must have started as 230 percent ingredients in the way that ketchup is 148 percent tomatoes. Texture comes from fresh, crunchy garnishes and heft comes from a warm, crisp flatbread. And your tastebuds will be so overwhelmed they’ll be picking up new spices long after the first bite.
Don’t miss: Pav Bhaji (£8)
But first check: @devis_ldn
If you’re any kind of London street eater you’ll probably know that Yum Bun are experts in the fluffy, flavour-stuffed hirata bun. Turns out they’re also experts in dumplings, as this second venture from them proves. Drop by Dinerama to choose from the soft little steamed parcels – pork or mushroom or both – drizzled with sharp sauces and crunchy garnishes that really bring the flavours to life. We sure hope there are more yum-puns to come.
Don’t miss: Mushroom dumplings (£4 for three)
Find it at: Dinerama
But first check: @yumbun
We couldn't have told you what Andalusian cuisine involved before we tried Nazarí’s flavour-stuffed chicken wrap, but we sure like it now. The brother and sister team take the best Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours to create dishes that have twice the taste per mouthful; the chicken’s slow-cooked with garlic, parsley and Moorish spices and wrapped up with a rainbow of Ottolenghi-ish salads.
Don’t miss: Chicken asado wrap (£6)
Find them at: Kerb Camden
But first check: @nazarifood
Modern street food classics such as tacos and chicken wings are given an Eritrean twist in Lemlem Kitchen, and the results are very special indeed. Spongy injera flatbread makes a fine base for the ‘Afro-taco’ toppings; tender anise chicken with zingy orange and fennel slaw and colourful pickles is a highlight.
Don’t miss: Afro-tacos (£6)
Find them at: Netil Market
But first check: @lemlemkitchen
Don’t ignore the little chilli signs on Farang’s chalkboard. When maxed out their spice levels are more challenging than all of Brick Lane’s curry houses put together. The tempura’s so crisp it’s almost bubbly, and the crackly layer houses super succulent chicken. The tangy dressing brings light, fragrant Thai flavours, but not enough that the tender of tongue shouldn’t be wary.
Don’t miss: Sticky Thai chicken bites (£7 small, £10 large)
Find it at: Dinerama
But first check: @farangldn
The name doesn’t exactly whet the appetite, but don’t let it put you off a portion of crispy, golden little potato boats that are the perfect vehicle for some calorific but completely delicious fillings and genius garnish combinations.
Don’t miss: Fleetwood Mac and Cheese with crispy onions, bacon, jalapenos and sriracha butter (£6)
Find them at: Maltby Street Market
But first check: @skinsgimmesome
There are many Middle Eastern flatbreads being toasted, filled and rolled in London, but this is the only stall so committed to the wrap itself that it’s named after it. Laffa offers expertly flavoured salads, meats and sauces, cooking ingredients to order and piling them up into a herby, fragrant bundle of joy.
Don’t miss: Aubergine and halloumi wrap (£6)
Find them at: Flat Iron Square
But first check: @Laffastreetfood
Mother Flipper’s thing is putting their patties – all served medium – onto the grill as balls, and then smashing them down with a spatula to give them a good crust. Some come topped with huge wedges of avocado, others dripping oozy Swiss cheese: but they’re all pretty damned hefty.
Don't miss: The Dirty Barbie – double patty, double cheese, candied bacon, candied onions, barbecue sauce (£10)
But first check: @MotherFlipperuk
All the warmth and spice of fragrant homemade curry gets wrapped up in what’s basically Indian eggy bread – a flaky, soft paratha wrap crisped in ghee and freshly cracked egg – at Kate and Jack’s kati roll stand. If you’re looking for a meat-free main they don’t come more satisfying than their paneer roll; hearty but not heavy, spicy and not spendy. Also: be sure to add tamarind and date ketchup.
Don’t miss: Paneer kati roll (£6.50)
But first check: @Kolkati
Rola Wala offers a range of chewy naan rolls and flavoursome hot bowls that’ll leave your taste buds tingling, just like the street-side snacks served across India. The menu offers as much for vegetarians as meat eaters, with tantalising ingredients like slow-cooked beef brisket and beetroot, coconut and chana dal served alongside tangy chutneys and piquant pickles to create an explosive flavour combination.
Don't miss: Kashmiri chicken tikka naan roll (£6.50).
Where to find them: Hawker House
But first check: @RolaWala
London’s best street food: 20-11
Morty & Bob’s
When it comes to turning two bits of bread and a pile of grated cheese into something really special, Morty & Bob’s have the magic touch. A secret blend of three British cheeses is combined with a secret cheese sauce for extra ooze and some finely chopped onions for a gentle alium drop kick at the end. You can add bacon or sautéed mushrooms with truffle oil, or go ‘straight up’, but you’ll always get a juicy, crunchy pickle on the side.
Don't miss: The mushroom and truffle one (£6).
Find them at: Netil Market
But first check: @MortyandBobs
Jerk fish fingers in ginger beer batter is surely the sort of innovation that street food stalls were made for, but make sure you try the whole menu here, because Only Jerkin’s fried chicken is freakin’ delicious. As is their homemade jerk ketchup. And the sweet potato and fennel fritters. Basically, save space for this one because a combo box is where it’s at.
