Monday, 26 September 2016

Markets Around Bethnal Green: Gimmie Olive Your Tapenades!

While staying in Bethnal Green, we were within walking distance of some excellent markets, our favourites being Broadway Market and Brick Lane Market. 

Broadway Market
It took us about fifteen minutes to reach the market, walking north from Bethnal Green to the suburb of Hackney. A little history on the Broadway Market: produce vendors have been selling at the market since 1890, but the trade dwindled dismally in the recession of the 1980's.

There had been a few attempts by the council to revive it, but they were unsuccessful until the food market held on Saturdays was introduced in 2004. It continues to grow and currently has over 130 stalls.

When Fabienne visited us, we took her to see the market and have a smoothie.

Being the olive fiends that we are, Fabienne and I also took a decent amount of free samples of the tapenades that were on offer at the olive guy's stall. Why not! It brought back excellent memories of visiting markets in the Netherlands.

While having a plethora of food stalls selling everything from falafel to curry to pulled pork to bahn mi, there are also some fresh produce stalls, vintage clothing stalls and stalls displaying artwork.

As we were passing by the cheese stall, this cheeky Drowzee jumped onto it! I captured him, though. Serves him right for standing on people's food. 

Brick Lane Market
A ten-minute walk east from our Bethnal Green lodgings took us to the start of Brick Lane, where a well-established market was held every Sunday. Broadway on Saturday, Brick Lane on Sunday, so much weekend opportunity! The market began in the 1600's by the local Jewish community, and was then called the Truman Markets. Then in the 1900's, with a large increase in the Bangladeshi population, the market grew and expanded along with Brick Lane itself. Now, a popular activity for tourists and locals alike is to order a curry from one of the many curry houses along the street.

We were late to the party in trying a beigel from Beigel Bake, but we made up for lost time! Beigels are like bagels, but made in the traditional Jewish way, and are so delicious. Soft and slightly doughy on the inside, still warm from the oven, with that distinctive crust - but not too crusty! Man, they are good. And only 25 pence each! So cheap! Though it's a permanent shop and not a market stall, I just had to include Beigel Bake because it's a Brick Lane institution. (And if you didn't notice from the sign, the bakery is open 24/7. That's dedication to the beigel.) Whenever we visit on a Sunday for the market, there's an ever-moving line out the door because it's so popular.

Thronging with crowds, Brick Lane is notorious for sporting some weird stalls, so it attracts art students who document their strange findings as well as bargain hunters and antique collectors. For a time, there was a stall that sold only rusty cogwheels. But I'm more interested in the food. Gimme!

Always interested in street art, some interesting specimens can be found along the side streets off Brick Lane. This X-Ray skeleton hand painted in a gradient was so impressive. How did they do it?!
Skeleton hands aside, the East End of London is brilliant for markets. If you want more, then check out the Columbia Road Flower Market for flowers, or Old Spitalfields Market for food and fashion. 

Today's post was almost called: The Brick-Lined Cradle of the Very Best Beigel (Black Belts In Baking: 24/7 Jew-Dough)