A Food Tour in London
Food! Even though, I’ve been really watching what I eat (and have dropped two sizes because of it!), don’t fret, I still LOVE food! No one should ever worry about me NOT eating. When you have an extra few pounds, people give you advice on how to lose it. And then when you do lose it, they tell you to not get too skinny. Right now, I am actually at the perfect size and weight for my body type and height. And if feels GOOD!
Now, back to one of my favorite extracurricular activities: eating. The first few times I’d been in London, I was on a tight budget and also not many food tours existed yet. I spent many an evening getting my dinner at Tesco or Sainsbury’s (typically a cheap sandwich or salad). Nowadays, most big cities have tours focused on food, so it was a total given that I’d do one on my latest visit to this amazingly diverse and international city.
Enter Eating London Food Tours.
Their mission is to leave travelers with an unparalleled, non-touristy, food-related experience in undiscovered neighborhoods of the most fascinating cities in Europe. Sounds right up my alley. Each tour lasts about 4 hours and includes 6-12 authentic tastings.
Our tours are different in that guests meet the real people in a real neighborhood like Soho, and get to eat lots of real food,” says Wibke Carter, the PR Manager for Eating Europe Tours. “Our aim is to take guests away from the tourist traps and leave them with an unparalleled, non-touristy, food-related experience in undiscovered neighborhoods.”
They offer a couple different tours in London. I chose the Twilight Soho Food Tour. Soho has long been the epicenter of music, theatre, and some great international foodie finds.
The tour was chock full of info and food. We made six stops around Soho, plus our guide, Hanna, regaled us with local folklore, legends, and other tasty tidbits. She was part historian, part actress, and part guide, always keeping us moving.
Here are the stops we made, but keep in mind, they keep it fresh and these spots may change!
A funky bar/restaurant, La Bodega Negra served up modern Mexican fare. We tried some tasty mini tacos of jicama, pork, and shrimp.
Formerly the Star Club, this place is jumping on the renaissance of Gin, which had its original heyday back in the 1700s, when the quinine in tonic water was said to be an anti-malarial. We tried some local gin (which I surprisingly liked!) and the very British beef pie. It seemed like an intimate, local joint which I’d like to hang out in.
A family-run chain dotted all over Spain, Enrique Tomas has made its way to the UK. This is basically a ham and wine shop. Come here to buy a whole pig leg or just sample some slices of jamon Iberico and delicious manchego cheese with a glass of vino tinto.
Mmmm…pintxos! These are basically the Basque region’s answer to tapas and in my opinion, the best ones. Usually just $3-5 each, these little packages of goodness range from veggies, toasts with veg, meat or fish, and other delicious morsels. Like some bars in Spain, you pay by the number of big toothpicks you have.
We made a stop in Chinatown on the edge of Soho and ducked into this hidden gem up a few flights of stairs. In Dickens’ time, London’s Chinatown was full of opium dens. While we didn’t have any opium (or poppy-seed bagels), we did have some decadent mushroom dumplings, pork buns, and wonderful tea. I’d definitely recommend checking out this small, sultry place one evening.
Finally, we finished off the night with my favorite: Chocolate! Said (Sigh-Yeed) was originally a chocolate shop in Rome. There are stacks of sexy-looking chocolates behind the glass at the counter. You can take some to go or sit down and imbibe in the amazingly, thick and decadent hot chocolate made with real solid chocolate.
I’ve taken food tours all over the world and this was one of the best. The tour packed in lots of different flavors and stops. I liked the variety and I would return to every one of these places…and wished I had time to! It kept moving like a well-oiled machine and in between stops we learned info about other buildings and history of Soho. I would definitely recommend this tour.
And…if you do get to London soon, here is a code for you for 10% off the tour! Just use the code LLWORLDTOUR for the Eating London Tour or any of their other Eating Europe tours.
For more info:
Disclosure: I was a guest of Eating London Food Tours, but as always all opinions are my own.