I decided to forgo my usual sleeping till noon on Saturday morning to venture out to Greenwich Market with my friend TT. Greenwich is a bit of a pain to get to from Southwest London but there’s a lovely little boat that departs from Embankment and takes about 40 minutes to get there (Note: if you are hungover, I suggest not taking the boat and getting the DLR).
Ranked as one of the five best food markets in London by Elle UK in August 2012 (which I thought was a pretty serious claim given the vast number of food markets in London), I decided this would be a good market to check out that would probably be less crazy than the ridiculously popular Borough market and I wouldn’t get elbowed in the face as much.
So this is Greenwich Market.
As one would expect at a market, there’s lots of vendors selling various trinkets and crafts and gifts etc. etc. but we care about the food so that’s what we’re going to talk about. To be perfectly honest, I was a bit disappointed with the food in general. Normally a food market has the ‘kid in a candy store’ effect on me where everything seems so delectable, to make decisions is beyond impossible, I start getting angsty, confused, and downright cranky. This is all resolved once some food is purchased.
This is not Borough Market. This is a small market. I get that. However, the ‘wow’ factor just wasn’t there for me. The Ethiopian stall sold some veggie samosas which TT was quite excited about – we were expecting a whole lot of spice explosion but sadly these were a bit bland. The lentils and veggies were lacking in that flavor we were eagerly anticipating. TT featured with the samosa:
The Italian stand sold some interesting rice balls with a variety of fillings: spinach and mozzarella, ham, bacon, mushroom, chicken, etc. The presentation of the food just lacked that ‘something special’ – everyone says I am a food snob when it comes to the quality and the presentation but hey, I think both are really important. At a market, you have the opportunity to be really creative with how you present your food and it’s a way to draw people in and get them to buy a little taste of your creations. Needless to say, this display did not entice me in the least.
The best part was definitely the Japanese stand where I got some amazing gyozas – Japanese pan-fried dumplings. I am partial to anything that comes in dumpling form but these were amazing. The noodle wrapping was the perfect thickness, yet still delicate and the chicken meat inside was juicy with just the right amount of saltiness.
There were a number of your usual market players: Spanish Street Tapas stall serving chorizo sandwiches (with chips.. as one does in Britain), the British sandwich stall serving giant roast beef sandwiches with hot melted cheddar and rocket, French stall selling crepes, Thai stall selling some potentially promising red and green curries, and the Greenwich Organic Bread stall selling your usual baguettes, sourdough, and rye breads along with some spinach and feta cheese slices and potato, cheese and onion slices.
Leaving the market on a positive note after shovelling in the dumplings, Tania and I decided to check out this Chinese restaurant, Tai Won Mein Noodle House on Greenwich Church Street, as I was still hungry. The prices were excellent and the restaurant served vast quantities of food (twice the amount you’d get at your average chain like Wagamama): enormous plates of rice and meat dishes, fried noodle dishes and generous bowls of soup and Udon noodles. The food itself wasn’t anything to write home about but it served its purpose of filling me up and satisfying my Chinese food craving whilst not breaking the wallet. The resaurant itself is nothing to look at but it was nice to take a break from the bustle of the market and the staff let you linger as long as you like without shooting you daggers. Normally, I can wipe my plate clean, but in the rare occassion that I struggle, it’s nice to be able to take the food home (which they let me do).
One thing I was a bit miffed about, and this will be my American-ness rearing its head, was that I was charged 50p when I asked for a takeaway box – I really do not understand how that is justified when I am merely taking home the food that I am already paying for. Anyway, I’ll try and get over it.
I had spareribs, won ton soup and egg fried rice (I am a growing person, don’t judge) and TT had a nice big basket of prawn crackers and Udon noodle soup. (Prawn crackers not featured). The spare ribs didn’t make me jump for joy but the won tons and egg fried rice were pretty top notch.
I would have liked to have tried the roast pork and duck with fried noodles or the fried noodles with beef in black bean sauce – but there was just not enough capacity. The restaurant also served freshly made apple, carrot and orange juices which the clientele seemed to love as they were constantly coming out of the kitchen. Overall, I wouldn’t go out of my way to go back to this restaurant but if I happened to be in the area and needed a little Chinese food fix, I definitely would pop in and give the fried noodles a go.