Food

WE LOVE STREET FOOD – Victoria Park Market

Perfect for casual Sunday afternoons lazying about in the park with friends or family – this food market is host to the latest foodie trends.

Quick bites: market offers generous helpings, a very wide selection of cuisines, and COVID-friendly policies in place – against a calm and cheery backdrop

What’s with the price? It’s called “STREET FOOD” for a reason!

Street food is no new trend in London, and certainly the world – and vendors are constantly innovating and competing with each other to bring in traffic. And with this rise in competition and need for innovation has come the accompanying rise in price for the customer.

I know street food vendors will tell you that it no longer is the lucrative trade it once was, thus justifying these rising costs, but personally, I’ve long started to feel a countertrend in my soul against the expensive food vendors. It is quite common to pay no less than 10 pounds (13 dollars) for a tray of carefully curated food that often leaves you unsatisfied, and add on that sides and drinks, and you can rack up quite a bill.

How is this street food, my soul (and my half-empty stomach) complains. It’s one of the main criticisms I have about “street food” today – when it’s glossy, and selected, and expensive – and no longer synonymous with it’s very name, “street food”.

But it’s always refreshing to find vendors who agree, and while they can’t necessarily dive on price, they make up for it in terms of serving. I always appreciate street food vendors that try to pile on the portions so you end up satisfied for the price.

What and where

Victoria Park Market, open on Sundays from 10-4pm

For those who don’t know, this market is located in North London, UK – and if you’re ever in the neighbourhood – it gets a very high recommendation from us.

Why? It’s a foodie’s destination for sure, where the stalls are mostly, if not all, food or food-related stalls.

Out of curiosity, we inquired with the association that runs the market and got a little bit of insight on what vendors make the cut, so to speak, and it’s clear that they are always after vendors that provide something that isn’t already available.

So, the vendors are chosen to trade here to provide something different and interesting.

With COVID measures in place, the food stalls cover a lot more distance from the lane through the park originally, and it’s a welcome sight. The food stalls also extend down the park road and around, and it looks like there is a lot going on.

Check out our vlog where we show the park here:

The two vendors we tried here on this occasion – EATLAH, serving generous portions of Malay dishes – and TriBeCa Deli, with it’s very convincing attempt at NYC deli style sandwiches – did a great job in handing out bang for the buck – and both vendors’ fares were extremely tasty.

EATLAH

Quick bite: safe dish of well-known flavours (chicken satay) is kicked up a serious notch, making a moorish delight

We tried the Satay Chicken Bowl – and as you can see from the video – it’s a generous portion.

Now, Satay Chicken is such a common dish today, that our palate is quite familiar with the flavour profile of many middle of the road vendors.

We’re both very familiar with Malay and Singaporean cuisine – we’ve both been the countless times for work, and while we haven’t been in a while, it was a fun reminder to see this food stall here in the heart of North London.

The chicken was succulent, tender, and the flavour had such extra depth, for sure – likely marinated or brined to give an additional depth of flavour that was enhanced by the browning on the griddle. Excellent coriander rice – very subtle in flavour.

The chicken with the peanut sauce combined was definitely far better than a LOT of other Satay chicken recipes we’ve tried.

TriBeCa Deli

Quick bite: both the Reuben (salt beef) and the Philly Cheesesteak – their main items – are worth getting. Portions are generous. Get the fries with Ranch and Old Bay-esque seasoning.

I’m a New Yorker by birth, and I’ve spent a good many years of my youth in NYC, so I’m a little bit annoying to my British wife about “true” NYC deli food. It’s been such a long, disappointing road for me trying so many claimants to the title of “authentic NYC” pastrami, salt beef, or anything NYC really.

NYC food just is so much more, isn’t it – Katz’s pastrami is practically unrivaled and my paradigm whenever someone mentioned “good pastrami”.

So long story short, this was my second visit to this food truck, because I had their salt beef the week before, and while I have to say this obligatory comment – that it still is no Katz, it was far better than I’d expected. A little bit on the salty side, likely due to their brining – but generous, and coupled with their crispy fries topped in an old bay-esque dry, and what could be truffle mayonnaise – it was a perfectly satisfying meal.

So this time round, I was on their Philly cheesesteak, and I gotta say, it’s pretty close. Ok, it’s not close, in that the cheese isn’t pure American or provolone or anything close that you can get in England, and the steak, while soft, and tasty, is missing the heap that you can’t get anywhere else besides the East Coast of the US – it was still a good sandwich. I’d say, if you want to truly make it authentic, you’d need to double, or even triple, up on the steak.

I’ve tried many a stall at this market over the years, but it’s been a while since I’ve been here given the lockdown measures we’ve all had to go through recently. And the stalls look different – many new vendors to try.

I hope we can keep this place open so I can come back and get through some more!

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