Don’t miss: Jerk chicken nuggets in ginger beer batter (£7)
But first check: @OnlyJerkin
The Grilling Greek
Like a Eurovision entry amidst a sea of indie bands, The Grilling Greek’s truck is cheerful, colourful and fiercely patriotic. Which figures, given that it serves up a fine menu of Mediterranean classics such as giant kalamata olives, red pepper hummus and really bloody good souvlaki. Fresh, soft pitta holds tomato, red onion, a good dollop of ‘mama's tzatziki’ and juicy, smoky chunks of grilled meat (or halloumi).
Don't miss: Chicken souvlaki in pitta (£5.50)
But first check: @thegrillinggreek
Spit & Roast
We’re lucky Justin Unsworth and Ross Gardner (ex-head chef and owner of Medcalf) chucked in their restaurant jobs to sell chicken, because their bird is seriously good. The original line was in free-range rotisserie poultry, but their fried chicken is now stealing the show (though occasional guest appearances from jerk pork belly-topped poutine see the queues lengthen considerably, too).
Don’t miss: the buttermilk fried chicken bap (£6)
But first check: @SpitandRoast
Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it sucks, and these guys aren’t half proving it. Using hearty ingredients, Savage Salads sell lunchboxes that are full of food to make your mouth water and your mum proud. The queue for their stand is always worth the effort – the results are incomparably better than the supermarket salad bar equivalent and you get a welcoming smile rather than a self-service checkout at the end of it.
Don’t miss: Anything – have chicken and halloumi and all the salads (£6)
But first check: @savagesalads
Buying oysters from a street food stall seems like risky business, but you’re more than safe in the hands of Decatur; their shellfish are covered with garlic butter and cajun spices then chargrilled to order. You’ll be licking the shell clean by the end.
Don’t miss: Chargrilled oysters (three for £6.50)
But first check: @DecaturLondon
Nice buns just don’t cut it for these guys; the carbs they’re cooking up are nothing short of fantastic. Each fluffy, steamed pocket holds a stack of ingredients that’s more enticing than a bacon sandwich on a hangover. Choose from roast duck, Japanese fried chicken, the not-to-be-overlooked portobello mushrooms with miso glaze or any of their other charming little flavour grenades.
Don’t miss: Slow-roasted belly pork with cucumber, spring onions and hoi sin sauce (£3.50)
But first check: @yumbun
The Gyoza Guys
The best things come in small packages, or so they say. And ‘they’ would be right on this occasion, because the Gyoza Guys are packing a huge amount of delicious into their dumplings. The seafood option in particular practically bounces with great ingredients, but all four menu options are special, and the combo tray option means you don’t have to choose between them anyway.
Don’t miss: Prawn, shrimp and crab dumplings (£6.50 for five)
But first check: @gyozaguys
The taco obsession that’s sweeping the city is bound to root up some substandard hand-held Mexican discs, so it’s more than a pleasure to bite into this little parcel of joy. In fact its flavour has so many layers it’s like a game of pass the parcel where your mouth wins every time. Elote founder Alex Hutton has been head chef at Caravan King’s Cross, which helps to explain the expertise on show here. Even the most confident taco slinger would be pleased with these results.
Don’t miss: Fish taco (£3.50)
Find it at: Druid Street Market
But first check: @elote.co.uk
Sri Lankans eat egg hoppers for breakfast or as a snack, usually, which means you have an excuse to eat one of Emily Dobbs’s flavour bombs whatever time of day it is. Your choice of rich, fragrant curry is piled onto an egg in a sort-of pancake basket, and your task is to load as many of the pickles and garnishes onto each mouthful as you can while not painting your t-shirt with an accidental pickle rainbow.
Don’t miss: Aubergine curry egg hopper (£7)
Find it at: Druid Street Market
But first check: @weligama_ldn
London’s best street food: the top ten
What’s in a name? Read the title of these burrito merchants’ stand and you might think that their sole ethos is dishing up Tex-Mex. Hell, taste the melty deliciousness that is their beer-battered cheeze fries and you’d probably think the same thing. But this is actually an entirely vegan stand whose South American cuisine is nigh-on indistinguishable from carnivore-friendly stuff. A ‘to-fish’ taco features seaweed-wrapped, deep-fried tofu that could’ve come out of the sea on a line.
Don't miss: Beer-battered cheeze fries (£4)
But first check: @clubmexicana
Marinated ox heart isn't something you’d expect to be eating on a drizzly lunchbreak in King’s Cross, but Filipino barbecue connoisseurs BBQ Dreamz serve up their signature skewers, cooked to taste and served with a spicy cane vinegar, at Kerb’s lunchtime markets across the capital. Their vibrant menu is adding some serious sophistication to London’s street food scene.
