I’ve been staying for the past couple of days with friends from Cambodia that now live in Blackheath. The girls wanted to do some shopping so Brandon (my host in Blackheath) and I had a chance yesterday to head to a little known street market in Hackney named after the address and post code Chatsworth E5. Not as big or diverse as the Borough Market in the center of London but was definitely worth the 3 changes on the Tube to get there. With about 50 stalls, it’s not the biggest street market but has some excellent options for food and has a very local feel that the Borough Market might have had a few years ago. We did a fast reconnoiter of the food stalls and found all of them irresistable. We could only choose 3 and after much argument and a quick coin toss, we started our foray into the food at Chatsworth E5.
The first place we went was the Kimchi Cult stall which is run by Danny, a Londoner who spent a couple years in Korea, eating up the local street food while teaching. Unfortunately the kimchi slider’s weren’t available but we had a great pulled pork sandwich with ginger coleslaw.
The great thing about the stall is that he cooks everything to order but only takes about 5 minutes to prepare. The pork was a sweet yet punchy affair with the ginger coleslaw giving an added crunch to the sandwich.
After the Kimchi Cult, we headed off to Sho Foo Doh stand which only sold one item: Okonomiyaki. I’ve only had this dish once before during the Happa review and didn’t really care for it but wanted to give it another shot. Oh was it good….
What I really dug about this version over the one at Happa was the cheese was placed in the potato mix so it had a richness to it that wasn’t overly cheese filled and a sauce that wasn’t too sweet.
Added with some pork belly and a healthy dose of green onions, it made for an Okonomiyaki that I would come back for.
The last place we tried was Banhmi 11. Advertised as bespoke baguettes at their stall, they give several options for their banh mi.
After waiting in line for what seemed to be an eternity (bespoke baguettes take a while to assemble) , we ordered the BBQ Squared banh mi which had pate, caramelized pork meatballs with roasted rice flavours. Unfortunately, the long wait time allowed our stomachs the time to fill up and left us wondering if we had the room to fit even more food in our bellies. Luckily, I spied a huge bottle of Sriracha on their mise en place and after coming in for a closer look, and noticing the Huy Fong label, immediately became hungry again.
The banh mi was completely worth it. Lots of char-crusted meatballs smashed together with pate and surprisingly, pork floss which I haven’t seen in years! Add in pickled carrots, cucumbers, a heap of cilantro, Sriracha and green chiles in a spongy on the inside, crunchy on the outside baguette and we had a banh mi that was in my top 5 all-time list.
There were other notable food stalls that were just as busy as the ones we ate at. Notably, the wrap stall next to Banhmi 11 almost had us when we saw a kofta wrap being eaten next to us. Also, there was a Mexican street taco stand that had some amazingly fresh guacamole!