During a bright and sunny spring day in the big city, we were invited to join the Secret Food Tours in Shoreditch, London to visit iconic food spots around Bricklane and learn about the history behind how these foods came about in the area.
First stop was the famous Beigel Bake! Funny story; the original Beigel Bake (the one with the yellow sign) is actually two doors down from the one with the white sign (pictured below). However, many years ago, the brothers who were running the bagel bakery had a squabble which resulted in one brother opening up a competing business a stone's throw away from the original!
The original Beigel Bake now doesn't belong to the family because they sold their shares off. So the one with the white sign is now TECHNICALLY the original one because it's still being run by the brother from the family.
We tried their famous bagel with salted beef, gherkin and mustard. The salt beef reminds me of corned beef but with the texture of slow-cooked steak! It was lovely! The bagel was very soft too as they are home-baked every day. And the mustard tasted similarly to wasabi which made me tear just a tad bit!
Next, we walked to the shop next door to have a tiny donut. We tried a Sourdough Glaze with Cherry jam filling. Nice to have something sweet after the salted-beef bagel.
Moving on, we walked down Bricklane to visit Dark Sugars; a famous and popular chocolate shop along the street. The owner of the shop was a Ghanaian woman who migrated to London and had a stall during the market with only 2 flavours originally. As her popularity rose, she opened up two more franchises of her chocolate brand in Bricklane. All their chocolates are made in-house as they have a small factory in the basement where the locals work to make delicious chocolate.
We stopped by an indoor food market along Bricklane which had an array of international street foods for us to try. Our guide bought us 2 types; one by an Indian Turkish couple who basically mixed their two local cuisines together, and the other was Vegan Ethiopian food.
We tried an Indian Turkish curry with spinach chapati. I was given the extra spicy one upon them knowing spiciness tolerance. The curry was indeed spicy in a numbing, lingering way; which the best type of spiciness for my liking. There was also a Turkish yoghurt that complimented the curry well with an added layer of texture to it. Along with the spinach chapati, everything went well together.
The Vegan Ethiopian food was probably my favourite. It was very interesting in terms of variety, textures and the plate was bursting with colours! The spongey bread tasted like floury pancakes and the colourful lentils with chickpeas were all refreshing in different ways but my favourite thing about this dish was the okra. I don't know if it's meant to be served as a curry or a gravy but it was superb. Everything on the plate was great to be honest and gave me the impression that it was super healthy.
Look out for these two stalls when you're on the hunt for interesting street food!
We then stopped by The Pride of Spitalfields for a short beer break. I had a half pint of pale ale which was perfect to combat the humidity and heat of the day. Served cold and not fizzy at all (just the way I like it).
Next stop, Poppie's Fish & Chips! It is apparently deemed as one of the best chippies in London. I honestly don't know how to judge fish and chips but I can say that these were delicious indeed. The fish was cooked perfectly; crunchy and crusty on the outside yet super well steamed and soft on the inside. And I can't complain about the chips! I mean, who doesn't like fries?
If you're not too hungry but feel peckish, you can order smaller portions like we did. It'll come in a newspaper cone instead of a plate.
Lastly, we visited the Old Spitalfields Market to have dessert and a pot of English Breakfast Tea. This is called the Eton Mess; an English dessert consisting of a mix of meringue, berries and whipped cream. This one however had ice cream and other fruits in it like grapes and kiwi.
Nice way to end the tour which lasted a whopping 4+ hours! The tour is usually 3-3.5 hours but seeing as the day was sunny and warm, I think that slowed us down a little because we were enjoying the sunshine and outdoors. Totally worth it.
Overall, I truly enjoyed myself and was happy to sample all the different international cuisines which essentially make up the whole cultural-melting-pot experience of Shoreditch and London. I'd recommend anyone to go for the tour.
It's £59 per person for a 3-3.5 hours tour and you get to try a plethora of foods that Bricklane and Shoreditch can offer. I know it's a bit pricey but honestly, look at the amount of food I tried. 4 dishes, 2 sweets, a dessert, pale ale, tea and a history lesson too! The tour guides were amazing lads who were very friendly, knowledgeable and open to chats so I was entertained through out.
Check them out on their social media and book with them whenever you're out traveling. They have food tours in London and all around the world.