In planning my second trip to London, I knew I wanted to visit in July because it meant I could experience two things I couldn't when I visited this past February: a tour of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace and explore London's bustling street market scene.
Whenever I plan trips to other cities, I like following gluten-free bloggers who live there to get an insider's look at the best things to do, see, and eat. One blogger who I've followed in planning both holidays this year is Laura from My Gluten Free Guide, whose website and Instagram are chock full of incredible recommendations all across the city. Through following her, I fell in love from afar with Broadway Market, which operates daily in East London with a special street market on Saturdays.
I made sure to plan my travel dates and itinerary to leave Saturday wide open for exploration, and I couldn't have asked for a better day. With sunny skies and a sense of adventure, I was excited to see what gluten-free eats I would stumble across.
Thai on the Fly
There's only one thing on the menu at this street food stand, but you'll get no complaints from me because there's no gluten at all on the menu. With your choice of prawn, chicken, or tofu, pad thai takes center stage, and is prepared right before your eyes in a massive wok. I selected the chicken variety, which features tamarind and sweet chili sauce, rice noodles, Chinese chives, egg, peanuts, coriander, and lime. As someone who embraces the heat, I also chose to add on siracha for added flair.
If I were in a cartoon, my eyes would have bugged out of my head as I ate my first bite because it was incredibly delicious. Bursting with flavor and packing some heat (but not unbearably so), every chopstick-delivered mouthful was simply a delight. I especially loved the combination of textures from the sticky noodles to the crunchy peanuts and tender chicken and egg.
Meringue Girls (Website)
Just begging to be Instagrammed and available in 11 flavors, Meringue Girls' kisses are absolutely mesmerizing to look at. With a simple ingredient list and natural flavorings to evoke the broad array of flavors on offer, I couldn't walk away without purchasing a pack of nine to sample (for £5). Although they're made in a shared facility that handles gluten, nuts, and dairy, care is taken to avoid cross contact.
My sampler set of nine meringue kisses included unicorn poo (caramel), watermelon, raspberry, passionfruit, lemon sherbet, sour cherry, hazelnut, chocolate, and pistachio and rose. With crispy exteriors, I was delighted that the interior of each meringue was soft and pillowy. I also was not expecting the level of intensity of the flavor of each kiss, which accurately channeled the essence of each flavor.
My favorite of the bunch were the fruity flavors, which were sweet, tart, and absolutely perfect on a summer day. The non-fruity flavors- chocolate, caramel, hazelnut, and pistachio- were good as well, just outshined by their fruit-imitating counterparts. I did not sample the coconut or gin and tonic meringues, which round out the flavors available that day.
Eat 'n' Mess (Website)
I walked past this dedicated gluten-free bakery and did not stop the first time because I assumed it wasn't gluten-free. Everything looked too good to be true! On closer inspection, I circled back and realized my mistaken assumption and was glad to have discovered this lovely market stall. While most of the baked goods contained dairy, I was thrilled to be able to leave with a dairy-free iced lemon bread, which totally reminded me of the gluten-full versions at Starbucks that were my favorite treats before I had to part ways with gluten.
I appreciated the generous size of the slice of bread, and it's delicious fragrance was rather difficult to resist on the bus ride back to my hotel. I loved the dense, moist crumb that was bursting with lemon flavor and was perfectly sweet without being sickening. The delicate, creamy vanilla icing cut through the intensity of the cake, lightening up each bite and providing a perfect contrast of flavor.
I definitely regretted not purchasing some of the other gluten-free baked goods that morning, but it gives me all the more reason to stop by Broadway Market again, or even make the journey to their full size cafe in Sevenoaks, just outside London.
I was absolutely thrilled with the delicious eats I purchased at all three market stalls. Not only were they dedicated gluten-free and celiac safe, the food they served up was absolutely delicious. I can't imagine a better way to spend a Saturday morning, and loved that stopping by the market took me away from the tourist-laden parts of the city to explore this Victorian market and it's interesting surroundings. With cool street art and expansive green space nearby (London Fields), I definitely Broadway Market as a fabulous off-the-beaten-path excursion for any foodie.
Click here to see more gluten-free vendors at Broadway Market on the My Gluten Free Guide blog. Blogger Laura also has round-ups of other gluten-free markets and guides to London and beyond that I can't recommend enough!