One may not think that the food in London is very different from the food in the US. But during my time here, I realized that although the food in the US and in the UK are similar, there are a few interesting differences between the two. From restaurants to grocery stores to markets in the city, I’ve done my research (eating) and have compiled a list of what you need to know about food in London.
(I should probably note that I am from New Hampshire, so my food preference may be different from people’s food preference in other parts of the US)
Here is a list of what you need to know about food in London:
1. So much fresh food
One of the first food-related things that I noticed when I got here was that people in London really care about the freshness of food. Whether it’s premade in the grocery store or a quick restaurant on the street, you will be sure to find something was likely made that day and is healthy. Some of my favorite places to get quick, ready-made fresh foods and drinks are:
Pure – It has freshly made breakfast & lunch foods, packaged smoothies made the same day in-store
Pod – It has freshly prepared hot & cold breakfast and lunch
Joe and the juice – It has freshly squeezed juices from real fruit
M&S – It is a grocery store with a wide assortment of premade salad, sandwiches, wraps, meals, and pastries
Borough market – It is an amazing local market with fresh pastries, baked goods, cheeses, fruits, smoothies, food tents from around the world, and so much more.
2. You don’t find weird processed ingredients in every single thing you eat
Another important trait about the food in London is that there isn’t a gigantic laundry list of unnecessary ingredients in all of their foods. Everything is pretty straight forward, no real surprises.
3. There are vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free option/healthy options everywhere
Pretty much every restaurant you go into, even small cafes or fast-food restaurants, will have either a vegan or vegetarian option, a gluten-free option, and just a healthier option in general. Having one sister who is vegan and one who is gluten-free has really made me notice and appreciate when restaurants accommodate those needs. Even though I do not have any dietary restrictions, I do enjoy eating healthy and I’ve realized that many restaurants back home don’t cater to those needs.
4. Tons of authentic international food
Whether you’re in the mood for Thai food, Indian food, Italian food, or classic English fish and chips, you can easily find it at any turn. Because London is a cosmopolitan city with diverse cultures, it’s easy to try something new or different every day. Living in London makes eating out an exciting adventure
5. All of the grocery stores are pretty unique and have their own product mix
Back home the grocery stores are all pretty much the same in regards to what type of products they carry. But something I noticed in London is that the different grocery store brands all have their own traits. It took me some time to realize this, so if you enjoy cooking for yourself like I do, it’ll be helpful to know which stores have what you need.
It took me a little while to realize why this store is called Iceland. It’s because probably 75% of the products sold there are frozen.
You can find any frozen item from vegetables to meats to frozen dinners. If frozen food is a major part of your diet definitely go here.
By far this store has the biggest variety of goods – I couldn’t find quinoa anywhere for two months until I did a thorough search of Sainsbury’s and finally found it.
Tesco is similar to Sainsbury’s, but has better quality items and is more expensive. A great selection of personal-sized chips. If you need something late at night, Tesco Express is open the latest of the stores I’ve listed here.
M&S offers an extensive variety of pre-made salads, sandwiches, cooked meat, pastries. It is perfect for getting something quick for work. However, M&S has less dry food selection. It is a little more expensive than others but not too bad, worth it for the quality
Aldi is very cheap – you should definitely get basic items here and more specialized ones elsewhere