"In recent years food halls and markets have given street food a new lease of life, transforming it into an entirely new dining experience."
Starting with humble roots, street food may once have been considered a far cry from a gourmet dining experience, at least in the UK. But gone are the days of boring burger vans.
In recent years food halls and markets have given street food a new lease of life, transforming it into an entirely new dining experience. Covered markets with trendy dining spaces are a welcome change, offering variety and a bustling atmosphere. Borough Market, Mercato Metropolitano (Elephant & Castle) and Pergola (Paddington) are just three of London’s many food halls offering unique dining experiences with fresh tastes from around the globe. Adding to this list will be the arrival of ‘Eataly’ in 2020, colourfully described as a ‘foodie theme park’.
The food halls and markets outside of the UK will also blow any foodie’s mind. A melting pot of colours, flavours and aromas inside markets such as Mercado San Miguel in Madrid, Mercato Centrale in Florence or Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.
Digging deeper into this growing trend, here are three reasons why food halls are shaking up the street food scene and getting such a positive response.
THE DINING EXPERIENCE
According to McCain’s 2018 Casual Dining Report, dining experience matters whatever the price. Consumers are more likely to spend when their food comes with an experience, so food halls and markets offering cosy dining spaces, culturally diverse cuisines, Instagrammable spreads and entertainment are transforming street food into an experience.
Eating in large groups can be difficult if not everyone wants the same thing. Considering the rise of vegetarianism and veganism, amongst other dietary requirements such as allergies, food halls offer that all-important variety. From spicy foods to keto options or dairy substitutes, the chances are that larger groups can enjoy a sit-down meal together no matter what they buy.
NEW CULTURAL EXPERIENCES
Bruschetta for lunch, Pho for dinner? Sure!
The growing popularity of food halls is also down to the cultural variety on offer. Each visit is a new experience with global cuisine.
Take London’s Borough Market. In the space of an afternoon, customers can become gastronomic globetrotters across France, Spain, Ethiopia, Japan and even the Caribbean island of Grenada.
In the age of experiences, it’s no surprise that street food has become an opportunity to enjoy food with friends and discover new cultures. A far cry from that boring burger van.