Whitecross Street between Old Street and Errol Street, EC1Y 8QP
Tube/Rail: Old Street
Open: Monday-Friday 10am-2.30pm
Whitecross Street was a struggling week day market for many years as people changed their shopping habits preferring the local supermarkets for their daily groceries. In order for things to stay the same they must change, and the market has certainly undergone a huge transformation in recent years. Peter who ran the last remaining fruit and veg stall for over 30 years has gone and in his place have come a vast number of street food stalls and vans, allowing visitors to eat their way around the world along a stretch of road that can be traversed in just 5 minutes gentle troll.
The stylish vintage Citroen van at the Old Street end of the market is run by award-winning Buddha Bowls who manage to cram streamed seasonal greens, curry, soya chunks, carrot and homemade kimchi pickle all into one fragrant cardboard container for just a fiver. The long queue during the lunchtime rush is always a good sign.Further into the market carnivores can get their fill with delicious Turkish kebabs, Katsu chicken from Shackfoods and there's even two Swedish lads offering their homeland's famous meatballs with mash potato.
Other continental favourites include a popular French Galettes stall and one making authentic Italian pizza to order. The Yum Bowl is always busy serving hot bowls of Thai noodles with their sizzling pork filling the street with enticing aromas. Vegans and Veggies are further catered for at Sunny's Olive Tree which offers all kinds of delicious lunchtime treats.
Those with a sweet tooth will not be disappointed with several traders offering fine patisserie, fresh juices and Jerry's stall selling various kinds of single source honey and nougat bars and a coffee stall with seating on fine days and a choice of sweet things to accompany the caffeine.There are a few non-food stalls on the market with one lone trader offering household goods like batteries, cleaning materials and such like and another specialising in jewellery with anything from hand made leather bracelets to vintage rings. At the far end of the street market is a privately run covered market with stalls offering bags, cheap street clothing, cards and some really attractive discounted cookbooks. This is where the locals from the nearby estate hunt for bargains but few of the office workers grabbing an alfresco lunch venture down this far.
Whitecross Street has survived and thrived in the 21st Century, but only by transforming itself into a new kind of street food market where, as one trader put it, 'you can eat your way around the world'. Traditionalists might not like the change, but the revival of this market with hungry crowds and busy food sellers is a testament that this change was necessary. Better a food market than no market at all.