Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design

10/15/2014

London's Borough Market

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

I'm no chef, but I love food, which is probably why stepping into London's oldest and largest food market was nothing short of spectacular.

Borough Market wasn't what I expected it to be. For one, it was hidden behind rows of large buildings. Instead of screaming its presence, it chose to hide it. Only when you turn the corner to do you see the endless food stalls unfold before you.

The pristine predictability of modern-day supermarkets pales beside the happy furor of Borough Market. There were people happily trudging their way around the massive space, moving from one section to another. Every so often, I would see people with cups of wine in their hands and I wonder, "Where did they get that?"

I haven't been to many large-scale markets in the world admittedly, just the farmer's markets in Los Angeles and of course the Grand Central Market downtown, but the sheer wealth of food and excited activity here was a sight to see.

My family and I wisely chose to shop for our impromptu picnic here and found everything we wanted and more. We probably bought too much, but we're only going to be at the market this one day, why shouldn't we indulge?

This quiet spot hides the Borough Market.
So many people to jostle through.

Also got a bonus view of the Shard.
There are honeys of all kinds. The man behind the counter was especially informative.
Look at those yummy loaves.
The grilling station was temptation.
See what I mean about temptation? 
Desserts!
Check out the size of those cookies.
Markets are one of the world's oldest gathering places and walking through this one reminded me why I love public places like this. It's informality just invited people to walk around, peruse and relax. I could also tell that in here, there weren't just foreign tourists milling about, locals too were on the hunt for their next meal.

It was that heavy dose of actual, local use that really made the market feel authentic. Savvy developers may seek to build similar covered markets, but not everyone succeeds. I think perhaps they try to put too many artisan, fancy food stalls in while neglecting the real flavor of the place. Borough Market doesn't do any of that, from what I saw. Nothing in the market was too designed. They all felt like they belonged. I suppose more than nine centuries of existence and a century in its current spot will do that to a place.

Borough Market, Southwark, London (boroughmarket.org.uk)

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