London’s East End is a plethora of history, sights, smells and tastes! One of the hottest locations in town, the East End began centuries ago as a slum renowned for terribly poverty. Throughout the centuries the area has been populated by immigrants from all over the world: Jews fleeing from persecution, French Huguenots seeking a safe location to ply their fabric trade, and then the Bangladeshi community who have most recently turned the East End into the famed “Bangla-Town,” known the world over as one of the best places to go out in London.
Check out this video of our guided East London Food Tour
As each wave of immigrants came to the East End, the streets, businesses and restaurants changed, evolved and showcased the cultural and gastronomical culture of those that came to call this area home. In fact, Brick Lane is home to the only building that has been a protestant church, a synagogue AND a mosque! All of this history is still alive in the East End, and one of the best ways to explore is by revelling in the delicious and varied tastes that are on offer.
Ethnic Food in the East End
Jewish influence - The Jewish influence in the East End is highlighted by London classics like the Beigel Bake shop - serving up traditional Jewish beigels and salt beef. The East End is also home to numerous kosher restaurants, making it a cultural destination for those of the Jewish faith traveling from the world over.
Brick Lane - Brick Lane is home to the best Bangladeshi food in town. Curry houses, Asian dessert shops, and supermarkets stocked with Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi ingredients can all be found on this singular London street. The best part is that all of the places on Brick Lane that serve food are in competition with one another - keeping the prices low!
London Classics - Fish and chips, jellied eels, pie and mash and cockles are all traditional London dishes that got their start in the East End. Perhaps some dishes are for the more adventurous eaters, but all can be found full of flavour and easy on the pocketbook in this part of town.
Where to eat in the East End - Our Recommendations
Beigel Bake: Beigel Bake is a London institution that’s been serving up some of the finest bagels and most delicious salt beef in town since 1977. Londoners queue down the street on a daily basis to get a bite of hot and fresh fare being served here for 24-hours a day! A great spot for breakfast, lunch, late-night snacking, or even desert (look out for the luscious cheesecake!) at any time of the day or not, Beigel Bake is a classic London eatery and an absolute MUST when visiting the East End.
[Fresh beigels are a hard-to-believe price of just £0.25! Or get your beigel filled with traditional hot salt beef for an incredible £3.70.]
Poppies Fish & Chips: One of the questions we get asked the most a London tour guides is, “Where can I get great fish and chips?” The answer is Poppies! Poppies is the granddaddy of London fish and chip shops and has been serving delicious food since 1945. All fish is sustainably caught and perfectly fresh, cooked in the best batter you can find in the East End. Right alongside traditional mushy peas and hand-cut chunky chips. The portions are great for sharing, the staff is friendly, and a visit to Poppy’s is a true London experience.
[Prices for a standard order of fish and chips (at the only place in London that still wraps their meals in real newspaper) to takeaway is only £8.50!]
The closest underground stations are Shoreditch High Street, Liverpool Street, and Old Street.
But to get our full experience and all of our recommendations, you’ll need to come along on our…
To get the best experience possible, why not book onto London’s ONLY pay-what-you-like food tour? Your expert guide will take you through the heart of the East End area, along cobbled streets and through modern markets, giving you the best example of edible culture in town. You’ll taste foods from over 5 different countries and your guide will help you choose the tastiest and most budget-friendly options, all with a touch of history, a lot of humour, and a great dose of culture.
See when our next tour runs and book your spot here.