London is one of the most popular destinations for tourists from all over the world.
You don’t even have to take it from us, because the statistics speak for themselves. The cosmopolitan city recorded a total of 21.71 million trips made by international tourists in 2019, the year before the pandemic. Now that travel is starting to increase again, tourists are slowly but surely returning to the UK – after all, travelers do not need to take COVID-19 tests before departure or on arrival and no quarantine is required, making it a breeze to travel like before.
It’s undisputed that London is home to many museums and cultural attractions and of course the infamously gloomy weather, but its food can cause all the divisiveness.
While many have the stereotype that British food is bad, Singaporean pastry chef Cherish Finden thinks otherwise: “I love British food. Foods like Fish and Chips have become one of my favorite things to eat. There aren’t many things I enjoy more than good quality breaded fish with big fries and tartar sauce and ketchup on the side. It’s one of my favorites and it’s absolutely delicious.
Finden, who is now based at Pan Pacific London as Executive Pastry Chef, is renowned for her unique approach to baking, using ingredients from her native Singapore and combining Asian flavors with the traditional European art of baking.
The award-winning pastry chef, with over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry and more than two decades in London, has also won the title of domestic television chef and international consultant in the country. According to her, the London food scene is special because “the The culinary world in London is fierce and there are always new trends growing and intensifying the competition“, coupled with the fact that there are “a lot of food markets to explore and discover exciting new cuisines.“
To help you plan our next trip to the city, we’ve selected Finden’s favorite restaurants in London to dine out. From hearty steakhouses to casual market eats, read on for the full list.
London-based Singaporean pastry chef Cherish Finden talks about her favorite dishes in the city:
The Duck and Rice, founded by restaurateur Alan Yau, is located on Berwick Street in Soho. Here, the two-story establishment features a pub downstairs – copper tanks and all – with a dining room above with the main restaurant menu. Think tons of brass, gold, a dizzying cast-iron staircase, and dim lighting that sets it apart from many old-school, if not kitsch, Chinese joints. Favorites here include the sesame shrimp toast and of course the duck and rice.
“Their specialty duck is a favorite of mine and their dim sum has a unique Western twist. It’s my perfect blend of a good comforting atmosphere and tasty food.”
(Image credit: @theduckandrice via Instagram)
90 Berwick St, London W1F 0QB, United Kingdom
Borough Market is a popular place for tourists and locals. Along with quality fish, vegetables, and spices, the historic market is also home to a ton of delicious restaurants, cafes, and pubs. A Michelin-starred Singaporean ‘Kopitiam’ Mei Mei can also be found here.
“If you’re a foodie, like me, you’ll spend hours and hours here taking in all the amazing sights and smells. You are guaranteed to leave Borough Market with an emptier purse and a bigger belly!
(Image credit: @bjhtravel via Instagram)
If you’re willing to stroll through a market that’s not usually sheltered, Camden Market is where you should head. The bustling neighborhood is dotted with hundreds of shops and stalls selling fashion, music, art and, of course, great food. Popular food stalls in the area include Uh K Dogs n Juicy, a Korean hot dog joint, El Pollote Fried Chicken, and Shawarma Bar.
The whole Camden Market area is between two underground stations, Camden Town and Chalk Farm on the Northern Line.
“Camden Market is my first place to go to find out about new upcoming trends in the industry. Creating food is an edible art and I always like to learn by absorbing new ideas and each time I venture into it I am excited about the new creations that have been discovered.
(Image credit: @yensfoodstagram via Instagram)
Saikei Chinese Restaurant
Saikei Chinese Restaurant is where many London-based Chinese go when they run out of gas yum cha live. The wide selection of dishes includes classics like shrimp dumplings, Char Siu rolls, steamed chicken claws in a black bean sauce.
(Image credit: @lucylovestoeat via Instagram)
85 Bugsby’s Way, London SE10 0GD, United Kingdom
Many head to Flat Iron for reasonably priced flat steaks in London, but if you’re a carnivore who loves indulgence and unparalleled quality, Hawksmoor is your answer. Undisputedly known as the “kings of red meat”, Hawksmoor offers a menu of a variety of dry-aged cuts of British beef such as sirloin, Chateaubriand, prime rib and more. PS the steaks are best covered with a portion of grilled bone marrow and some dripping beef fries on the side.
Hawksmoor operates seven restaurants in London: Air Street, Borough, Guildhall, Knightsbridge, Seven Dials, Spitalfields and Wood Wharf.
“Celebrating and promoting the best of British farming and produce, their beef is sourced only from British cattle and is treated with the utmost care and respect to ensure you have the most tender and flavorful steak. The meat really “melts like butter” in your mouth, so be sure to savor every succulent bite.
(Image credit: @theearlofmunch via Instagram)
157A Commercial St, London E1 6BJ, United Kingdom