London’s Spitalfields and Banglatown is a halal foodie hub, here's where to go
Because of the multi-cultural community, this neighbourhood is a great base for exploring London as halal food is always with reach.
London is a cosmopolitan city, and if you know where to look, it's possible to find incredible halal food options. Except for the shopping stretch of Oxford Street, you might have to travel extensively to get to a halal eatery. However, we found out that there are a few neighbourhoods around London that a halal foodie can stay in when visiting London, especially where there is a sizable Muslim community. One of these – and in one of the more accessible locations – is the district of Spitalfields, in the East End of London.
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In Spitalfields lies Brick Lane, also known as Banglatown, due to Bangladeshi immigrants flocking there around the 1970s-1980s to work in the textile and silk industry. There's an established Muslim community here with plenty of halal restaurants serving varied cuisines, and what’s great is that there are quite a few hotels you can stay at as your base for exploring London.
My family and I stayed at the Ibis London City Shoreditch, which is a 1-minute walk to the Aldgate East Underground Train Station, and a 5-minute walk to the Aldgate Station, which takes you to Oxford Street in 20 minutes on the tube, without having to change trains on the route.
Check out ibis London City Shoreditch here
The Brick Lane mosque, meanwhile, is just an 8-minute walk from Ibis Shoreditch. Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of halal and vegan or vegetarian food outlets here, including the famous “Brick Lane bagels” shop, Beigel Bake on Brick Lane.
This bakery sells more than just bagels, of course, but its most famous product is its salted beef bagel. Unfortunately, the beef is neither halal nor kosher (anymore), so this was a no-go for us. However, the Salmon and Cream Cheese bagel (£4.53) was delicious!
We also ordered the Tuna Mayo Sweetcorn bagel (£3.97) and Nutella Bagel (£2.98) for the kids and made it a quick breakfast right outside the bakery with several other bagel lovers. Yes, apparently, it is a thing both locals and tourists do in the morning: getting their Beigel Bake bagel fix. However, you can come any time as the bakery is open 24 hours a day. However, note that there is another famous bagel shop on the same street, named simply The Beigel Shop, but it is not pork-free.
Address: 159 Brick Ln, London E1 6SB, United Kingdom
For a quick sit-down lunch or dinner either before or after exploring the nearby Truman Brewery (don’t let the non-halal name throw you off, as it’s a nice marketplace filled with shops and kiosks selling hip clothing, designer outlet ware, art and artisanal crafts, jewellery and others), Yuriko Sushi is perfect for getting your fill of halal beef, chicken and duck.
Despite the name of the shop, you can also find Chinese dishes here, including Chicken Chow Mein (£8.90), Beef Fried Rice (£9.50), Roasted Duck Salad (£9.80) and Kung Pao Chicken (£9.50). Of course, you can also get your fill of Japanese and Korean dishes, including an array of sushi (from £4.50 for a plate of Salmon Maki), sushi rolls, Yakitori Chicken Skewers (£5.80), Spicy Beef Ramen (£13.80), Prawn Tempura Ramen (£12.80), Beef Kimchi Donburi (£9.95), Bulgogi Bibimbap (£11.90) and Tofu Bibimbap (£10.90).
The dishes were not bad and it’s a great place to go for some hot beef ramen on a cold day – almost every day for London – or some refreshing halal sushi. You could also get the sushi platters (from £38.00 for 32 pieces of sushi and nigiri) to go and bring it back to enjoy in your room.
Address: 48 Brick Ln, London E1 6RF, United Kingdom
There may be Tinseltown in other districts of London, but for halal American-style fast food in Spitalfields, go to Baristas Lounge for that filling big breakfast or brunch, just 5-minute walk from the aforementioned Ibis Shoreditch.
Baristas has all our favourites for a filling breakfast, including Madame French Toast (£9.95) which has grilled French toast with maple roasted turkey bacon and poached eggs, the Breakfast Burritos (£8.50) with beans, sausages, turkey ham, hash browns and egg omelette, and the economically-priced breakfast bap with sausages, egg and turkey bacon (£5.95). The good thing is that they open at 7 am so it was great for starting our day!
Baristas also offers lunch items, and food from other cuisines including Korean fried chicken complemented by your choice of sauce (sweet chilli, honey butter garlic, plum garlic chilli or buffalo sauce), yakisoba noodles, salads, and teriyaki rice bowls.
Address: 57-59 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1DU, United Kingdom
There is an abundance of halal food eateries in the Spitalfields and Banglatown area, as well as the nearby Whitechapel area. You can be spoiled for choice with the array of Indian food, fried chicken outlets, Chinese and Japanese food shops, and even vegetarian options. Wish we could try them all, but we were only there for two nights before moving on to Paris.
Finally, if you’re really, really missing your favourite comfort food, there’s a KFC in front of the entrance to the Aldgate East station, just around the Ibis Shoreditch hotel. And, yes, it is halal!
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