-Let’s go to “the Borough” today!
Barely awaken and trying to check out from the couch where my friend got with Red Dead Redemption II. He played well after I went to sleep and either he didn’t sleep at all or he woke up together with the roosters of the Queen just to play this one. I was the “bad seed” in the house. Like looking to hook a fish, the day before I lured him to buy it.
-Look man, it’s a fucking piece of culture, like a good book. Play this one, trust me.
Sometimes I play the role of the devil when speaking about these big titles and the ones who really listen to me (and they still care about gaming at a later age in life – like I do) tend to listen to me. Then the fights come… or at least I hear about them. The “Netflix&chill” friday evening turns into “just one more mission darling”. It’s addictive… I know.
-What the fuck is “the Borough”? I asked… being the “peasant” in the room, coming from the poor side of Europe, landing on my friend’s couch, I had really no idea what it was.
I have to say that being ignorant sometimes doesn’t really bother me at all. Maybe it’s just my interior defence system telling me that but it’s really nice to be surprised sometimes. Yeah, I’m shameless, I had no idea about “London Borough” and what it packs.
… because it is a market, basically.
First of all it’s the crowd that hits you. People knowing what they want, struggling to make room to pass and order around idiotic tourists like myself, awing in amazement, not knowing what to look at, pointing camera in all directions, drooling at every bit of goodie in the surroundings.
This “market” had things I haven’t seen in my life up close. But I’m now dreaming about them. Everything was so graphically explicit that for me, as a guy who loves aromas and new things in his mouth (and don’t give me that look, a’right?!) this was really “food porn”.
The ingredients I saw here stuck with me for the rest of my life. I’ll never get that freshness and variety in my country. Maybe at these Mega Image concepts where you pay twice the prices in London and get half the quality anyway.
This is one of the oldest markets of London, though this is a “new” establishment if 18th Century can be called “new”. It seems it dates back to 1014 but only in 1276 appears in some “official document”. Still, the fact is that the whole range of colours on its premises keeps your eyes occupied enough not even to check the architecture. I couldn’t even pay attention to anything else than the merchandise. It was like there were naked top models at every stand, my eyes were glued to the stalls.
I guess that for a lot of the people that will read this, the Borough Market is not something new. And to be honest, if this market would’ve stayed at the level of selling raw materials for your kitchen, I wouldn’t have been checking the products as the poor relative from the countryside. After all, I have seen impressive markets, where “variety” was the name of the game, both in Barcelona and Istanbul but there they didn’t have the second big chunk of impressive that Borough has:
The permanent street food
To be honest this is the thing that makes you say “Shut up and take my money!”. Everywhere you look there has to be a special sandwich being made with the fresh ingredients resting on the stalls. Over the alley from them, some dudes are cooking seafood in different styles and serving them steaming hot to the curious tourists (like me) that don’t even care about the price they’re paying for the small casserole in which they give it. It doesn’t even matter how much they charge really because the whole atmosphere, combined with the freshness of the goods the citizens in London are lucky enough to get, adding on top the whole steaming thing behind the counters, makes your head spin in a dizzy lust of the taste buds. The whole thing makes you feel like you are not going to catch a casserole because the line is always long and at that moment you, the tourist, decide that it doesn’t matter the cost… what’s important is the result. So you dig deep inside your pocket, hoping that there is also enough space inside your belly and you pay.
Now where are you going to eat what you’ve bought is another sort of adventure.
Of course I went on buying the most hardest thing to eat… both because I’m a drooling bitch for seafood and because the way they were cooking the whole thing was impressive: mussels. Hot, steaming mussels, drowned in some sour cream sauce, with sprinkled green onion on top. For a take away I think it looked delicious…
… but it was time to try it also on the tongue and eating this while standing is not something you’d want unless you don’t care that your clothes will be all stained during the rest of your stroll through London. Fortunately for me, I had my friend with me who looked like he knew the place pretty well and for sure it wasn’t the first time for him looking for a place to sit in order to eat the goodies. We moved through the alleys of the market, him opening up the stroll among the crowd and I carefully guarding my mussels casserole with one hand, while protecting the camera with the other. I felt like a circus freak trying to balance the whole thing while also being careful not to drop any of the sauce on myself or on the people passing by. I’m not sure that I managed the
It wasn’t easy I’ll tell you that. All the attempts we’ve made to find seats were futile until my friend realized that we don’t really need a table but rather a place where to sit and eat like our ancestors, from the height of our laps. So the amphitheater at the back of the market worked like a charm for this. Up on the last benches we had a nice time eating and speaking about life, how we had it before and where is it leading us to. While I eat mussels and my dear friend eat some plain sandwhich as he is totally bored with the things London had to offer. So on some level I was still happy that I can still be surprised by small things.
Ignorance is bliss, you know how they say…
We left the Borough heading towards Ropewalk Market, another interesting, but smaller market, mostly concentrated on prepared food, processed meat and interesting approaches towards cooking in general. Though I wanted to try some of them, it was time for us to take a sit under one of the bridges arches, all transformed into local shops, and grab that first pint of beer of the day, promissing ourselves that will be only the first one in a long row of pints we shall have during the day…
… and the rain that later came upon us, forcing us inside a bar close to St. Paul’s, really helped with the promise.