Modern culture amalgamates many practices music, art, design and food form the backbone of most walks of life, be it creative or corporate, spontaneous or traditional. One thing that we cannot live without is of course food, the glorious sustenance that forms and fuels a human being’s very existence. But of course, it doesn’t have to be so clinical we have a range of food to choose from and many exciting variations to stop the practice of ‘eating’ becoming a mere process. It’s an enjoyable past time, a point of obsession and an integral part of our social beings ask most people about their connection to food and they will express their love in almost as much hyperbolic, animated detail as they do about music.
The French and Italians have always been hailed for their masterful handling and creativity of the kitchen, producing foodstuffs and cuisine that keep the most food-orientated hipsters salivating at the mouth. Our Franco-influenced cousins may have scoffed at the British stereotype for shit food, stodgy carbohydrates and ration book ethics, but gradually, we’re becoming like every other aspect of culture one of the epicenters for the weird and wonderful from around the world. Our restaurants are getting better, there’s more choice now away from our reputation for being experts in greasy, soggy fish n chips and our multi-cultural communities mean discovery of new food is within arms reach. We’ve got world famous markets such as Roman Road and Borough Markets, who open their arms to the city’s foodies every week. And now, we’ve got the arrival of night markets considering how food is becoming an increasingly popular social lubrication, the night market is destined to promote the flavours of the world amongst a young, hip and active crowd that are eager to try and taste something new. A festival vibe and atmosphere, injected into the practice of eating out, food is the new alcohol.
A market at night (serving food) isn’t a wholly new idea, although pretty daring for a built-up hub such as London. Bringing the colours, smells and sounds of that of Morocco’s infamous night markets to London’s urban jungle setting is another way of expressing our connection with the wider world. From Tagines and curries to pastries, pulled pork and tofu, Londoner’s crave more than just pie, chips and jellied eels these days. And companies such as Street feast are fuelling the rise in casual, urban social markets with a renewed focus on so-called Street Foods, offering immediate and authentic tastes of more commonly ate dishes in a buzzing, happening area. In the words of a recent Time Out article, it’s “democratic, fun and responsible for outbreaks of hedonism that bloggers cross town for, street food is the new clubbing. And no programme is a party like Street Feast.”
Back in the day, It was assumed that if you went out drinking and partying, you had no interest in exciting food and cultural enlightenment. Past 2am in the morning, the only thing available in terms of snacking street food was a man selling frankfurters out of a box on the corner of Oxford Circus a last refuge and desperate final attempt to feed yourself on the way home from a pub or club.
Whether you’re after a falafel, some Brazilian meat cuts or some Japanese Yakitori, London’s culinary scene is much like the electronic music scene ready and waiting for you to eat until your heart’s content. “Since launching in May 2012 we have transformed car parks, breweries, warehouses, old tube stations, and builders merchants to create a whole new way to eat, drink and hang out” says Street Feast of their focus and ambition from their now-infamous markets. After conquering the likes of Shoreditch and Dalston with their regular weekend food markets, they’re taking the concept further from the Shoreditch triangle to one of London’s most southerly boroughs: Lewisham.
Whether this new market dubbed Model Market is the start of a new wave of gentrification away from the likes of Shoreditch and Peckham is one thing that only time will tell; in the meantime though, residents and visitors can involve themselves in a buzzing, community focused atmosphere and treat themselves to the flavours and tastes of a raft of known (and not so known) dishes and snacks. The market’s seemingly arbitrary name refers to the Street Feast’s chosen location, an abandoned 1950’s market space near Lewisham high street that’s due to be revitalized by a raft of food, music and buzzing, hungry crowd.