London Street Food tips in 200: Warung Tempeh, Leather Lane Market

Leather Lane market is one of the oldest London street food markets, yet even the quickest visit will prove that this way of eating is still thriving.

In fact, things are better than that. Even on a fantastically rainy day – when you’d think everyone would order food to be delivered straight to their seats so they didn’t have to move – it felt alive with activity. On my last trip, many folks came down from their offices, umbrellas up, bought their staple street food lunches and whizzed back inside again.

Parts of the market are still pretty old school, but there are good smells coming out of those selling Korean rice bowls, Vietnamese salads, ‘health’ boxes, Jamaican jerk chicken, Turkish Gozleme, spit roasted chicken wraps, and more.

Here’s a great one whose Indonesian curries pull in regulars on Thursdays and Fridays:

Some of the team at Warung Tempeh, Leather Lane Market

Some of the team at Warung Tempeh, Leather Lane Market

Mixed curry box from Warung Tempeh on Leather Lane (pic credit: Tofu Princess blog)

Mixed curry box from Warung Tempeh on Leather Lane (pic credit: Tofu Princess blog)

Where is it? Thurs/Fri lunchtimes, Leather Lane market.

What drew you in? The sign for tempeh (a protein made with fermented soya beans, rice wine vinegar, and other things) piqued my interest as an Indonesian friend had recently cooked some for me for the first time. Two huge pans of curry being stirred by a guy greeting all his regulars was equally inviting.

Who’s behind it? Will Smith who lived in Indonesia 20 years ago, learnt how to make tempeh out there, then set this up. He makes everything at home before bringing it to market, including boxes of tempeh ordered online. “This food is made with,” he says.

What’s on the menu? A rich, peppery and slightly smoky cumin curry* called Tempeh Jinten, where the tempeh’s cooked slowly with red peppers, tomatoes and spices, and served with a mildly hot shrimp sambal. For something with less intensity, try  the coconut milk curry, Lodeh Tempeh, with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, carrots, green beans and coriander.

What does the food do to you? Life enhancement for a fiver. Need more?

Closing thoughts: Go to the church square by Brooke Street for a bench seat – then go back and spend all afternoon eating chocolate crumpets at Good n Proper Tea cafe on Leather Lane.

Keep an eye on the LSF Facebook page for more regular updates, and street food news.


*thanks to Tofu Princess blog for the use of her image

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