The life of a Londoner can be hectic. Between a busy work-life, a long daily commute and social engagements, there just never seems to be enough time in the day to eat. That's why many Londoners decide to combine eating with travelling by eating on the tube, often to the disgust of their fellow travellers. Still if you've got to eat, you've got to eat. Here is a guide of what to eat on the tube, ranked worst to best:
The worst. There are a few negatives at play here: firstly the anti-social smell. You might find it surprising, but not everyone loves fried chicken. You'll receive a few scowls as you bite into that delicious crunch, but its not the haters that you should be worrying about. It's the jealousy that will arise in your fellow fried chicken disciples; the way they stare at your greasy cardboard box, craving it so desperately and inspiring soprano-toned stomach rumbles. That will seriously diminish your own personal enjoyment and is totally unfair on your fellow passengers.
There's also an issue of safety at play with this one. Fried chicken is gloriously greasy and that stuff will get everywhere. Consider you're standing up and the tube comes to a sudden stop. As everyone lurches forwards, hands dart out in every direction trying to grab onto anything in reach. Your greasy hands don't have enough friction to cling onto anything, and slide straight off the pole leaving you faceplanting the tube floor, your lunch on top of you. A total disaster.
Ok, we'll admit it's a rarity to spot a bright red chunk of watermelon beneath ground, but please people, can we keep it that way. Each bite sees superfluous juices spurting over every nearby person. There's just too much collateral damage at stake here. Satsuma lovers; bite carefully to avoid similar spurting.
We all know people want to bring a little bit of Brick Lane home with them, but we'd like to direct your eyes to some vinyl records or retro clothing instead. It doesn't matter how authentic you want to be, this is just completely ridiculous. The smell. The mess. The little grains of rice that get everywhere. Just no.
Fish and chips
Fish and chips is a tough one — a meal that should be reserved for a seated situation. Fish just isn't that edible without cutlery. It's a messy disaster as you attempt to tear pieces off with your grubby fingers, and then see the white cod flesh squirm away onto the floor beneath.
Say you forgo the fish, though and just stick to the chips. They're still two handed, one hand to hold the container and another to claw them out. Once you overcome that barrier, there's a condiments issue. Surely you want some ketchup on there? If not, at least vinegar? If you pre-condiment in the store, then more power to you, but if not you're stumped. Even if you have, dipping isn't the easiest in your current situation (if you're a drizzler, you're doing it wrong to begin with and might as well give up now). Then there's the vinegar stench, burning up through everyone's nostrils. You'd have to be incredibly selfish (brave?) to bring this on the tube.
The shape of a wrap pushes them towards the winning end of this list; it makes them plausible to eat standing. But wraps aren't without their problems. Once you've foraged down to the bottom, all those juices leak out into the bottom piece of paper. What are you going to do with them? There are no bins on the tube and there's just too much to shove in your mouth at once. Are you just going to let them slowly leak out and drip to the floor beneath you. Not only is this a slip hazard, it's a bit grim.
Panini is the clear winner here. Firstly they're not too smelly, although this depends on what you've got in there (no tuna, thanks). Most importantly they're completely edible with one hand, and the other can be used to hang on to the poles. allowing you to function as well as your non-dining co-passengers.
The melted cheese is the key to the panini success, making them stick together like glue. You don't even have to touch the bread itself as they usually come in paper bags, which you can hold onto as you joyfully munch away. They're not too heavy, so won't be left rumbling about inside your stomach like a washing machine on full pelt as the tube speeds on ahead. All in all, the perfect tube dinner.
Got any strong opinions or good stories on tube food? Let us hear them in the comments.