Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cavorting in Camden: London Markets (Part 1)

Being a Taiwanese girl, I naturally make a beeline to outdoor markets wherever I go. In London, I've hit three of the major outdoor markets so far. Took me until the second market for me to realize that it really is like Taiwan here: if you want to eat cheaply and well, skip the restaurants and head to a market. I'm staying in the West End so the first market I hit was Camden.

This is what you see after you exit the tube and make a right. I was disappointed at the chintz. 

Reminded me of that cheap tee-shirt area next to Tower Records. Or St. Marks Place. 

But I kept going, hoping to find something a little more interesting.
Lots ofshops had creative exteriors. 
After five minutes, I found myself on a little bridge over a
waterway. In the distance was this sign. 

To the right are kiosks of cheap fried food, which you can eat on motorbikes overlooking
the lock. It was kind of eh, so I crossed the street and went to the other side.  

This side was much more interesting. There were all these interesting little restaurants. 
The west side of Camden Lock. 

Duck confit for £6?! I wish I hadn't eaten already. 

Any place with a nice second-hand bookstore must be the place. 

Londoners getting their food on in Camden. 

I remembered this ice cream shop from the guidebook. 

See those grey urns behind that guy? That's liquid nitrogen, used
to instantly freeze the the ingredients.

Then they whisk the frozen concoction and turn it into ice-cream. 
Caramel white chocolate ice cream with pistachio and fleur de sel. Incredible. 

All the clothing at Camden seemed pretty cheesy but then I found The Arc. Well-made retro clothing and some vintage pieces. There was a sale rack of jackets for £5.  Also one of those paintings of the green Asian lady. Remember how ubiquitous this painting was?  Who was this woman???

I kept going and found myself in an old stables yard that had been turned
into a marketplace. This really reminded me of  Taiwan. Same chintzy clothing
and carnival atmosphere. It's probably full of teenagers on the weekend.  
Odd but interesting gazebos to eat under. 

Mixed in with all the cheap stalls, there were a few shops with genuine pieces.
Like this place, run by an Italian guy from Bologna.

I resisted a gorgeous merino wool cape for £50 but caved in on a 1940s hat for £20.
The stables yard had all these statues of horses. 

More horse sculptures and two shops of slightly chintzy retro clothing. 

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