Don’t miss: Lemongrass ox heart skewers (£2.50 per skewer, £4 for two)
But first check: @BbqDreamz
Taco Juan, sure. Taco Tomas? Maybe. Taco Dave? Not the sort of first name that has you shouting ‘sí, señor!’ But one mouthful of Dave’s meltingly tender beef brisket, all sticky with Dr Pepper glaze, and his name will be etched into your tastebuds. The Dr Pepper thing is more than a gimmick, too – you can’t taste the mysterious fizzy drink as such but you can certainly tell it’s been there. Perhaps it was misunderstood, after all?
Don’t miss: Eight-hour slow-roasted Dr Pepper taco (£6 for two)
But first check: @taco__dave
You’d think a low-calorie vegan curry would be the least enticing dish on the market, but we knew from the moment they piled on the pickles that SpiceBox are serving something special. There’s so much flavour in their colourful curries you’ll never go back to vindaloo, and with the option of cauliflower rice as your ‘carb’ it’s pretty much Weight Watchers-approved. Which means doughnuts for dessert.
Don’t miss: Summer veg, coconut and cashew korma (£4)
But first check: @SpiceBox_UK
Given that they’re the only luxury flat your average Londoner can afford, it’s a good job these fat flatbreads stuffed with fresh, crisp salads and generous chunks of tender meat are every bit as good as what they’re named after. The bread comes from legendary Dalston bakery Ararat Breads and fillings below the already impressive headline slots (Koji fried chicken/miso short rib) include fennel kimchi and mirin yoghurt, all piled up high-rise style. Definitely avoid shared ownership.
Don’t miss: Miso short rib flatbread (£6)
But first check: @lxryflats
At Mother Clucker, they do fried chicken right. These soul food specialists do crispy, spicy coating and tender, juicy chicken like no-one else. This is Southern cooking the way it should be – and very few people in London do it as well. Combined with a side of mac and cheese, it may not be diet food, but who wants to eat diet food? That crap’s for rabbits.
Don't miss: Southern-fried chicken strips (£5)
But first check: @motherclucker
The Rib Man
Proof that you’re better off starting a business because you’re really bloody good at it than because you think it’s on-trend, Mark Gevaux has been selling ribs on the streets of London since 2007. While working as a butcher he started cooking ribs on disposable barbecues at farmers’ markets. Demand was high and The Rib Man was born – his smoky, succulent baby backs have been shredded, piled high into white baps and drizzled with some insanely spicy sauces ever since.
Don’t miss: the chance to prove your heat tolerance with loads of Holy Fuck sauce on your rib roll (£7)
Find it at: Brick Lane every Sunday (but beware it usually sells out before 2pm).
But first check @theribman
Ben and Gaz have been putting soul into submarine rolls for a year now. Things generally kick off with a fist bump, then there’s the difficult menu decision while Ben wafts a freshly made sub under your nose; a dash of silly small talk keeps you entertained while you wait; and finally there’s a delicious party in your mouth. Combinations include a gentle but winning version of surf and turf: seared scallops, pulled pork, calamari and parsley mayo.
Don’t miss: The subterranean (£5)
But first check: @subcultsubs
Mike & Ollie
Mike Richardson studied design at Goldsmiths before realising that his calling was in creating magnificent flatbreads. Ollie is no longer a part of the operation but the name had already stuck, and let’s be honest, calling a food stand just ‘Mike’ would be pretty ballsy. His freshly made wraps are brimming with seasonal treats such as pan-fried Eastbourne mackerel fillet, beetroot-braised shallots, rhubarb hot sauce and homemade pickles.
Don’t miss: Lamb flatbread (£7)
But first check: @mikeandollie
What do you get when you cross the punchiness of Korean cuisine with the Mexican folded wonder that is the burrito? One of Kimchinary’s incredible wraps is what, in which every element is laced with a flavour you didn’t see coming. Hanna Söderlund’s fascination with fermentation is part of what led her to create this unique and winning menu.
Don’t miss: Slow-braised bulgogi ox cheek burrito (£6)
But first check: @kimchinary
Where to find London’s best street food
From weird and wonderful international cuisines, to great value seasonal produce sold by the pound, London’s best food markets offer variety and colour by the basketful. There is no more enjoyable way to shop than stall-hopping at one of these foodie fairs. Here are the best ones to tuck into.
There is no need to choose between having fun and filling your belly in London these days. If you don't mind sharing a table with twenty fun, slightly inebriated strangers (or simply love scoffing while standing) then you'll have a ball at these night markets. Expect street food, great booze and good times at all of them.
This Malaysian restaurant is located at the Park City Grand Plaza Kensington, a hotel near to leafy Lexham Gardens, close to Gloucester Road. It's bright and spacious, with large skylights letting the sunshine in. The menu is mostly Malaysian, with some Chinese options included, too. Expect, then, chicken satay, soto ayam soup, gado gado, fried chicken with sambal sauce and beef rendang alongside aromatic crispy duck, lemon chicken and Cantonese noodles. There are even some European dishes on offer too, for the really fussy. A lounge bar also features, as well as a small terraced garden.
Venue says: “Selesa Restaurant offers a taste of Malaysia with a multi-ethnic selection of Malay, Chinese and Western-style cuisine.”