Wednesday, May 06, 2009

To Market, To Market... in London (Part I)

Despite the wide variety of flavours and tastes available, there are only so many sandwiches and cold pastas from Marks and Spencers, Pret-a-Manger, EAT, Waitrose... that a true Singaporean can woffle down her throat. Hence, it is a pleasant welcome to explore London's many open-air markets during the weekends in search of real food.

There is an amazing variety of markets in London - from the quaint Portobello to the overcrowded boisterous Camden. There are loads of smells and tastes to savour, many sights to devour.

Last week, the girls and I explored Greenwich Market.

The great thing about this market is that it is only 10 minutes from my home! Beside the bustling Arts and Crafts and Food Court, there are other attractions nearby. My personal favorite is the humongous Greenwich Park which is the host to the Prime Meridian Line and the old Royal Observatory, and has the National Maritime Museum as a neighbour. From the top of a little hill in the park, you get a fantabulous view of London and the O2 dome.

Before you even enter the Food Market, you are greeted with a trail of contented customers, happily slurping on their purchases, from funky-coloured ice creams to delicious-smelling kebab wraps.

Slices of nougats of every kind - wildest, unimaginable flavours...

Cheeses of the world, unite!

Sauces, spices, herbs and salads

Yes, and of course, the bane of every girl's woes in London - Cupcakes!

If you asked me, I would dare say that the variety of food is even greater than Singapore. It is different, with influences from a diversity of cultures - Eastern European, Mediterranean, African, Middle Eastern - many of which that I personally haven't seen so much in Singapore.

Got lots of chilli here too, you know?

We sauntered around, poking our noses into different stores, curiously picking up scents or sights that may tempt our taste buds.

Ethopian food, you want? inquires Cynthia.

After much ado, we decided on our first dessert item.

Wala - Brazilian Churros.

Now, if you were a true chocolate-loving girl, it will be the ultimate sin to give this delicacy a miss. There is something truly magical chewing on a warm, chewy piece of churro and tasting the hot chocolate sauce oozing from within.

First, the chef produces a length of dough. Perhaps, if you flirted or showed some charm, he may give you a more generous length.

Then, he proceeds to deep-fry them. This reminds me of the sorely-missed you tiao in Singapore.


Wala - and they are done.

See those little trays of sugar and cinnamon? These churros get dipped into your choice of sugar or cinnamon. I personally adore the smell of cinnamon.

Next and most importantly, the chef pierces the churro with a pipe that pumps in simmering hot chocolate fudge.

The deliriously delighted patron with her brazilian churros.

There are many other stores displaying interesting wares as well. Unlike our local pasar malams which hawks lower-priced goods, these stalls peddle merchandises at a higher-priced premium as they are deemed to be more authentic, I guess.

Yes, they apparently sell huge bananas.

What's more, if you feel bloated after all that awesome food at Greenwich Market, walk it off and make your way to Greenwich Park. The air is crisp and fresh and if you are lucky, rays of sunshine will make your stroll much more enjoyable.

Alas, we didn't make it very far! We stopped for our second dessert the moment we stepped into the park.

Girls. They are made of sugar, spice and everything nice, aren't they?


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